Wednesday, April 27, 2011

this year's easter dresses

 Very distantly related to vintage Simplicity 7563

We had a lovely Easter. I hope you all did too. It was gorgeous weather here, not too hot. And I fit into an awesome dress that I bought seven years ago and still love, so that was a bonus. 

I always seem to end up making the girls' dresses at the last minute. It's becoming a dysfunctional tradition. I do work better under pressure, but it makes for some bad moments. (Like when your model goes to bed before you are finished and you have to guess how to closely to fit the dress. That kind of thing.)

I really struggled with inspiration this year. None of the patterns I had on hand excited me. I just didn't know what I wanted to make. Then as the time whittled away to a couple of days I just settled on whipping out another two simple sleeveless shifts like I made last year, in some loud fabric.

I had this Amy Butler Lotus on hand in the stash (which I love and had intended for myself, but that's another thing that gets put aside when you wait 'til the last minute), so I altered the neckline, armholes and hem more to my liking and made the shifts.

And they looked like tent dresses. Then I remembered that I had to take out a huge amount of width last year to make them more fitted. So that is when I came up with the button tabs for this year's version. They worked a lot better than I thought they would to give the otherwise shapeless dresses a little fitted waistline. I really love them!

This shows the backs. Regular zippers for closure. I put two darts in the back of the oldest's dress, just for some shaping. The bias binding was just the cheap store bought kind. Not very soft, but hopefully the color will retain its brightness better than cotton. And hopefully not bleed all over the fabric. I'm a little scared to wash these.

Left dress: How is it that I managed to cut both back pieces in almost the exact place within the repeat of the fabric? And then didn't notice it until it was sewn together? AGAIN?

The hems were made like the Oliver + S Lazy Days skirt hem. I love that method, it makes such a neat finish. Only instead of ribbon I used single fold bias tape. Then another row of single fold tape above it just for looks.

Some action shots during the egg hunt at my in-law's. You can see that Thing 1's dress made its debut Sunday without the extra border above the hem. I was tired, people. And I figured since the fabric was so loud and busy, it didn't need it. But my daughter gently pointed it out to me and asked me why her sister's dress got two borders and hers only had one. So. I added that to the dress on Monday.

I finished both dresses about 11 pm or so on Saturday night, which gave me plenty of time to make some other stuff to put in the girls' easter baskets. Ha ha.

Like these matching headbands to go with their dresses. I'm so glad I was seized by the impulse a while back to buy some of Jessica's beautiful jacquard ribbon, because it leapt out at me as I was standing there at midnight trying to decide what kind of (hopefully quick) hair doololly to make.

I sewed the jacquard ribbon to a length of grosgrain ribbon for backing and added some elastic. Voila. They worked great. I was really surprised how well they stayed in. This kind never stays on my head, it always slips off the back.

And then because sleep is for quitters, I also made these tie-on bunny ears for their Beanie Babies. Easy, just white and pink felt with pipe cleaners inside for bendability and a ribbon tie. Everything is cuter with bunny ears.


  1. The dresses are beautiful. Great fabric and I love the custom touches you added ... they really make the dress.

  2. Those sweet little dresses make me wish for a little girl! My five-year-old son ended up playing in the "Easter mud" and riding home from the inlaws wrapped in a towel on Sunday. I'm sure little girls never get that dirty, right?

  3. Oh my goodness those are so sweet! I just adore the fabric choices and those cute little side button accents - nice work!!! :)

  4. You DO work well under pressure! :) Super cute dresses! I really like your pattern makover... and the added tabs make them 'just right'. Pats on the back to you! Have you caught up on your sleep yet? ;)

    Love the ribbon headbands, too! ;) And the bunny ears, of course.

  5. LOVE. You saved the best pics for the blog, wisely. Those button tabs make the dresses. Stealing that idea!

  6. You. Are. Amazing. Seriously!! How do you do it? Sleep pretty much trumps everything for me these days. (My baby doesn't sleep through the night yet. :)

  7. Beautiful dresses! I use Shout Color Catchers when doing laundry that might bleed - actually, I use it in nearly every load. They catch any "loose" dye in the load before it bleeds onto anything else. My mother and I have been using these for a few years and have not had a mishap yet (knocking on wood.) I love that you share your talent online. Thank you!

  8. Love. love. love. They are perfect for your two beautiful little girls! I had to laugh at the 'sleep is for quitters' statement. :) On another note - I was so pleased with myself for just skipping all the stress of sewing this year, and then I just had more stress because I went off and LEFT the store-bought ones in the closet in STL! Can you believe it! Had to go shopping Friday night! Oy!

  9. Tricia, while it is true that I've never had to undress my girls at the scene and leave with them swathed in a towel, they do still love to splash in puddles and dig in the mud. Albeit with a stick, from a safe distance.

    Grandma G, it is useless to try and catch up on sleep. I have a mounting deficit going that dates back to 2002. I just figure my last two years of life will be forfeit.

    Robyn, send pictures of your tab dresses. :-)

    Patricia, color catchers are going on the grocery list. Thanks!

    Jessica, I WEEP for you. Last thing you wanted to be doing was shopping for four Easter dresses that Friday, I know! So sorry!

  10. These are stunning! The colors and are great and like nothing you could find in a store. I love how you use such great fabrics. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Love the dresses! So beautiful!

  12. The dresses are great! And those bunny ears are adorable!

  13. I haven't had any trouble with the cheap bias binding bleeding when I wash it and I've used it on quite a few things.

    Those dresses are SUPER cute. You have such an eye for what looks good together!

  14. Oh my goodness these are absolutely darling! Great job.

  15. You truly are the most amazing woman. I could never whip those dresses out, let alone and have them look so good. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Ooooooh, I love it all! I especially love the button tabs on the dresses. And those bunny ears are too cute. :)


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