So, waaaay back two yearsish ago, our beloved nanny, Ledah, decided to go and graduate college and get married. I know right? Uncalled for- we miss her terribly, still. Her husband is lovely though and I suppose everyone has to grow up sometime... She told me about her engagement by way of asking if she could have the kids (just Squeaker and Odie, who were barely four and two at the time. Missy was just a large bump on me) in her wedding. Yes!! Yes, you may! Now what to wear? My first thought was tutu and when she called and said "well, I know it's unconventional, but what about something in the tutu sort of genre?" I knew I was going in the right direction. Except that we couldn't find anything in ivory- only white. Her dress was decidedly ivory with touches of a darker coffee with cream color- white just wouldn't do. So I opened my big mouth and offered to make it... What was I thinking? I didn't sew! My machine was given to me by my grandma (another story for another time) and was circa 1950's. Plus it had serious bobbin issues... Hmmm... Well I was committed, so I borrow my neighbors sewing machine and set off to find a base shirt to work with.
Baby Gap tank in the clearance section- score! I bought a lightly patterned quarter yard of ivory cotton to be the under skirt, a yard each of ivory and shimmery ivory tulle, and a quarter yard of white jersey knit for the sleeves.
(Odie 2, Squeaker just barely 4- both mine)
I started with the sleeves. All I could find was white jersey (this was way back before I knew where to look) but my mother in law had the great idea to tea dye them- which worked wonderfully and gave it a lovely vintagey look where the dye gathered at the edges of the fabric and made it darker, so cute. (I will warn you though that when I washed it-,(thankfully I had the good sense not to wash it before the wedding), the tea DID wash out and I was left with white ruffles like you see in the top photo; so beware). I cut three half moon shapes of varying sizes for each sleeve and gathered one edge and then just stitched them on in progressively smaller sizes one on top the other.
The under skirt when on fairly easy, I just gave it a quick gathering stitch and then basted it directly to the bottom of the shirt. Same thing for the tulle. I cut it into strips about eight inches wide and sixteen inches long and folded it over to make an offset square. Then I gave it a gathering stitch on the fold and sewed it to the skirt alternating shimmery tulle and matte every other one. This is where things got hairy. All was well but it was getting later and later and I guess I was getting tired because I ended up catching a bit of the shirt in the stitching I was doing for the skirt. Oh horrors- I picked it out as carefully as I could, (my MIL was in town and she helped- but I was using very tiny stitches and even with the patience of both of us...well), but it was no use- there were holes in the shirt and still a bit of shirt tucked up in the skirt that refused to yield to my seam ripper...sad. Off I went to Baby Gap with my fingers crossed and a prayer in my throat. Yes! They had one more on the rack in her size, hurray! Home again home again jiggity jig. I just snipped off the skirt whole and sewed it on the next shirt. Probably not the most professional method but it looked fine and I was not starting all over again...
(Mr Handsome and one of his three favorite girls)
Lastly I stitched on a few rolled flowers at the waist, some dyed, some not, and called it good. The bride LOVED it- which is all the matters- and Miss Odie looked precious all day long. Even when she sat down at the end of the isle and bawled and refused to go down it even with Squeakers encouragement and I had to carry her down and got to be in the wedding for several impromptu seconds huge belly and all- even then she looked adorable.
This last photo clearly has nothing to do with the dress, but aren't they the sweetest? I could just eat them with a spoon, to say nothing of that cake and our dearest Ledah's fantastic taste in flowers...
And that my friends, was my first "real" foray into sewing...