Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Pleated Party Dress (PR&P Week 1)

The first week's challenge at Project Run and Play is to re-mix the Party Dress pattern and tutorial by Lindsay over at The Cottage Home

Here's the original pattern photo:

Here are some of the changes I made to the pattern:
  • Kept the bodice pattern and drafted/added a peter pan collar (This required me to veer off of the tutorial instructions for lining the bodice.)
  • Omitted the sash at the waist and added a little bunched flower
  • Added horizontal pleats to the skirt
  • Added a lining layer with a ruffle to the skirt in lieu of the contrasting fabric at the hem
  • Used snaps on the back instead of fabric-covered buttons and loops 

I opted for the snaps because I wanted the pleats and collar to be the focal points. 

I also knitted the little sweater. It's Debbie Bliss's baby shrug pattern that's available for free online. The online reviews said it runs big, and it definitely does. She'll be able to wear it next winter.

The dress is also a tad bit big, so she'll be able to wear it into the spring. 

The pleats were fairly easy. I added 8.5 inches to the stated length in the pattern, then drew 8 lines (with disappearing marker) one inch apart all the way up the skirt on its right side. Then I folded the fabric on the lines, wrong sides together; stitched .5 inch away from the fold; and pressed the resulting pleat down.

The volume of the skirt is one of my favorite features. One tip I'd recommend when gathering a large amount of fabric, especially when using quilting cotton or something heavier -- use heavy weight thread in your machine basting. Also, I follow Sarai's advice and do three lines of gathering stitches for a more even result.

The hardest part isn't the sewing. It's taking the pictures. The same things that make this my favorite age (19 months) also make it impossible to snap decent photos. She's too young to bribe, but too old to position and adjust.

All of the materials came from my stash. I bought the linen at JoAnn's ten years ago (literally!) to make a pair of pants. It's thin, so they would've needed lining, and I was never that ambitious for casual pants.

The collar and skirt ruffle came from an H&M shirt my sister handed down. I wish I'd been able to salvage more of the fabric -- it was beautiful. Alas, the peter pan collar took four attempts, and unfortunately I used the pretty shirt instead of muslin.

I'm glad to be participating in this challenge if for no other reason it gives me an excuse to capture these expressions on camera.

The Cottage Home
The Cottage Home: The Party Dress
The Coletterie: Gathering Stitches
See Kate Sew: Pleat Week Guest Michael Ann Made: adding horizontal pleats to lengthen a skirt
Kitchy Coo: How to Fully Line a Bodice


  1. I love it!! Your little girl is so adorable!

  2. I love the detail of the pleats and the fabric you chose. This is my favorite sew along entry so far!

  3. I love what you did with the skirt! And the patterned peter pan collar is a perfect detail!

  4. I'm so impressed that you knitted a sweater, not very much knitting shows up on PR&P. The pleating on the skirt is just lovely !

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  6. I, too, am very impressed that you knitted a sweater for this outfit. It is just perfect! I love this dress. The tucks at the hem and the sweet little collar are the perfect touches

  7. Wow, I love that neutral fabric. And she is super cute whether she cooperates with the camera or not!

  8. Cute, cute, cute! Love the little sweater. You know one of my dreams is to knit a sweater? You can help me with that someday. And you are totally ready for some heirloom sewing! Those pleats are great! You can put the pleats in the material before you cut the pattern out (heirloom technique). Three rows of lengthened stitches for gathering is a must for many reasons! And collars...oh so tricky to get right. But yours look great! It's taken me years to feel comfortable making and inserting collars. I don't think it will take you that long. I love that the collar contrasts with the dress. So many cute details!

  9. Your dress turned out great and the photos are adorable! My son is that age, and it's definitely a hard one for modeling (I'm using my 8 year old for this week!). The linen was a beautiful choice.

  10. I'm not sure if my blogger e-mail was sent to you so I wanted to leave another comment with a link to my post nominating you for the Liebster!

  11. Your daughter is so beautiful, and so is her dress! I love the linen and the pleats and the contrasting Peter Pan collar. Great job with the remix!

  12. I really like the idea of the horizontal pleats. It's so interesting to see all the different ideas.

  13. You did an AMAZING job!!! I love the horizontal pleats and the flower in front that incorporates both fabrics. You are so right about the photo shoot, with baby girl crawling now - all three of mine are in the too big to pose and too young to bribe category (head/desk) ;o)

  14. Super duper cute! I'm such a slow knitter I'd never be able to knit something to go with the sew along. I love the upcycling and stash busting aspect of this as well!

  15. Wow! Thank you all for the lovely comments! It's been so much fun to see all the varied creations. So. Much. Fun.

  16. Aw, she's adorable! Nice job on the whole outfit.

  17. What a beautiful dress! I love the pleating and the collar. This looks very labor intensive!

  18. Horizontal pleats? Are you kidding us?? Maybe we're reading one another's blogs a bit too much!! Great minds think semi-alike! Your look is darling - pleats and peter pan collars are 2 of our favorite things. Throw in a labor intensive knit sweater and it puts it over the top...

  19. Super cute! I love the details.

  20. This is Sooooo Adorable!! Great job!!:)


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