If you read my personal all five horizons blog, you might already know that I have been making my daughter’s Christening dress. I have never had that much interest in dressmaking since to me it just seemed far too hard and stressful but when I first had my daughter, I thought I might be tempted to give making little dresses a try since they seemed much more manageable. Little did I know that my first attempt at dressmaking would be her Christening dress. I decided to give it a go when I realised how expensive the shop-bought ones were despite the fact that little ones are only in these dresses for a few hours. I also thought how nice it would be to know in years to come that Evelina wore something I had made for her with love.
The project started with a search for a pattern. I chose a Burda pattern since it looked like a fairly simple design. From there, I was guided as to which fabric to get and I managed to find some very reasonable satin and some more expensive but utterly lovely lace at a local fabric store, Harlequin in Leamington Spa.
My mum was an essential part of the process, she was able to guide me since she has experience of reading and using patterns. I called her my ‘sous-sewstress’ since she would iron my hems and get each pattern piece out of the pile of cut fabric ready for stitching. It made the process a lot less daunting. That said, we were quite adventurous and we made some modifications to the pattern. The pattern had two options: A was a floor length satin dress with a very long over-skirt in lace while B was just the floor length satin dress with no over-skirt. I really like the idea of having lace on the dress so cut the lace the same length as the main dress since Evelina is no longer a babe-in-arms and she would trip over the longer over-skirt!
The pattern also called for some lace trim around the arms and the neckline. Although I bought some trim, I was not very happy with how it looked so I went over to John Lewis to see if I could find a trim I liked. There was no lace to my liking so instead I used a fine ribbon to cover the seams of the arms and the neck.
I instead bought some flower trim for the waistband. The pattern suggested you sew individual flower adornments to the waist but this continuous flower trim was a much easier and less faffy idea!
Finally, the pattern seemed to show the back of the bodice overlapping, with press-studs to fasten. However, I was concerned about how snug the bodice seemed on my large 10 month old (we were making the 12 month size!) so I decided to make some button loops and I found some cute Cath Kidston blouse buttons.
So with just a few days to spare (the Christening is on Sunday!), I have managed to get it finished and I am really pleased with the result. Oh and it fits! I just hope Evelina doesn’t have another growth spurt in the next couple of days!
One final word on the project itself: I loved making this dress. I am definitely looking forward to making more outfits for her (preferably with nice simple cotton fabric rather than this shiny nonsense!). I have to say, though, that I was quite disappointed with the Burda pattern. There were several parts which were ambiguous, unclear or downright wrong (the pattern, the diagram and the explanation did not match). I realise I have limited experience and the pattern was meant to be intermediate but I still think that it ought to be correct. I would definitely be wary of buying another Burda pattern.
- Dressmaking in Miniature (allfivehorizons.co.uk)