Every year, the theatre department has a big dinner and party at the end of the year to celebrate the graduating seniors. There is food, entertainment, and lots of speeches–and a theme. Last year was Harry Potter, the year before was Space. This year, the theme was “Down the Rabbit Hole.”
Being named Alice, I have always sort of identified with the Alice books. When I was ten or eleven, my mother made me a fantastic Alice-in-Wonderland dress for Halloween, out of a sheet she had dyed blue herself. I wore it constantly until I developed too much of a bust to squeeze into the bodice anymore. So the senior dinner seemed the perfect opportunity to recreate my favorite childhood dress.
While in London, I went to Goldhawk Road, searching for the perfect fabric. Buying something solid blue seemed too boring, but I found three meters of this beautiful cotton lawn, and it was perfect.
For the bodice, I used McCall’s 5927, a somewhat bland pattern that happened to be in my stash. After much deliberating on what size to cut, I finally settled on a size 4, C cup–which fit better out of the envelope than anything I had ever made before. I shortened the darts by 1/2″, lowered the armhole by 1/4″, and graded out to a size 8 at the waist. It fits more or less perfectly, though there is a little bit of gaping at the back neck, and the waist could be a smidgeon smaller (a matter of personal preference, I like very little ease at the waist). I also deepened the neckline in front, not because it didn’t fit, but because I really don’t care for such a high neckline.
I stole the puffed sleeves from an old 70s pattern I had lying around, and the skirt is simply twice the width of the fabric, gathered. The entire dress is lined, for decency’s sake, in the only white fabric I had lying around–a poly-cotton sheet. Breathability, therefore, is low.
I took great care with the finish of the dress. All the bodice seams are enclosed, and the lining is hand-stitched to the armholes and the skirt.
I edge-stitched around the neckline…
Hand-picked the zipper…
(Oops, loose thread there.)
And hand-sewed the hem.
It is really the nicest-finished dress I have ever made, and one of the best-fitting as well. The only trouble is that it is a little too adorable. Better suited to 10-year-old Alice than 20-year-old Alice…
I might remove the sleeves, and possibly lower the neckline a bit more, which would make it more of a quirky sundress, and less of an Alice-in-Wonderland costume. Alternatively, I could take it all apart and salvage the gorgeous fabric, but that seems like a sad waste of many hours. Or maybe I don’t care that it’s a dress a little girl could wear with equal composure… Thoughts? Suggestions?
(I just saw my neighbor looking at me from over the fence, and got all self-conscious.)