A Tale of Five Dresses
Last week, I mentioned that the pattern I used for Penelope's St. Patrick's Day dress has been incredibly versatile. It has, in fact, been the foundation of five dresses.
Here's a little breakdown on how Simplicity 3854 has served Penelope well.
Ye Olde Dickens Fair Dress (December 2008): After searching high and low for a decent reproduction pattern for Penelope's Dickens Faire dress (she had only just turned one and it seems like most babies wore gowns), I decided to purchase a modern pattern. For the fabric, I used home decor fabric to give it a richer feel. I made the pantaloons from scratch and the shoes were actually antique baby shoes I bought at the Alameda Antique Fair. I also made the bonnet from a modern straw hat and following these instructions.
Christening Dress (March 2009): Because Penelope was almost a year and a half when she was christened, I didn't go the traditional gown route. So I made this simple dress with a beautiful, embroidered white cotton. I just made it longer and lined it for a more finished look.
Polish Festival Ensemble (May 2009): For a local Polish festival, I wanted to make a traditional Polish dancing costume. I used the bodice piece as a guide to make the vest with the obvious changes (no sleeves, neckline). I hand-embroidered a little motif and added a ruffle to the bottom. Oh, and I used gromets for the first time ever! The skirt was simply detached from the bodice to form a skirt. And I added a simple apron.
St. Patrick's Day Dress (March 2010): Almost a year since the last dress, this St. Patrick's day number was made with very few changes from the original Dickens Fair dress. The sleeves came off, I added the machine embroidery and sash. The length is basically the same — she just grew and turned it into a short dress.
Louisiana Hayride Dress (March 2010): After I made my own Louisiana Hayride-inspired dress, I just had to make Penelope her own replica of the dress that Nanette Fabray wears in The Band Wagon. I made a crinoline petticoat out of yellow cotton and tulle and the dress was basic cotton gingham. The patches are simply felt squares sewn directly onto the dress. While the skirt looks modified, it's just pinned up with a pin I made from some store-bought flowers. I kid you not when I say that Pen wears this dress Every. Single. Day.