Friday, August 17, 2012

Horsehair braid (CRIN)

This week, I finally got around to a project that I've been planning for a year--Simplicity 1703 from the 50s.  I loved the idea of a pinafore dress that could double as a sundress, and Grace has been asking for an "apron dress" since around last year, too.  In fact, I had to locate a size 3 when Bit suddenly grew because all I had was a 2.  (I'm looking for a 4 now.  ;) We like this pattern!)

I paired it with turquoise cotton/poly batiste for the pinafore/sundress and Moda Girlie Girl stripes for the dress itself.

IRL, the colors are more vibrant than this picture.  We love the drama!  And so, I bought extra fabric because the stripes run vertically down the fabric, but the pattern should be horizontal.

I know that you're not "supposed" to use quilting fabric for apparel, but I've found that the so-called "designer" brands are good quality fabrics with just as good hand and drape as "apparel" fabrics.  I did my standard adjustments--widening the neckline and lengthening the dress.

I heard about horsehair braid from Gertie.  And well, this is a typical 50s dress in that it has a wiiiidddeee skirt.  Horsehair braid used to be just that--horse hair in a complicated braid that was used to stiffen hemlines of skirts so you didn't have to wear as many petticoats underneath.  Now it's made from polyester, but it serves the same purpose.  The wider the braid, the more dramatic the effect.  I used 2" braid on this dress. From what I've hear, it works extremely well on full-circle skirts, but it worked pretty well here, too.

I didn't spread the skirts out here--they're doing it all by themselves.  While it's recommended to topstitch the hems with this stuff, I didn't do it.  My mom could have actually worn this dress--she was born in 1945, and it came in a big enough size that my Grandmother could have made it for her!  Mom and Grandma were old school and taught me the sewing basics and they always said that a topstitched hem was a sign of cheaply made garbage and hand hems were a sign of quality, so I almost always hand hem things.  If you do that with horsehair braid, though, you need to go through the string that's woven in the CRIN.

The color is a little off here--my camera broke and I'm not used to the one I borrowed yet.  Gracie liked it as a sundress, which is good, since it's too hot still for her to wear both.  This is something of a transition dress--I expect it to fit until it gets cold and I finish winter dresses.

She also loved the pockets.  It was a mess to get them in the right place! The original placement was too high, and when I moved the down by the amount I lengthened the skirt, they were too low.  We finally had to try it on with them pinned in place to get it right.  And, of course, Grace pitched a fit because of the pins in it!  Didn't matter that it was finished except for the hem and pockets--it had pins in the pockets and was therefore evil!

She said it was comfy because of the wide skirt.  I made sure to lengthen it enough to keep away undies flashes.  And this one is definitely for church, not play!

Joanna loves the way they look together, and so do I. She says that it reminds her of Alice in Wonderland. I think the newer Johnny Depp version was more brightly colored than the original, and if Grace grows before Halloween, I'll offer to whip up an Alice costume. Can't let that blonde hair go to waste!

I'll probably go closer to the Disney version, though, and go more with the Tenniel illustrations with the Disney colors. 
  In the meantime, though, I think this one turned out very well, and Grace loves it!  Perhaps Nicole would like an "Apron dress" for winter, too!

One detail that I thought was fun was the sash on the back of the pinafore.   I slimmed down the darting a bit  and there's room to move the buttons over to give her a bit more space, but right now it fits very, very well!

The bows I had laying around and kept just for this because they're a perfect match to the pinafore, and the trim is jacquard ribbon that I sourced from ebay.  I'll probably be sending the tights and shoes home soon because she's starting to get into size 11 shoes.  *sigh* My baby girl is growing up so fast.....