The party dress collection includes 5 dresses I loved so much from the contest that I just had to make them too. 🙂 The unifying theme here is a party, but many of these would make perfect casual or historical dresses just by changing the fabric. It’s also possible to mix some of the sleeves and skirts with different bodices for even more variations. Here is a compilation of the original entries, followed by the actual sewn versions.
Dena’s reminded me a little of the original Pleasant Company Samantha Christmas dress, and I changed the sleeves to leg-o-mutton for a more Victorian feel. It always bothered me a bit that Samantha was touted as a “Victorian” doll when her time was 1904…which was of course, Edwardian!
Kelly’s dress reminded me of French Bebe costumes often seen on Jumeaus and others from around the 1880s. I changed the skirt and cuff trim placement to bring it more in line with those. This is a dress that would be fabulous in all kinds of fabrics from flannel to velvet to satin.
Ronel’s dress introduced me to a new fabric I hadn’t heard of before called SeShweshwe. Learn more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shweshwe The amazing layers of fullness in this skirt would make it a favorite for any little girl, and, although it’s not necessarily traditional, give it so much potential for mixing fabrics!
Dianne’s dress is the one in the collection that’s not really adaptable to an everyday cotton dress – which is precisely why I included it! Every doll needs something in her dress-up box that can transform her into a fairy princess or flower girl and this is perfect! With a shortened skirt she could also be a ballerina, but in any case, this dress is unabashedly for special occasions only!
Ryan’s dress made me think of a dress for a little girl to wear to her big sister’s premiere of the Nutcracker. With the short sleeves of the jacket though, it could easily adapt to a spring or fall dress too, just by changing the fabric. Of course, leaving off the jacket gives a simple summer dress, so it’s really suitable all year round!
As you read this, there’s one more day of school before winter break and I am SO ready for it! With the party dress collection finally finished, I’m hoping to have a lot of relaxing hours playing with fiber in various forms. There’s a fun multi-color spinning/plying project that’s been on hold for a bit, and it seems like I’m going to be spending a LOT of time with my new loom, learning the intricacies of tying up a countermarch system and finding out if it was really a good idea to upgrade to 16 shafts! 🙂 It was more than a little scary to see the PAGES of “useful knots” that have to be learned for the process in an entire BOOK of how to tie up a countermarch. For someone accustomed to a jack loom that took literally seconds to snap a chain onto a shaft and treadle, it feels very daunting. I am thrilled to know my old loom found a good home, though, and in a way glad to have it gone, because it would be SO easy to fall back into my comfort zone and use it for my next project instead of really getting to know the new loom.
I’ve also become very interested in Saori weaving which, ironically, only needs 2 shafts, but whose patterns are inspiring me to haul out yards and yards of fabric I wove and never turned into anything and start draping them on my dummy. So every part of the fiber-to-garment process from spinning to weaving to sewing is almost here, and I can’t wait! 🙂
There will be one more winter-dress-contest-entry pattern, probably appearing here next week, but aside from that, my focus will be on people-size things for a while. You might have noticed I usually get a doll for Christmas, and she always inspires some awesome new outfits, but with the loom being my present for every holiday/anniversary/birthday/etc. for roughly the next decade, there surely won’t be a Christmas or birthday doll this year. Taking stock of the doll storage room though, that’s really not a bad thing! Even if I sold half of them, there would still be more than enough to model just about anything I could design. If I can tear myself away from the loom over break and choose a few of them, there is a half-baked plan in the works for a really ambitious series that may appear sometime after the new year…