A wedding dress for a six year old

My sewing student is friends with a little girl in our community. I met the little girl, as her mother, was saying kaddish for her own mother. The little girl would come to Friday night services and carefully fold and unfold pieces of fabric during services. Clearly, I was enchanted. The little girl's grandmother was a sewer. Her mother was not.

Several months ago, the little girl requested that her mother make her a wedding dress for dress up. The mother was sad, because she knew that this was exactly the sort of thing that her own mother would have excelled at. The mother said to the little girl " I really wish that I could make you the dress, but I can't sew."

The little girl then piped up that they did know someone who could sew, my student. So, my student was given the task of making a wedding dress for the little girl.

My student and I discussed how one listens to what a client wants, drawing sketches to make sure that everyone is on the same page . My student took the little girl's measurements, ordered fabric and then we got to work.

Because this is a dress-up garment, it needed to be made to be able to put up with lots of hard use. My student is very careful with her own clothing, but one can't expect a six year old and her four year old sister to be as careful.

Another issue for my student was one of taste. My student loves clothing that is spare and architectural. This wedding dress is being made for a girly girl with frou frou taste. The dress needed to satisfy the six year old's idea of glamour.

In making this dress my student learned how to make the fabric roses that adorn the waist line of the dress. She also learned how to gather fabric by pulling on the bobbin thread. She loved the design pissiblities provided by gathering and I think she is mulling over how to incorporate gathers into future garments. she used those same gathering skills to make the gathered tulle trim at the skirt hem.

As we were working on the dress I kept reminding my student that a six year old girl who whants a wedding dress is into "more is more" . I had thought that a sprinkling of heat set crystals on the bodice would make the little girl very happy.

Yesterday , I took out the heat setting tool and the crystals and we went to work. As I anticipated, my student found using those crystals entirely addictive. It's hard to see those twinkles in the photos, but the bodice is truly twinkly.

While my student was finishing off the hem of the dress, I made the veil. It was a quick job, a large oval of tulle gathered in the middle and sewn to a clear plastic comb.

Right after last night's sewing lesson, my student brought the dress and the veil to the little girl. I asked her to send me photos. And here they are.

Those of you who are fitting fanatics will notice that the dress is a bit long waisted. Had the little girl been present for fittings I would have tweaked the fit. But I assume that her torso will grow as she does and the waist will fall into the right place before she outgrows both the dress itself and the idea of dress up.

This was a long and complicated project for my student to complete. It pushed her to learn new skills and to refine others. I think that my student needs to make some really quick projects next. There is a dress with an elastic waist that is being shown in all of the teen stores she is dying to make.


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