Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lydia's Circus Dress

I TOTALLY lucked out on Lydia's circus dress!  I went into a thrift store hunting a bathrobe to turn into a smoking jacket for PJ's costume and saw this AMAZING lacy cut velvet navy and gold number.  It was either a ladies long skirt or ver short empire waist dress, so the top was too big but the skirt length was just right.
I love the lace detail and the ruffle trim, but I have to admit that at $5 I debated for a few minutes if I shouldn't just use something that she already owned.  What can I say, $5 is steep for a thrift store and I am broke!  Thank goodness sanity prevailed because this dress is PERFECT!
I immediately knew that she could wear her red sweater with it and look like the ringmaster "mini me"!  I wasn't really thinking much beyond shortening the bodice and adding the sweater and then I saw THIS image on Pinterest.
SWOON!  OK, rethinking the detailing and definitely planning on adding a split in the center..... and then I saw THIS on Pinterest.
Ohhh, ruffles inside of the skirt front split!  I was pretty sure that I had a plan figured out, so I started cutting up the dress.  That always makes me nervous!
I separated the bodice from the skirt.  Then I used Lydia's Easter dress as a pattern and cut the top way down to size.  I sewed the sides and the neck back together and reattached the sleeve ruffles.
In the top corner you can see the drawing I made to help me decide on my plan.  I don't usually do that, but I had so many ideas, I wanted to be certain of my direction.  This also shows where the striped fabric came from.  At 89 cents, I originally bought this for Lydia to wear with a black tutu to the wedding.  I am SO glad to have this dress instead.  So we didn't need the shirt and Lydia won't wear much red with her wardrobe.  Instead, I cut the shirt into strips and it became the red and white ruffle.  Although none of the pictures of my outfit show it yet, I will also have a red and white striped ruffle on my skirt.
Before I sew anything, I usually lay it all out on a table to make sure it all works how I want it to before I spend serious time bent over the sewing machine.  At this point, I knew I wanted to do something with the waist band, but couldn't decide what.  I also still wanted to use some fabric flowers, but didn't know where.
A few hours later and the dress is finished.  I used the left over fabric from my waist sash to make teal fabric flowers on Lydia's waist band.  That was the one color element that I needed to use to coordinate her dress with mine. 
I was even able to use some of my vintage buttons in the center.  The waist band for her dress is elastic, so these flowers allow it to still stretch if needed.
The bottom of the skirt is FULL of ruffles!  I used the gold trim that  was originally at the edge of the skirt (and would have been hidden under the red and white ruffle) to trim out the three rows of ruffles peaking out under the outer skirt.
Even with cutting down the bodice, the front of the shirt was just to low.  Fortunately I had some extra blue and gold trim that was cut off the dress and some extra red and white ruffle to add to the top.
So there you have it.  From this.....
to THIS in one long rainy weekend!

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