Isn't it just divine? Of course, at $198 (plus shipping and duties) it would want to be. So if, like me, you'd rather spend your pennies on other things, Ottobre has the answer. (Is there a question to which it hasn't? you may ask, and I would say, probably not.)
But in its essentials, it is a great pattern for hacking out a Fairytale Chiffon Dress.
- grade it down to a size 92 (even though I swore I wasn't going to do this again because I have a large pile of 'biggest-size-is-92' patterns to make 'some day' and since Laura is now definitely a 92, it appears that 'some day' is now here);
- lengthen the overskirt and add more width to take account of the filmier fabric;
- shorten the sleeves to elbow-length and add flounces;
- replace the front flounces with ruffles;
- deepen, widen and square off the neckline; and
- replace the zip with loops and buttons
So pretty straightforward really. And best of all, given my current stash-busting mission, the only new purchase was the tulle - which I got on Ebay for £3.20, incl. postage. In fact, the entire dress cost me less than £14, which made me wonder how Chasing Fireflies were getting away with charging nearly $200. And then I made the dress.
Folks, if you are the proud possessor of a Fairytale Chiffon dress and are now grinding your teeth at the thought of all those squandered dollars, grind no longer. This dress is seriously labour-intensive. Have you ever tried ruffling silk chiffon? Forget about the ruffler foot - it just makes nasty holes in the fabric. It needs to be hand ruffled. The overskirt also needs to be French seamed and hand-gathered. In fact, there was quite a lot hand-sewing involved in making this dress, including a hand-rolled hem on the overskirt's ruffling. Fortunately I like hand-sewing and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every one of the 17 hours I spent on the dress, but I now realise that $198 is actually a very good price for it. Once you've deducted materials, the cost equates to about $10 an hour - not much more than the UK's minimum wage.
And it was 17 hours very well spent, I would say. I love its dreamy charm, and Laura likes it too, though probably not as much as I do. For a start she would prefer a pink ribbon and I will cave on that, even though it will mean buying one because you have to pick your battles in this life.
I will also have to take up the left hand side of the hem quite a bit and even out the sleeve lengths. They're the kind of flaws that would really bug me and I would point them out to everybody who complimented the dress, so I might as well sort them out now. And then it can go into the spare room wardrobe until the day of James' party to which Laura will no doubt decide that she wants to wear pyjamas because they are the only garments she owns that feature Peppa Pig! Maybe I should invest in a Peppa Pig ribbon, just in case... Oooh! Could this be the basis of a new Chasing Fireflies range? Tasteful character-spattered clothing - now there's a thought!