Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Baby's First Birthday!

So, my sweet sweet girl had a birthday! And for her party I made her a dress. It's the biggest project I've ever attempted... I started from scratch by choosing fabrics and sketching out a design. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted the dress to look when I chose the fabric and trim, but it really took shape once I got home and started sketching and planning. Here's the design:

Sketch and notes - the notes are how I figure out what pattern pieces to draft.

From there, I started looking into how I could make the skirt. I wanted as many ruffles and as much pouf as are humanly possible, and it was actually pretty hard to find any patterns with as much floof and flounce as I was looking for. I finally found this tutorial on making a "ruffly cupcake - shaped" skirt. It was perfect. It wasn't super clear on measurements or anything, but gave me enough to go on that I was able to tweak it to fit my pattern and materials. The next step was drafting the pattern and calculating ruffle lengths. I had to tweak those a few times, and even went back to Joann's for more fabric, just to make sure I wouldn't run out (I was making a lot of ruffles). Finally, it was time to cut out fabric.

That pile of fabric in the lower left is all for ruffles.
The neater pile in the center is also ruffles.

I cut out everything but the ruffle pieces. To make them, I sewed parallel lines of satin stitch, then cut between them. It was easier than hemming, and slightly less time - consuming (though still a bit mind - numbing.) Then I started on the underskirt. There were 4 layers : one, a half circle layer of a lightweight, satiny lining - type fabric, and 3 circle skirts of gathered organza, each with a 25 foot ruffle on the bottom. As my Grandpa always says, if you've got a lot of frogs to swallow, swallow the biggest one first! And this was a pretty big frog. The underskirt took about as long as all the rest of the dress combined! But once it was all put together, I could see that it was going to be worth it.

Dollbaby approved!

Dollbaby loved it, so off I went to finish. I put together the bodice and lining next, and then the two layers of the skirt - one layer of organza, and one layer of "flower petals" made of the same fabric as the bodice. I attached the skirt to the overskirt and got ready to put all the pieces together.

Skirt, bodice, and lining, ready to be put together.

Once I got that done, there were only a few finishing steps left : attaching the outer sleeves to the sleeve linings, adding buttons and buttonholes, and sewing on trim.

Almost done!

I finished those last few steps the morning of my cute patootie's birthday party, and it went very smoothly. Of course, I snapped a few pictures while I waited for her to wake up from her nap.



Finally naptime was over, and I got to put the dress on my dollbaby! I hung it up on her doorknob while I got her undressed, and she "oohed" and "aahed" and petted the skirt. I completely melted when I saw it on her! Of course Handsomeface and I got a few picture before heading out to her party, and plenty once we were there!

Posing with Baby (her new dolly).

Dissolving in a cloud of pink.

Always so photogenic!


Top view.

She's standing up, but you can't see her feet!
I want a skirt like this.

All told, the dress took about 26 - 27 hours to make, not counting time spent designing, drafting the pattern, shopping for materials, or cutting out fabric. I satin stitched, cut, and gathered over 100 feet of ruffles, and used about 3 spools of thread... and I would (and probably will) do it all again! At this point you're probably asking yourself, "Is she crazy?" The answer is yes. Yes, I am.

Besides the dress, I also made the smash cake (which turned out pretty big for a smash cake, but hey, it was my first try). It's based on this tutorial, but pretty heavily modified due to my baby's tastes and some time constraints. I used stabilized whipped cream instead of frosting, since Dollbaby doesn't like sweets that much (but she loves whipped cream!) and used cookies and candies instead of fondant - Oreos for the eyes, pieces of pizzelle for the ears, pieces of marshmallow Peeps for the bow, and M&Ms for the pupils, beak, and feet.

Front view.

Side view... I just used a frosting spatula
to get the feather effect.

Of course, my dainty darling didn't want to smash it - she doesn't seem to like being messy.  She did enjoy eating it, though, especially all that whipped cream! She even shared the Oreo eyes with me.

"I'm supposed to do what now, Mommy?!?"

Mmm, whipped cream.

Happy, dainty Dollbaby.

So that's what I've been busy with! Next up, making little stuffed animals to get Rhymes with Finesse Needlearts started. Hopefully I'll be able to post more on that soon. Thanks for reading!


  1. Very adorable, my dear. You and your ruffles, patience of a saint!

    1. Thank you! Haha, I do love me some ruffles.

  2. Love the dress! I did thing like that for my little girl over 25 years ago. I am hoping soon to have a grandchild to make clothes for!