Our kids don’t watch much television, but Maya does loves “Sofia the First”. So naturally, I made her Sofia’s gown. Never again. Let me rephrase that, Never Ever, Ever Again. I LOVE how it turned out in the end. I just don’t love the road I took to get there.
I started with the Candy Castle Princess dress. The skirt on this dress has the distinctive scallops of Sofia’s dress. Less work for me when I have a perfect starting point. I also started with the Candy Castle bodice thinking it would also be perfect. I wasn’t happy with the first bodice I made because the purple loop on the front didn’t turn out so well. It was the first time I had used my piping foot to sew on a trim; I probably should have practiced a bit before diving right in. So I made a second bodice, the purple loop was fine but the hand sewn “pearl” beads didn’t look perfect. I was willing to accept it, but there were a couple things I didn’t love. First were the arm holes. They would have been great for a fitted non-costume dress, but they had no give (elastic) so I was worried Maya would out grow the dress before she outgrew Sofia. The same goes for the back. It does up with buttons, so again, I was concerned about Maya outgrowing the dress too soon. Finally, the neckline wasn’t perfect in my mind. Sofia’s dress has a more flat neckline as opposed to the “dip” in the Candy Castle pattern. All this lead me back to the original princess dress I made for Maya. Her Cinderella dress. It has elastic casings at the back, elastic arm holes and a straight across neckline. Perfect for Sofia. So I completely remade the bodice using the Mandy K Princess Party Dress pattern and it turned out perfectly! I had to hand sew the beads on again, but seeing as I had done it twice already, this time it went pretty quickly. Bodice finished, check! And it will fit her for quite a while. Even better.
The skirt made me want to throw the whole dress out the window. It started with the trim on the bottom. I found white beaded trim at Fabricland that is attached to a ribbon so that it is “easier” to attach to a hem. I used the skills I learned by sewing ribbon trim from sewing the Oliver and S Lazy Days skirt to sew this trim on. It proved to be very difficult because of the curve of the skirt panels. No matter how many pins I used I wasn’t able to get close enough to the beaded edge with my zipper foot. Instead of cursing the entire time fighting with my sewing machine, I instead hand basted the trim in place and cursed the entire time I did that. After I hand basted the entire length of the trim on, I then went back and machine stitched it in place. It’s certainly not perfect, but it looks great (from the outside).
The next key feature of Sofia’s dress are the flower appliques at the bottom. I found these pattern pieces for the flowers from Candy Castle. After I decided on the perfect size pieces I traced each piece 24 times (48 pieces total) onto white Kona cotton that I had ironed Heat n Bond to, cut them out individually, and ironed them in place on the skirt. I then straight stitched them to keep them in place. Phewf. But not finished yet.
This is where I would have done things differently. What I should have done was hand sew the pearls on the skirt BEFORE I attached to skirt to the bodice. It would have been much simpler. But I didn’t. I attached the skirt to the bodice and then sewed the pearls on individually to the skirt. I decided to omit the peplum-like pearls that sort of loop down the sides of her dress. I didn’t know of a perfect way to attach them so that they would sit properly, so I decided to leave them off. So far, Maya hasn’t said anything about them. If she notices that they are missing, I can always sew a string of beads on.
Maya is in love. The look on her face when I showed her this dress was priceless.
The only thing left to do is find Maya a purple amulet, just like Sofia’s. Oh yeah, and to make Jacob a Prince James outfit.
UPDATE: Jacob makes a pretty cute Prince James. You can find it here.