Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Finally Done!

Last night, my niece and nephew came by with Sophie to pick up her completed dress. I was delighted when the dress fit her perfectly and she looked like an angel. I think I saw a little tear in Amy's eye when she saw her daughter in the dress for the first time. I did not photograph her in the dress because she had just returned from ballet class and she looked a bit disheveled. I want you to see her when she is all done up and looking angelic. Here are the photos.

Sewing for a plus-size child is a completely different experience than sewing for average sizes. Not only is the sizing a challenge, but the design aesthetic should be considered when dressing that body type. The secret is taking accurate measurements, working with a muslin shell, and perseverance. I only had to make 3 muslin before success. I was extremely lucky to have a pattern that went all the way up to a size 16. I decided to use Hannah because of the style of the dress and because it was cut so large. Sophie is only 8 years old so purchasing a dress for her was completely out of the question. Even if I could have found a dress in the correct size it wouldn't be appropriate for an 8-year-old, considering it is her Holy Communion.

To refresh your memory, Hanna is a pattern that has a cutout in back, no sleeves and a bolero jacket. We decided it wouldn't be tasteful to have a cutout and we felt it needed sleeves. Other than that, we used the pattern as designed. The dress is made of Ulster 14HC linen. I added an over skirt of dotted Swiss voile so the dress wouldn't be clingy. To made the sleeves, I used the jacket sleeves but eliminated the scallops along the edge. Instead, I used silk charmeuse bias binding from Farmhouse Fabrics to form the bias binding. That little bit of shine works well with the ribbons in the halo and medallion. At the last minute, I decided to add the seed pearls sewn individually around the binding. The beads added a little bling to the otherwise simple design. The only embroidery is at the bodice front: her monogram worked in white floche.

After the final fitting, I decided to add a self lining to the skirt so she didn't need to worry about purchasing a slip. And the lace was added as an afterthought to help make the dress look special. I love the way it turned out.

This is my first attempt at making a veil. I have to say, I was a bit nervous about cutting a veil, but it really wasn't that difficult. I decided to machine sew 1/8" wide silk satin ribbon on the edges. The halo is made using a kit purchased from The Ribbonry in Ohio. I also made the medallion at the waistline. Since the binding was not bright white like the ribbon in the kits, I decided to add a few silk satin ribbons to blend in, thereby allowing the veil to blend in with the colors of the dress.

Although I will be in San Francisco the day of the Communion, I will post photos of Sophie in her dress. I think you will be impressed.


  1. Gorgeous! I couldn't help but wonder if Sophie was once the tiny little baby that so many of us prayed for? Hard to believe that many years have passed! Always loved Camela and The Ribbonry! The halo and floral medallion are perfect for the occasion.

  2. Sophie is a very lucky girl, Auntie Wendy. What a beautiful ensemble for such a special occasion!

  3. What a perfect dress, Wendy! Thank you so much for all the wonderful details. I used that silk binding on a special dress for one of my daughters and I loved that bit of shine and she loved how soft it was.

  4. Sophie's veil is not Wendy's first attempt with veils in our family!
    On my wedding day, our Mother and the four of us girls were getting me ready for my big walk down the isle when Kathy, our oldest sister decided to iron my veil. (We iron everything) When the room fell silent, I turned around just in time to see the looks on their faces and a perfect cut-out of an iron imprint on my long, custom made, beautiful veil. Before panic could set in, Wendy grabbed a tiny sewing kit (compliments of the hotel) and quickly sewed the delicate netting into a beautiful, but shorter, veil! That day, Wendy truly was the maid of honor! Thanks for the memories!!!