I had already planned on making my daughter a Cinderella gown for her 4th birthday and to take to Disneyland this Christmas, but then a friend of mine asked if I could make Ariel the Little Mermaid’s pink gown for her daughter for a Christmas present. Evidently the pink one isn’t as readily available and Etsy has them for the low low price of $300. So after some Googling I decided that I could alter my Cinderella pattern to be able to make both dresses at once. And then of course decided that I couldn’t make just one pink satin dress and then, in my daughter’s eyes, get rid of it. So here’s how I did it. I tried to break it down as simple as possible, but if you don’t understand something, just ask!
I used Simplicity Pattern 2817 and then just made adjustments to make it look like the Ariel dress. A 3 year old doesn’t need so much cleavage (or really any), but I do think that puffed sleeves and skirt volume is a must. I used a costume pink satin and then used a stiffer white special occasion fabric to add body. I added a crinoline to my daughter’s, but the one I sold didn’t have one so I wanted it to have enough shape to not look limp while she was playing in it. I didn’t want to add tulle because although tulle is cute, it’s itchy and bunches.
I made the top just as it instructed, but I would recommend cutting the front piece on the fold of the fabric. I don’t understand why they want you to sew that together. I did it with this dress, but not when I made the Cinderella one.Just keep in mind that you need to shift the pattern off the fold the length of the seam allowance or it will make the front bigger than the stated size. Unless that’s what you’re going for. I also added interfacing down the back because I didn’t put in buttons, but eyelets and lace. Here’s photos of progress so far:
I lined it in the stiffer white. Lining is a lot cheaper, but like I said I wanted this to hold up and the pink satin wasn’t real sturdy. Also I top stitch everything that could ever possibly need it. I think it looks neater and helps hold everything together.
Now we come to the part where I changed things. I wanted puffed slashed sleeves so I used the sleeve pattern for the Snow White dress instead of the Cinderella sleeves. That means a different sleeve and it also had an armband at the bottom of the puff. Now I cut out 2 pink and 2 white. You don’t really have to cut the white into the sleeve shape, I just found that easier to keep track of everything. So what you do is you then cut all the sleeves into strips and sew the white strips in. That makes sense right? Well here are some visual explanations:
I stack them all up and then cut them together so both sides match. The thing to make sure is that it starts and ends in pink and that you keep the pink strips in order. You will use ALL pink strips, but not all the white ones. This method kinda wastes fabric, so if you have a better idea– DO IT! OK once they are sewn together they will look kinda messy, but don’t worry, we’ll fix that.
The next step is to sew the pink sections together at the top and bottom leaving the space in the middle open. Now it should look more like the original sleeve, but it will have white sections like Ariel. Turn the sleeve over and trim and clean up the white. Right here is when a serger comes in handy. It cleaned up the area and cut off the white at the same time. Here’s what you should have now:
DO NOT ATTACH THE SLEEVES YET! Ariel has long sleeves so after I sewed the arm banding on the bottom of the sleeve I added a long pointed sleeve. You can make this pattern but making the top as wide as the arm banding, from the middle of the banding measure down how ever long you need the sleeve to be plus 1/2 inch, then 1/2 inch below the bottom draw a line as wide as you need the wrist to be (make sure it will be loose enough), connect the ends of the wrist line to the ends of the armband lines. Once again that’s really confusing so here’s a picture:
I then finished the pointed end of the sleeve then attached it to the same seam where the sleeve and armband meet.
OK then just attach the sleeves as the regular pattern calls for it just make sure that you have the armband facing the right direction. Believe me (not that I would make that mistake– *cough cough*). Now you have this!
Yay! It’s starting to look like more than a mess of fabric!
So I’m sure you see the skirt next to her on the dress form. The pattern has 2 parts for the skirt, a side and back piece and a front piece. For this dress I cut all pieces out in the white and cut out another set of side/back pieces in the pink to make an overskirt. I sewed the pieces of the white together like the pattern asked, then sewed the two pink ones together, then attached the pink and white at the top of the skirt leaving an inch free at the edge of the pink that meets the center front piece (that way I could finish the edge down the front easily. I had this:
looks fantastic right? OK not so much, but trust me on this. I trimmed up the front of the pink so that it had a more sloping gradual opening then I attached the skirt to the top. The white front piece I gathered between the darts on the top and then distributed and gathered the pink the rest of the way around. Ta da! You’re almost done!
I have serged all my edges which makes the hemming a lot easier. I made the pink skirt shorter than the white to reflect the Ariel dress a little more. After I was all done hemming I added the eyelets and just used pink ribbon. I like to mark all the eyelets on one side and then do the other. I find that makes them look much more even then trying to do both sides at one time. Here’s the back:
This dress is the one I sold and she is a couple sizes bigger than my daughter, so that’s why I left the ribbon long and the dress is a bit big. I also had issues getting my little girl to stand still. I’ll try posting some more detailed shots when she wears this in Disney. Surely she’ll get tired and sit still at some point right??
Here’s some more photos and if you want to know how I made my super easy, non itchy crinoline keep reading.
OK for the crinoline I bought an old square dance crinoline on eBay and cut it to be 4 inches wider than what she needed it to be, serged the back together leaving the cotton portion open for easy on and off, ran some twill tape through the old elastic casing and voila!
the new back serged together
It’s soft and washable. I can use it with any of her gowns. Cause, yes she has gowns. Speaking of which pictures of her Cinderella gown will be up soon.