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Finished dress

A couple weeks back, I swore that I wouldn’t start anything new until I’d made significant headway on something already in progress. It was unusually hard to hold to that promise since I have a couple of crocheted baby gifts planned for a shower coming up that I really felt compelled (and inspired) to begin–but I did it. I disciplined myself for once and this is the result:


Not just significant headway but a real, actual finish! (I have to admit it caught me by surprise that moment when I realized I was just one long, long hem away from done.)

This fancy number is one of the two mechanical doll dresses I’m doing for my husband’s employer’s big annual Christmas display. The staff there starts thinking about Christmas in spring. That’s how big the display is and how long it takes to get things under control each year with minimal last-minute stress. Myself, I first started working on this year’s new dresses, in small ways, back in May.

As with the other doll dress I did for the display a few years ago, I was given the doll’s old, deteriorated dress to take apart and copy for measurements and such. The one I had to work with this year was stained beyond recovery, but it was structurally in better shape and not so delicate that I really had to pussyfoot, so the disassembling and washing were much simpler this time around. Still–removing what feels like miles of stitches with a seam ripper is not a fun job. Things move so much faster once that hateful step is behind.

It was interesting to see how the previous dressmaker had structured the dress. It’s a smart design. I could have gone with just copying his/her old-dress “pattern” in new fabric, but instead I deviated a bit. My finished dress is somewhat different from the original one, and my plans for the second dress will make it different again from both of them–if I can make it work out the way I think I can. Time will tell.


I spent what seems like an inordinate amount of time making the pleats in the sleeves match the pleats in the skirt, but I do like how they came in the end.



Finally, a few notes on provenance. The red fabric is new, bought this year just for this specific project, as is the iron-on interfacing that lines the bodice. The light blue pieces were cut from a remnant left over from the doll dress project of three years ago. So now I guess that fabric has been doubly recycled. I’d originally salvaged it from a beautiful donated like-new woman’s two-piece dress.

The lace around the collar and cuffs were salvaged from the doll dress I took apart that served as a pattern this year. Sadly, they were the only materials in good enough condition to reuse, but I’m very pleased with how they fit in here just so.


Finally, the sequins were from a much larger bag of assorted sequins donated to the display, and the beads on top of them are a few from my own leftovers bin. I’m still not sure about the sequins–they might make this dress just a bit too over-the-top compared to the other doll costumes in the display.


But, whether the sequins ultimately stay or not, I’m very satisfied with how the whole project came together. So many reused materials and so little waste. I love that!

Next up on the sewing front: a refashion, believe it or not. I have a two-piece dress project that has languished, unfinished, in my closet for at least 15 years…so long that it’s no longer anywhere close to my size, and the style is dated, too. But I still like the fabris, so I think it’s time to make something of it that I can actually wear. And then–on to this year’s Doll Dress Number 2.

Any sewing plans in your forecast, friends? What about knitting or crocheting? I could use another simple baby pattern or two for that upcoming gift box, so suggestions are certainly welcome!

Hey, might just find some of that baby project inspiration over at Nicole’s link party. Wander on over there with me?

Categories: Regular Project

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A wife and mom, a worker bee, a churchwoman, a reader, and a crafter. What more is there to know? :)

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