Ever since Amy shared her knit dress creation with her custom Have Courage and Be Kind strike-offs in December, I have been watching for this pattern release and I was lucky enough to be chosen as a tester.
Little Miss (19 months) is wearing a size 4T without pockets and tunic length. I wanted her to have a little growing room for summer since she already has a long sleeve Gloria made with the You Are My Sunshine prints.
As with all of the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop pattern lines, I see many more of these in our future!
(Post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own).
Today, I am going to talk about the pattern I chose to make my daughter’s First Holy Communion and Confirmation gown.
Last summer, I decided that I would make my daughter’s First Communion gown out of my mother’s wedding gown that was handmade by my grandmother.
I am going to be honest. I was tempted to purchase one. I could not figure out what I was going to do with the particular style of my mother’s dress.
I found many gorgeous First Communion gowns online but this is why I didn’t purchase one.
I wanted it to be be modest. Our church requires sleeves and I didn’t want to buy a sleeveless gown and cover it with a sweater.
I wanted it to fit well. We are now needing to buy size 10 or 12 to ensure adequate length in store bought clothes. The clothes end up not being flattering because there is far too much ease, and if I size down, the hem falls at odd places or it is tight in the shoulders.
I wanted it to be well-made. I am a budget shopper, and I knew that an heirloom quality gown would be well over my budget.
I wanted it to be comfortable for my daughters. My oldest daughter especially struggles with rough edging and scratchy lace. I didn’t want her to be grimacing throughout her special day, or be eager to take the dress off.
Return policies. We live in a rural area. We would have to drive a distance for a small selection of communion gowns. Ordering online is also challenging because many stores have no return policies (or only allow you to order and exchange one size at a time). This would have been very difficult because my daughters are all over the place on the size chart!
So I started searching for the perfect pattern. While I no longer use printed paper patterns often, I checked out the Look Books from the Big Four as I hadn’t seen many formal styles that caught my eye lately in my sewing newsfeed. The Big Four formal patterns I found either seemed far too-challenging, or had potential fit issues. I knew that if I was going to brave enough to do this, I had to find a pattern by a designer I trusted (and of course, make a muslin!).
I have been addicted to mainly go to Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop when I am looking for a new pattern. I sewed my first PAB pattern about four years ago, and then did not sew very frequently until June 2014. I had a newborn baby and I could not keep her mitts on to keep her from scratching her face! I found the Lullaby Line Hat and Mitts and, well, the rest is history.
I had seen the Primrose Dress when it released and it finally hit me. The construction complemented the lace panels original to my mother’s dress!
See where I got the inspiration from? So, when I purchased the Primrose pattern, I knew I needed to make one to check fit and see if I liked it! I know this is not a full view of the dress, but I love how Middle Miss’ Birthday Dress turned out! I was able to showcase the “Happy Birthday!” Anna and Elsa Print right in the center of the panel.
I made the dress (and even got a ribbon for it at our county fair) and loved it. I cut out a second one in my oldest daughter’s size as a muslin and left it in my UFO pile to sew closer to the big date (in case there was a growth spurt).
About two months after I settled on the Primrose by PAB Pattern, there was a call for testers for a formal holiday dress with casual options. With three girls, dress patterns always catch my eye in testing calls, and this one was an elegant elbow-length sleeved number.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to test my eldest daughter’s size in the Very Merry Party Dress pattern. I made her the dressy variation in taffeta. Once I saw the perfect fit, and the elegant scooped back, I knew this would be the pattern I used for her First Communion gown.
I tested this dress at the end of October. I did not want to start sewing yet because kids grow quickly, and I wanted a great fit. But now that I knew what I was planning, I was able to start trying to mash the vision I had for her dress based on the Very Merry with the dress on the dress form.
I am almost done with the dress, but here is a transformation progress picture… Next week I will share some of the specific details of my sewing project including some trial and error, as well as a few tips for trying to make a gown out of a vintage or heirloom piece!
Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. All of my honest opinions, reviews, and photos are my own!
In a few days, it will be 14 years since my maternal grandmother passed away. I have wanted to share what I am creating but I have honestly had an incredibly emotional time working on this.
“Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before.
