Alright, so what do you need to know before I start raving again? Lemme tell you about this pattern:
- Size ranges from 2T to 12
- Unique back bodice straps
- Draped tulle skirt (so no gathering of the tulle)
- Layered pattern pieces
- Photos for every step of the tutorial (I use these pretty extensively since I'm a visual learner)
- Clear, concise directions for each step
So, I made two dresses for the test. The first one started out as a steampunk style dress but kind of turned into a steampunk/romantic floral type dress. I did add the non functional straps and some doodads from Hobby Lobby to the front. (The pattern is drafted as a plain bodice so there is a ton of room for creative license.) It's just an embellishment so it serves no function except decoration. I also made some satin flowers and just attached them to the waist of the dress with some ribbon streaming from the bottoms of them. This isn't part of the pattern but there are tons of tutes online about how to make satin flowers. I felt like it needed something for N's head so I made her a hat fascinator. I slightly modified the materials to make the fascinator so that it would be a little more sturdy but the basic design is the Broadway Fascinator from Snazzydrawers.
This dress calls for 60 yards of tulle so I just ordered two bolts of tulle from a place called BBCrafts. I got two bolts of tulle from them for $17, and it was on my doorstep within a week so I was pretty stoked. You can also find some pretty smokin' deals on Amazon for bolts of tulle. If you're going to make this dress, two things: plan ahead and order your tulle from online. This dress requires A LOT of it so that you get that fairy tale effect on the skirt. I paired this first dress with some microsuede from the costume section of JoAnn's and it was perfect!
The overall construction of the dress was very fast and very simple. It doesn't require a lot to make this dress pretty amazing. I think it took me about 3 or 4 hours from start to finish for the second one. Most of that was time spent cutting the tulle down to the measurements I needed for my daughter's dress. I did use all 60 yards, and when I was done, the skirt did, in fact, stand on its own. I kept wondering if I stood there and chanted " Treguna Mekoides Trecorum Satis Dee" if it would get up and start dancing with my son's slacks or something.
We picked a pretty windy day to do photos, and because it IS tulle, the wind will pick this up pretty easily so be prepared that you will have to smooth it out a bit if you're out on a windy day. Small price to pay for beauty and fashion, I say.
My favorite part is the back of the dress. There are two straps that cross over each other and snap at the sides of the bodice and it's such a unique look. I was worried about the open back and my daughter (she's pretty conservative), but once she had the dress on, she was over the moon so that didn't even factor into her mind.
The second dress was pretty fun to shoot! I went with a black nubuck (I got it from Hobby Lobby) for this dress and appliqued a spider to the front of it. I used the Easy Day Tee (also from Snuggle My Baby) to make my son a shirt that had a spider on it as well. My daughter agreed to do this dress because the black widow gets to stomp on the boy spider, and well, the boy spider was her brother. Go figure.
My little love said this dress makes her feel like the spider queen and she even made up a song about what the spider queen does and says, but she refused to sing it for the camera...
We picked another windy day for this dress (it's Oklahoma, in the spring. The wind really does whip across the plain.) I let the kids have some fun with this photo shoot so they had a chance to play around a little bit with the photos...
They had a blast with these so I thought I'd go ahead and include them in here! :)! The underskirt on this is still wide enough that she was able to run around after bubba and play with him. Even without shoes on, she didn't have much of an issue with the tulle getting underfoot so it was the perfect length. She's a size 7 in RTW, and this dress was a size 7 and true to size like most of Jenn's patterns.
As I said in the beginning, the skirt construction is pretty simple, and it's put together in such a way that the tulle drapes versus gathers so there's no niggly tulle gathering to contend with. I think this second dress took me about 3-ish hours.
I got a little more creative with this dress and ordered some red LED lights from Amazon that I attached using mini pockets for the battery packs. I just safety pinned those to the inside so that I could remove them if my daughter decided she didn't want them anymore. This is, again, not a part of the pattern, and I only decided to add them after a challenge was laid at my sewing machine. It worked out beautifully, and I seriously love this dress. It might possibly be one of my favorite, if not the most favorite, project I have ever made. I almost didn't recognize my little girl as my "little" girl anymore after seeing the pictures from these two shoots.
This dress is perfect for so many things. You can make dress up clothes, flower girl dresses, Daddy Daughter dresses, costumes...so many different occasions. We already have this one in mind for the Daddy Daughter dance next year. She's debating colors right now, but I do believe this pattern will be the one we go with. I might even do lights again!! :)!
Now, if you are looking at this and thinking, "meh, I really don't need a dress pattern", one of the options is just the skirt! So, you don't have to plan for a dress if you just want the fairy tale skirt. That's possible, too, and it's equally as amazing!
Okay, so if you've read this far and you HAVE to have this pattern, here's what you do. This dress released today at Snuggle My Baby Patterns, and you can head over to Jenn's webstore to get yourself a copy at a special release price of $5. This price will be good until May 3rd so don't miss out on the chance to grab this pattern for yourself! Just click here: JenLee Fairy Tale Dress. THEN, head over to the Snuggle My Baby Patterns group on Facebook and join us there! Here, you can ask questions, get inspiration for your own creations, or share your creations to inspire others! You can join the group here: Snuggle My Baby FB group. Really, you need this pattern in your life! :)!
Thanks so much for reading along! Now go grab yourself a copy of the JenLee and sew up something beautiful.
Blessings and Happy Sewing,