Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chevron Easter Dress- The More Frugal Way

This Easter will be the first one that we have celebrated when I have known how to sew!  So, of course, I wanted to make the girls and myself dresses.  And what better dresses to make this year then ones made out of chevron fabric (since it is all the rave this year)!  My sister-in-law first inspired me by showing me these pictures and telling me that she would love to have dresses for her two girls just like this:

She had found this on Etsy for around $45!

And she also showed me this picture and said she would love to have a dress for herself just like it:

I think she found this picture on Etsy or Pinterest as well, but I don't know the price for it.

Well, these dresses really did not look that complicated to me. So, I decided to make her two girls and my two girls dresses similar to this child's dress and myself and my sister-in-law dresses similar to the adult dress.
And the search began!
  It has been a rather long process to find affordable chevron fabric, find affordable patterns to tweak and then figure out how to put it all together.  Not to mention figuring out how to make those cute little flowers on each of the dresses.  But, I have finally completed all 6 dresses!  And I guess I should really say "we" , because I could not have done any of it without my ever faithful sewing teacher and companion, Bonnie Skinner!  After all, I have just learned to sew with a regular sewing machine and she is the master surger!  She brought her surger over tons of days and we surged a lot of the dresses rather than just sew them.

So here they are:

My nieces dresses:
 My sister-in-law's dress:
 My girl's dresses:
 And my dress:

I am so excited about how they turned out!  And I must say that the dresses for my sister-in-law's family look pretty much just like the originals!  

Now to explain how we did it all!

We bought all of the chevron fabric at Hobby Lobby.  It is the cotton grey and white chevron and the yellow and white chevron.  We found it on sale for $4.30 per yard!  That is a great deal since every other place I found it online was at least $9.00 per yard plus shipping!  We also got the grey and white polk-a-dot for the same price at Hobby Lobby.  (Hobby Lobby often carries the DUC chevron fabric, but that is not what you want.  DUC is very stiff and is not good dress material.)  And just to mention- right now it is very hard to find the chevron fabric because it is in very high demand.  If you can't find it in your local store, you could always try Hobby Lobby on-line or check with them about pre-ordering to your local store.  Our local store told a friend of mine that the chevron fabric was being sold out the minute it hit the stores, so they have recommended pre-ordering.

I found most of the teal fabric for the girl's sashes and flowers at Wal-Mart for $4.44 per yard, but I ran out mid-project.  So, I found the rest of it at JoAnne's Fabric Store for around the same price.  The yellow fabric for the adult belts, flowers and trim, I found also at JoAnne's for $4.18 per yard.  

Next was the pattern search.  I found both of them at Wal-Mart.  One of the patterns was $2.97 and one was $.97, but I can't remember which one was which.  

For the girls' dresses: 

I used this pattern:

Pattern tweaking:   we took out the ruffled, pieced layers on the skirt and just used one piece of fabric.  We also used less fabric around for the skirt than the pattern called for.  We just wrapped the fabric around the girls and added enough extra for them to be able to move around.  The pattern called for a lot of fabric, but we felt like it was just too much.  We also left off the bow around the neckline and used elastic there and in the arm bands instead. On my dress, we also changed the fabric from the bodice to the skirt.  I wanted to make mine a little different.  And once we had it made, I tried it on and it was shorter than I had wanted.  So, we just added some yellow fabric to the bottom.  I actually loved the way that gave it an extra color punch!

For the sash- we didn't use a pattern.  We just cut the fabric in strips of around 10 inches because we wanted the belt to be around 4 inches wide.  We had to piece two strips together to get it to be long enough to tie a large bow in the back.  We cut the ends at an angle so that they would taper off when tied.  

For the flowers on the sash I used this blog tutorial:

Here was the process in pictures-

The circles of fabric I used for the flower petals.  I used various size cups to draw my circles, but everyone says they don't have to be perfect.  (I am just a perfectionist :) )

My felt circles that made the bases of each flower.

Folding it in half.

Making an "s" out of it after folding it.  Then I just put a dot of hot glue at the bottom of each of the folds.

The first layer. I used ten larger circles.

The second layer. I used eight medium sized circles.

Third layer. Almost finished! I used seven of the smallest circles.

Added button and done!
I plan to just use safety pins to attach all of the flowers so that they can be removed for washing and so that we can change them out with other colors if we want.  

For the adult dresses: 
For the adult dresses I used the "New Look 6891" pattern.  

Pattern Tweaking: this pattern is originally for a shirt.  So, we just extended the length of the shirt by whatever our measurements were.  We also used elastic in the neckline instead of the tie.  On one dress I also used elastic in the arm band, but on my dress, we did the fabric ties.   

For the belt of the adult dresses- we just cut strips for them a little more than twice the width that we wanted them to end up.  And then we made them a little longer than our waist measurements.  Right now I plan to either put a snap on them or just use safety pins to hold them on.  

The three flowers on each of the adult belts were created using this blog:

The only thing I changed was that I hot glued the last 3-4 petals on rather than hand stitching them.  So again, I will have to attach my flowers with safety pins so they can be removed for washing.  But, that also gives me the ability to move them around or only put one or two of the flowers on the belt.  I could always wear one in my hair as a clip or a head band or attach one to a little bracelet!  And I can make other flowers to change in and out on the belt to give the dress a different look as well.

Here is how my flowers and belt turned out:

I also found this website helpful for making what ever kind of fabric flower that most interests you:
This blogger has gathered lots of flower tutorials all in one place to make it easier on people like me who are searching for DIY flower tutorials!  Thank you!

In the end, with everything that I purchased, I made each of these dresses for around $16.  However, I was left with several yards of fabric, lots of elastic, both of the patterns and a giant bucket of colorful buttons to use on other projects. So really, I would estimate that my actual cost of supplies was only around $14 per dress.  But, I also have to admit that the research, looking for supplies, watching and finding the right flower tutorials, measuring and cutting fabric and sewing, surging and making flowers took quite a long time for 6 dresses!  

So, that $45 for that precious little girls dress is really not a bad price.  Although doing it myself taught me so much and saved me money in the long run.  And I can't wait to all wear and take pictures in our dresses on Easter day!  

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