They are now wherever we are.” – St. John Chrysostom
This is the woman who taught me to love to create and I visited her almost every day as a child. I remember sitting next to her on her recliner while she taught me to crochet at the age of 7. I remember sitting at her little kitchen table while she would sketch out birds and flowers (she was a talented china painter) for me to paint over with watercolors. She also taught me to embroider and tried to teach me to knit which became my true love in crafting for several years until I fell in love with sewing.
I think these memories of my grandmother started to hit me hardest as I begin to grapple with what my worth is to the world as a homemaker when I only imagined a professional career as a child and young adult. As I approach my tenth year of forgoing professional success to make a home for my family and homeschool my children, I see that these little things, were in fact, the big things.
And it brings me great joy to give these to my children.
My mother is perpetually cleaning out closets and sending treasures my way. A few years ago, she sent me my First Holy Communion gown (a spectacular Jessica McClintock number from 1992) as well as her wedding dress, a mid-70s fashion handmade by her mother.
My girls are blessed to be incredibly tall but also incredibly thin (their chest sizes being several sizes smaller than average for their height), so I knew it was unlikely a storebought gown would fit well. About two years ago, I started sewing enough that I thought, “Just maybe I can make a first communion gown for my daughter out of my wedding dress…”
But after consulting with my friend T. (a former bridalwear seamstress) we decided that too much would be lost with the boning and the beading and the lace-up back from my 2006 Maggie Sottero gown.
So then, I looked to my mother’s gown, and with her blessing (as well as T.’s), I started planning. This process has been incredibly special and heart-wrenching and challenging because I was diving into recreating my mother’s wedding gown that was HANDMADE by my grandmother.
Here is a view of her gown on my dress form before I started the whitening process.
I also had Big Sis and Middle Sis try it on one last time like I did as a child at my grandmother’s house.
I wanted to make sure that if it melted in the wash or something that we had some good shots for memories. My mom is awesome at being totally detached from objects, and she hasn’t even heard of the Konmari Method yet!
So funny story for you here – I washed it and soaked it once. I was afraid to soak it too long because I didn’t want the fabric to deteriorate… I then was headed to a town with a large textile store the next day (over 200 miles away) so I brought the dress with me. I found perfectly matching crepe chine. But the lace was still too yellow for my taste, so I decided to soak it one more time. I soaked the dress for at least 2 hours in Oxi Clean White Revive. And it was amazing. The lace was almost perfectly snow white again. My perfectly matching crepe chine was no longer perfectly matching (I knew this was a risk), so I used it for the lining!
With the dress being restored to white, but no longer having matching crepe (in case I messed up somewhere!) I had to really finalize my design plans.
Hello, dear readers, and a belated Happy New Year to you all!
I am back from a break from blogging AND sewing. We went on a family adventure in November to reconnect as a family, and then straight into the Christmas rush, and Christmas travels. While we had a blast, it is nice to settle back into a routine again at home, school, and with my sewing! I have big sewing plans for this spring and I hope to share them with you over the next several weeks.
I love living in the Upper Midwest, but when I returned from the West Coast, the cold weather was finally upon us again. So, I went in search of a snuggly long sleeve shirt pattern that would fit my daughter’s body as well as her personality.
I just happened to see the tester call from Sofilantjes and was lucky enough to be chosen to test the size 8 based on my daughter’s chest measurement.
Little Miss is tall and slender, so I added 2″ to the sleeves, 2″ to the pockets, and all the body pieces. The tutorial also includes full instructions for blending sizes for length and width.
I sewed up the full version A which includes a princess bodice, overlapping side pockets, button tabs, a detachable cowl, and long sleeves. The pattern also includes View B with a straight bodice and no pockets. The princess seams and pockets are great for showcasing the knit scraps in your stash that you can’t bear to part with! There are also short and 3/4 sleeves in the pattern.
The fit (based on chest measurement) was perfect for my daughter, but if you want to check fit, you can sew up a simple variation quickly. You can mix and match all the features of this pattern and get a variety of unique and fun looks. I already have my fabric picked out for my next one!
I made my cowl reversible, so it can be worn with either the black or the purple showing to create two separate looks. You can also create cowls in different colors and mix and match since it is detachable!
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