Welcome back to our monthly series, Wovens 2 Knits! I’m extra excited about this month’s post, since I decided to join in the fun with the princess sew along that Serena has been hosting all week. You can check it out here if you haven’t already been following along. Miss P requested a new Rapunzel dress as her previous one is in rough shape after last year’s trip to Disney, and she wanted this one to be maxi length “to be more like Rapunzel’s, Mom.” (And also because she is OBSESSED with maxis this summer.) ;)
I decided to use elements from both the VFT Cosette and the Boo! Designs Grace Dress, and I’d say the completed dress is about 80% Cosette and 20% Grace. Selecting fabrics was a bit challenging for a couple of reasons. The various shades of purple were a little tricky to match, but making sure the dress wouldn’t be super heavy was the main issue I needed to consider. Knits fabrics weigh considerably more than wovens, and there was a lot of yardage to contend with here since I had a lined bodice and a maxi skirt with ruffles. I did a few things to make sure the finished dress wouldn’t weigh a ton. First, I slimmed the width of the skirt a bit. The Boo! Grace pattern features multiple skirt options with varying degrees of fullness, so I used the measurements for the slimmest one as a starting point. Also, I reduced the number of ruffles at the bottom. The Cosette maxi has 4 ruffles, but I did only two - and joined them with a single seam to the top skirt portion.
For fabrics, I used light pink cotton lycra yardage from Purple Seamstress, and upcycled two mens tees for the rest. I actually used two different 4XL shirts - one in each shade of purple - that I found at my local KMart and had more than enough fabric to work with. This worked well since my different fabrics were all similar in content and weight.
Whether or not to size down is always an important question when using knits for a pattern that was drafted for wovens, and I generally address this on a case by case (or pattern by pattern) basis. In this case, Miss P was between two sizes so I went with the smaller one.
I used the flutters from the Grace dress pattern and lined them with the pale pink since I wanted that color to tie into the skirt ruffles. I used decorative elastic for the bodice detail and the stripes on the sleeves (in the past I’ve used satin ribbon, which works well but is a bit delicate for my active girl). Each sleeve had 5 stripes, starting at the center of the sleeve and each stripe basted in place 2 inches from the last. I love the finished look, although the double layered sleeves do make the straps a bit heavy. I had to make sure they were well tied to stay in place, and I used two elastic loops on the back to feed the straps through.
When we got started, I printed off a coloring page of Rapunzel (thanks, Google!) and had my girl color in the dress the way she wanted the pinks and purples represented and sketch in which design elements were the most important to her. The finished look was a huge hit, and she was thrilled to bits. It was so much fun to do this with her, and the look on her face as she stepped into the dress was just priceless. I love that even in a few yards of comfy upcycled knits, she could still feel like a princess!