Sometimes we happen upon a dress that we THINK could only be one thing. Perhaps it would make a good costume, or it could only be a flower girl dress. But what we may not realize is that WE breathe whatever life we want into the dresses we make. With a little imagination and a fairytale dream, a magic wand (or doting mom) can turn a simple dress pattern into a ball gown fit for a storybook.
This is the story of such a dress. The Gypsy Dress by My childhood Treasures (This is a true story... well mostly. I’ve embellished a little for effect.)
Once upon a time, in a land filled with princesses and bling, Alice in Wonderland, and Barbie beach houses, there lived a little girl that dreamed of a beautiful party dress to wear to the wedding of the century. She begged and begged her mother to create a bright pink dress with diamonds, and rosettes, and ruffles galore.
Her mother agreed and they sat down together to look at dresses to choose from. They came upon a dress that had ruffles but looked a little too simple for a party dress. The mom said, “Are you sure this is the one you want? This dress is more of a playtime dress, and probably not suited for a party.” But the little girl was SURE that it was. After all, any dress with delicate lady fabric would be perfectly appropriate for a 7-year-old diva princess, wanna-be delicate lady.
Her mother relented and pondered over what types of materials to use. The picture of the dress showed cotton, but that just wouldn’t do for a party dress. So she waved her magic imagination wand and turned cotton into green and pink dupioni silk, with a slight orange shimmer undertone.
Next... the ruffles. The picture showed only 2 ruffles. So she waved her magic wand, yet again, and turned 2 ruffles into 4.
She added a large fabric rose with diamonds and gems hidden in the center, and a bedazzled headband with more rosettes and blinding reflective stones than any little girl could ask for. All the party dress requirements had been met.
The mother stepped back and was pleased, so she showed the dress to her daughter. The world is still deaf from the scream of elation. This was a party dress to behold, and the daughter has beheld it ever since... on her body... and will not take it off... because it is now her favorite dress. The (very happy) End.
I always say the simpler the dress, the more room to impress. Its so easy to add your own elements and flare (even if it’s 15 pieces) to make it your very own special fairy tale dream.
The rosette I added is actually a pin that can be removed. And the headband, I just sort of fumbled through and figured out on my own, but there are plenty of tutorials out there on how to make them.
For the extra ruffle underneath I simply used the pattern for the top ruffle, made it half an inch shorter in height. I then took a really thin fabric (from my stash) cut 2 of the half inch shorter pieces and sewed a 1.5 inch piece of the pink dupioni silk to those pieces so that only the pink would show under the top ruffle. I lined the sets of ruffles at the top, pretended they were one ruffle and just followed the instructions on how to attach.
My imagination magic wand also made one other small alteration to the pattern. It moved the straps out to the edge of the dress by about a half inch (on a size 7). The reason for this... well, my daughter likes very large, gaudy necklaces and we had to make room for the giant bling that was apparently mandatory in this situation. (This is my daughter’s must have for any party dress.)
When you see this dress it looks so simple and the instructions are a beginner seamstress’s dream. Easy to follow and very detailed. Beginners could easily complete this dress in under 3 hours.
There are only a few pattern pieces to put together so the overhead time is kept to a minimum. This dress is PERFECT for quick princess dress requests. Just get your magic wand ready and Bippity... Boppity... BOO!
Happy wish granting, everyone!