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 Okay, the dress really started out not as a Prom dress, but as a bridesmaids’ dress in my Mom’s wedding (in the 70s). The title was just too “catchy” not to use…ha! The dress was worn by her sister, and handmade by her mother. As young kids, my cousins and I frequently played “dress-up” with it, along with a very shaggy brown wig. Such fun memories! A few weeks ago my Mom gave it to me. I think she had pretty good taste, even for 40+ years ago! Go Mom! 
 And within a week, or more, I turned it into THIS…..a new princess dress for my adorable niece, Lilly. I re-used every part from the dress…satin, sheer, even the zipper. The only part that I added was the thin trim around the edges (which I’ve had for about 6 years). So, family heirloom = free dress for Lilly = more priceless memories to record. 
 To make the pattern, my sister, Amy, let me borrow 2 of Lilly’s Gymboree dresses, sizes 5 & 6. I noted the size variances and layed the bodices (top sections) out on muslin fabric, that I typically use for drafting samples and patterns. 

 I pin the dress in place. I usually pin it on a carpeted surface so that the pins will stretch and hold deep into the carpet, keeping my fabrics in place. I trace a line 1/2″ bigger than the edge of the actual dress. This leaves enough room for a seam allowance when you sew your project together.

 I took my Mom’s dress apart one evening while watching a movie, and the next day got to work using my new pattern. As you can see, I don’t mind spreading out in my workplace upstairs. When I’m hard at work, my workspace reflects it. 

 Nathan helps me out frequently by adding to my already made Mommy-messes. This particular day N discovered what a “scrap”was. Mommy handed him her overflowing scrap bag, and low and behold it kept him quite busy at my feet for at least the next half an hour! He played, threw, rolled, “slept”….had a blast, you see. Mommy enjoyed lots of smiles, but kept on sewing that dress! 

 And when N got done, this is pretty much what my sewing space looked like. But, as it often looks like this anyways, to be honest, it was really no big deal after all.
I cut one large rectangle to use as the bottom of the skirt, used one doubled piece of tulle underneath to make it puffy, and a simple muslin skirt lining to make it not so itchy. **Note…..when sewing with sheers or satins, you must use a ballpoint needle (a size 9 or 11), or else your material will certainly rip and pucker. 

 I reinserted the original “invisible zipper” in the back of this dress so A) I didn’t have to buy another one, and B) so it wouldn’t show.  I’m still kind of scared of putting in these type of zippers, but I pushed through my fear and only had to re-do it about 2-3x in certain areas to get it right. I guess I still need more practice. 
 And finally, we get to view the gorgeous Lilly, modeling her new dress! Seeing her in this dress and her insatiable excitement when she put it on, made all the labor and pattern cutting and seam ripping soooooo worth it! She looks like a gem, and is having the BEST of times! I know she’ll get lots of fun play out of it, and pictures of her in it will serve as another keepsake of past times and new memories created. I just love this little girl, and I just LOVE making her cute things!!! She’s so easy to please! 
Aunt Joy’s dress shop will be open for business all year, Princess Lilly! Thank you for beautifully modeling my second created princess dress for you, and well, for just being my adorable, fun-loving, creative niece! You are beautiful inside and out…princess dress or not! 

What a beautiful Princess, indeed!

Other dresses made for Lilly this past year:


Joy2Sew is a sewing business specializing in bridal alterations, custom costume creations, sewing lessons, and pdf patterns for children's costumes.

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