I really wanted to call this "dollar store couture," but after reading a bit about what couture really is, I realized this dress probably wouldn't qualify. The flowers aren't handmade, the organza isn't silk, and the seams... make it clear that I don't have the attention span to measure, pin, or sew in a straight line.
Even so, I think it's a darling dress for a little girl.
I'd briefly entertained the idea of making a purple fig-shaped dress (I adore figs), but I figured it'd be a bit too "costumey," even for a four year old.
I've been wanting to try out this concept for awhile - appliquéd or otherwise embellished sheer material over gradient dyed silk - and this is the first incarnation of my idea, just to get some of the basics out. I'm working on a more adult design (you know, in all my free time...) and hopefully I'll have another instructable with the finished concept sometime this year maybe. Lilith is wearing her twin sister's legwarmers on her arms in the pictures because it was chilly the day I took her outside for pictures. I thought I'd be able to type this thing up over a week ago, but life got busy.
This dress cost very little money and almost no skill to sew.
Materials Required (I spent less than $10):
1 thrift store silk shirt large enough for the dress - mine was a short sleeved XL women's blouse
1 yard or so of sheer fabric (the organza comes in 60" widths, so I only needed a yard)
1 stem of artificial flowers from the dollar store
scraps of silk for the flower stems (or you can use whatever ribbon you have on hand)
elastic for the neckline
elastic thread for shirring
green thread (for the flower stems)
food coloring for dyeing the silk
citric acid for dyeing the silk (you can use vinegar instead, but I don't know how much you'd need to use and I hate the smell)
Step 1: Cut and Sew the Silk Lining
I knew I wanted the dress to fade to a deep bluish purple at the hem. I didn't want the fading dye to be misaligned at the seams, so I sewed the sides of the dress and the sides of the sleeves together before dyeing.
I laid out the silk shirt, drawing a basic shape for the dress in chalk. I knew I was going to shir the fabric, so I left the fabric a little more than twice as wide as I wanted the finished dress to be.
I chose thread based on the color of the organza, since I knew the color of the silk would change, but the dye would leave the thread unchanged. There was some pale pink thread along the hem that I could've ripped out and replaced with a darker thread, but I didn't feel like it.
I didn't do french seams on the silk, but I did fold the seam over and stitch it again for a little more durability.