J has a Cinderella dress. There was a woman selling 7 dressup dresses for $7 on one of the local yard sale FB sites (seriously, best invention ever! I LOVE stalking those pages!) about 2 years ago which was when J was just starting to get into her dress up phase in a big way. The Cinderella dress was a homemade one and its condition was already “gently” used (not that I’m complaining. It was a dollar). She absolutely adored that dress and wore it allllllllllll the time. Although I’ve patched it up several times, it’s now beyond fixing. There are holes all over the actual dress and it’s filthy. That’s okay…I got my money’s worth…several times over!When the latest Cinderella movie came out J and I went to see it. It was her first experience in the movie theater and she absolutely adored the movie. Even if she did come out of thinking that “courageous” meant “pretty”. She adored the blue dress, like I’m sure every other girl out there, and said she wanted one. So I decided I was going to make her one for Christmas.
I made a list of supplies:
Then I hit the stores. I was trying to do this for as cheap as possible. I ended up getting my tulle from Walmart for 97 cents/yard, the thread, zipper and costume satin from Joann’s on three separate occasions so I could use a 40% off coupon each time. I also found some blue sparkly tulle at Joann’s. I only bought half a yard of it…it was nearly $3 a yard and I figured I could just do one layer on the skirt to give it the necessary sparkles since I couldn’t find sparkly tulle for cheap anywhere.
Finally I got to work. I read through all three tutorials to decide exactly how I wanted to make the dress. I used Made for Mermaids the most. I referred to Kiki & Company for the butterflies. And I didn’t end up using the third one at all.
As usual, refer to the original blog for specific directions. Read mine to know what not to do 😉
I started off by printing her awesome free pattern and cutting out my bodice pieces. I sewed them together as instructed: each side piece to the front center; one for the lining and one for the front. Then I added one back piece to each side.The straps were next. I folded them in half and sewed the long edges, leaving the short ends open.
I trimmed and flipped right side out. Then I put the straps in between the lining and front piece and sewed the two bodice pieces together all along the top.And then I realized my first mistake: one of the straps was twisted. So I had to rip the seam out and resew it, making sure that I pinned it the correct way this time. After I flipped the bodice right side out I saw that my front piece and lining didn’t exactly match up along the straps. Mistake number two!This one was very easily fixed, however. I just folded the outer piece in to hide the raw edge and then sewed it down like that. Then I went through and top stitched the entire bodice as instructed, so you couldn’t even tell my mistake there. Score one for me!
Now for the tulle on the bodice. I read through Made for Mermaids’ instructions about 10 times and then switched over to Kiki & Company but still didn’t understand exactly what I was supposed to do. So I made it up.
One change I already knew I wanted to make was that I wanted to take Kiki & Company’s idea and use both the blue and purple tulle in the top. That was a simple adjustment.
I cut a 20×54 inch rectangle each of the light blue and purple and folded them in half. I only used one layer of the sparkly blue, so it was only about 26 inches. Then I layered them so sparkly blue was on the inside and purple on the outside.I sewed along the long bottom edge. And then found the halfway point in both the bodice and the tulle and attached them together. I went back and forth about 15 times just to make sure it was going to stay put! Then I squeezed the ends together as small as I could and sewed them down on each side.
The result is very unfinished. But it’s tulle so it’s not going to fray. It’s fine. I’m serious, I’m such a dunce when it comes to reading simple instructions! I’m sure everyone else understood exactly what Made for Mermaids was talking about, but not me. I still don’t get it. Of course part of my problem was that my tulle wasn’t as long as it should be–it should’ve extended past the bodice. And then the ends would’ve been tucked inside the bodice. But it’s fine.
Time to finish up the bodice. I sewed each side closed.Then added the zipper. I don’t like using velcro on dress-up dresses. Although J needs help getting the zippered dresses on and off, I find that velcro loses its stickiness after awhile and then my life just becomes “Mama, fix my dress” 800,000 times a day. It happened to both her Merida and Snow White dresses and I vowed no more velcro. So I installed my zipper using my cheating method found in my Glinda tutorial. See how the tulle doesn’t reach the zipper? So much for cutting it long enough and making sure that I found the halfway mark, hahahaha! Good thing J will never notice.
And there we go, bodice is finished!
Time for the skirt. I cut two pieces, 24 in by the width of my fabric. Which I want to say was 54 inches, but can’t remember for sure now. I followed Made for Mermaids’ instructions and cut the front piece at a diagonal so the front bodice would be pointed.
