Twenty First Birthday Dress
Posted on Monday the 26th December 2016 by Emmy Couture
By the time you read this, Christmas will have come and gone. But for now, the excitement is building as it rapidly approaches. I am particularly lucky. My birthday is precisely two days before Christmas and I have an extra special day this year. I am preparing to turn twenty-one! I can hardly believe it myself. Since these two special days are so close to each other, I am able to make one dress that will serve for both. And I must admit, this dress is one of my most favorite makes to date. Red, polka dots, circle skirt, and adorable bias tape. What isn't to love?
I used the bodice from the Pastille dress, that can be found in the Colette Sewing Handbook, and combined it with a self-drafted circle skirt. I have made this particular bodice multiple times before (I don't think I've ever used the actual skirt portion of that dress pattern!) so I knew it would be an excellent choice for my holiday dress. I used a straight size 8. Since Colette Patterns are drafted for a C cup bust rather than the traditional B cup, I was able to get out of making a FBA.
I won't go into too much detail about the circle skirt. It is such a basic skirt style that I fear I would bore you! But, one of the best parts of this dress is the adorable Bias Tape that I used for the hem. Covered in little teddy bears and Christmas wreaths, it adds the perfect touch of holiday fun without going overboard. When I spotted it on the Minerva Crafts website, I knew I absolutely had to use it, even though I hadn't a clue what I wanted to use it on. I had five yards and ended up have just a few inches left over after completing the skirt hem.
Now I have a little bit of a sad story to tell about this dress. I was about two-thirds of the way finished with it, when I realized that I had accidentally cut the back seams of the skirt right on the selvage. Little tiny holes were peppering the length of those seams. I decided I would just use a slightly wider seam allowance to make up for it. . . I think some of you will know where this is going.
It was such a foolish decision on my part, but I was already exasperated that I hadn't noticed the selvage holes in the first place. The bodice would have been a perfect fit, but once I attached the skirt to it, due to those seam allowances, it reduced the size of the waist significantly. When I first tried it on I could have cried with frustration. The dress wouldn't zip past that ornery waist seam. I unpicked the side seams the bodice (and part of the skirt) and slimmed them down to 1/4" instead of the usual 5/8". This seemed to alleviate the issue. I was so relieved! Especially since I was supposed to be wearing the dress for a party the next day.
I thought all was resolved. The waist was still slightly too snug to be truly comfortable, but at least I could fit into it. I wore it to the party and everything went off smoothly. Unfortunately, the invisible zipper I used just couldn't withstand the strain. Right before my husband and I headed out to take these pictures, the zipper split along it's entire length. So, a moment of truth, the dress was gaping open down the back in all these pictures. I have since ripped out the broken invisible zipper and replaced it with a standard zipper using a narrower seam allowance. There are a few little holes showing just below the waist seam, but I can live with it. Thankfully, this story has a pretty happy ending. I still love this dress despite all the technical difficulties I had with it!
Would I make this dress again? Absolutely! I learned from my mistakes. Next time I will remember to double check whether or not the particular fabric I am using has selvage holes. All in all, this fabric was truly lovely to work with. It is a little stiff, but that helps the fitted bodice to be nice and snug while the skirt has a little extra volume without having to wear a petticoat. Because the dress isn't covered in a distinctively Christmas print, I will also be able to wear it year round!
Thank you again to Minerva Crafts for their lovely crafting supplies!
Have a jolly day,