I sewed the two long ends together, flipped it right side out and gathered the top. I also use a cheating method for gathering, which again you can read about in my Glinda tutorial. I had to gather it about 3 times until it was small enough to fit the bodice. And even then I think it ended up being a shade too large.Then I had J try it on. I needed to make sure that I wasn’t going to make the same mistake with the Glinda dress and have it be too long. The poor kid tripped about 68 times on Halloween night in that costume. I’ve hemmed it since then, but still not enough because she has to hold it up when she walks. I waited until she got home from school and had her close her eyes since it was a surprise.And thank goodness I had her try it on! Look how long it is!!!! Obviously my 5 year old isn’t nearly as tall as Made for Mermaids’ is. I went ahead and trimmed about 3 inches off of the bottom, then folded the bottom edge under twice (taking off about another inch) and hemmed it. Time for the tulle. This was ALL wrong, so don’t do this. First I took the sparkly blue piece since it was the smallest. I put it around my waist to make sure it would be wide enough for J, which it was. Then I took the light blue, folded it so it was about the size of the sparkly one and then kept on folding it over and over and over again until I was out. I repeated with the purple.
I sewed them together along both short edges.
This part took forever. I had to readjust the tulle about 68 times, folding and refolding. Which is why I was even more pissed than I normally would have been that this all ended up being a colossal waste of time. It took me an entire nap time to do this part, and it all ended up being in vain. I discovered my mistake when I went to put the tulle inside of the skirt and it wouldn’t fit. Because the bottom part of the skirt is about 10 times wider than the gathered top…DUH!!!!!!!!! I can’t even describe to you how upset I was at my stupidity. Or how difficult it is to seam rip tulle. Which was my next step.
Then I started again. This time I laid out my tulle, put the dress lining on top and figured out how wide it had to be to completely cover the bottom.The bad part was that I didn’t have enough sparkly blue to go around the entire thing. On the plus side, the sparkly tulle was on the inside of the top sash, which meant that it was going to be on the inside of the skirt as well. And between all the layers of tulle and the lining you really couldn’t tell unless you looked very closely that only half of the dress was sparkly. I decided just to make sure the sparkly half went in the front.
I folded it all over and over and over again until it was lined up nice and neatly. And the right width this time.
I had to sew it together in three spots to ensure the blue sparkly wasn’t going anywhere: once on each end and then the two remaining pieces together to form the skirt.
Then I gathered it. Obviously I did a stellar job of lining the different colors up.
I’m serious, I have a newfound hatred for tulle after making this dress. I despise it. With a passion.
Then I tucked the bodice inside of the skirt tulle (right sides together) and the tulle inside the lining. I pinned that sucker about 68 times and then sewed it all down. This is me, which means it took me about 6 attempts before I finally deemed it good enough. I did an awful job of making sure all three were lined up well enough and there were a bunch of pockets where there were holes or the bodice lining poked out or you could see the seam where I sewed the tulle pieces together. And then it was not in a straight line going all around. The first time I completely ripped all of the seams out and started from scratch. The other 5 times I just ripped the trouble areas. Finally I decided it was straight enough. I trimmed the inside edges close to the seam and then zigzagged the entire way around to finish it.And then the dress was basically finished! See the line on the tulle on the left side of the bottom picture? That was one of my trouble areas. It’s because I didn’t line the tulle up well enough when I sewed it together originally and that part dipped down farther than the rest of it. I fixed it as best as I could, but I couldn’t put it up any higher without the skirt being a lot shorter on the bottom. Plus side? It’s on the back. And not very noticeable.
Another thing that I just couldn’t get to work was the point in the front. I cut my skirt lining and tulle to a point as instructed, but it never emerged. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t gather the skirt enough? Whatever, I don’t care. She’ll never know the difference.
The top tulle sash bothered me a bit. Since I didn’t sew it on properly you could see the line where I sewed the tulle together on the bottom. Although I’m sure I could have hand stitched it closed (HA! YEAH RIGHT!!!!) I opted for an easy out: hot glue. I tucked the ends under so I liked it and then put a few drops of hot glue on each side to hold it in place. Much better.
Finally, the butterflies. I found a butterfly outline preloaded onto my Silhouette program so I made it what seemed to be a good size to go in the tulle. I pasted 14 of the same size on there and then made one a lot bigger for the front of the sash. I used the machine to cut them out of grey cardstock. Then I followed Kiki & Company’s instructions and Modge Podged them several times. I put a layer on the front, sprinkled some white glitter on them, waited until they dried, added another layer of Modge Podge, waited until they dried, did another layer, waited until they dried and then flipped them over and did one layer of Modge Podge on the back. Can you tell from looking at that photo that I’m not one of those moms with a severe glitter phobia?! A little bit of that glitter is from the butterflies, but most of it is permanently lodged on the table from many, many, many past crafts.
I hot glued the big butterfly on the front. I was planning on doing all of them, but I decided it would be best to wait until the dress was on J and then place them on. I put them in a baggie and set them off to the side (hmmm, speaking of which…where did I put that bag??) for Christmas morning. I am so excited for her to open this present. I think she’s really going to love it!!!!! It may not look nearly as nice or professional as my inspiration pins, but I don’t care. I worked hard on it and although there are a few parts that I don’t like, all in all I’m thrilled with how it turned out. Win!