Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sewing: A Dress For My Ballerina

My little girl is officially ballet MAD.  I mean it.  Really truly.  She's been dancing around the house for quite a while now, and when I say 'dancing' I don't just mean bopping up and down to the music.  I mean REALLY dancing.  She does this ballet arm move thing where she gracefully...and I really mean gracefully...raises her arms overhead and then brings them in a swooping arc back to her sides.  There is obviously some ballet term for it...I have no idea what it is...but it is something ballerina's actually do.  She also lifts one leg, points her toe and does beautiful pirouettes.  She's two.  It's insane.

Her eldest brother, who is 12, started doing classical ballet at the start of this year.  His choice, this wasn't me pushing him into it.  Actually he suggested it last year and asked if he could do it.  He now dances at two different schools and is a natural.  I have no idea where that came from but I have secret aspirations for him to perform with The Australian Ballet.  Ok, so not so secret now, but wouldn't it be wonderful?!  So my daughter does do ballet, although it's called 'Fairy Ballet' and it's the cutest thing out and involves a bunch of teeny tiny little girls running about in fluffy tutus, throwing plastic flowers and waving 'magic' wands, all in time to the music.  Alright not really in time to the music but the thought is there.  However my daughter doesn't do the wand waving and flower frolicking so much, but rather, as soon as the music comes on, will proceed to do her 'ballet' moves in the centre of the room all by herself.  I think I can see years of sewing tutus, buying pointe shoes and watching ballet concerts in my future (!)

Anyway, I found this gorgeous ballerina fabric online at Kelani Fabric and just knew I had to buy it for her.  I didn't have a dress in mind but on receiving it I knew it would be perfect for this little dress with the sailor collar, a pattern from a great book I have called 'Sewing For Your Girls' by Yoshiko Tsukiori, which called for a linen fabric.  This was a cotton/linen blend so I thought...perfect!
I started sewing this one while I was away up north, and because I was sitting in the cottage in fairly poor light, I did in fact make a bit of a boo boo.  Ok, when I say boo boo I mean I stuffed the facing at the neckline as well as the bias binding....sort of putting it all on back to front....which I sort of thought didn't seem right when I did it, but the half light (or half dark shall we say) made it very difficult for me to see, and of course I wasn't wearing my glasses....so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!  Anyway, once I got back home I was able to see the instructions a lot better and I rectified my mistake and it all turned out in the end! 
It has a little pocket as well as buttons down the front....which I was totally chuffed about because this was my first ever attempt at button holes and all my freaking out prior wasn't really called for because they worked out and weren't nearly as difficult as I thought they would be.  Hurrah!!
These photos are taken in my parent's garden on the weekend.  They had a big family catch up, which was lovely, and my daughter was totally spoilt by her older cousins who completely fuss over her which is gorgeous.  Note that the little bit of white peeping out of her dress is actually her singlet and not part of the actual dress.  It's a little big on her, which is a good thing really after all the effort put into making it, so hopefully it fits her for a decent amount of time.
And here's a shot of that sailor collar from the back.  I still have quite a lot of this fabric left so stay tuned for another creation for my ballet crazy little girl!


  1. Super cute! I love that Imogen has her ballet arms down. I'm trying to think of a name for it, but really I don't think there is one. Just when you know your ballet you know where your arms must be!! She really must be a natural pro!! ;) ;)
    The dress is so nice, you did an amazing job (boo boo and all? I don't see anything wrong!) and the sailor collar is an awesome added touch!
    Can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the fabric!!
    MUCH LOVE!!!

    1. Thank you! Yes, her ballerina arms are so funny. Last night I picked up Ethan from ballet rehearsal, in time to see them practising a dance for the end of year concert, and Imogen started dancing away...doing the whole arm thing and pointed toes...and the dance teacher thought it was the cutest thing ever. She said she can start dancing there next year! I'm planning on doing this dress again, some different fabric arrived today! Yay!

  2. First, I think it's amazing that your son wanted to do ballet all by himself. Idk about Australia, but male dancers here in the states, especially good, classically trained ones, have awesome jobs. In fact, a childhood friend of mine was teased all through school for doing ballet. Now he's HOT AS HELL, living in New York City and dancing for the American Ballet Theater. Coming from Ohio, that's HUGE! If you want to show your son videos of him, his name is Zachary Catazaro and there's a ton of YouTube videos of him. He's awesome and so successful at what he does.

    I think it's so cute little Imogen wants to join in the fun as well! This dress is adorable! You are so great at what you do! And you've just started! Think of how amazing you'll be months from now if you're already this good. (:

    1. I will have to look up your friend and show Ethan. He's very keen to do well with his dancing...although I have to keep reminding him to practise! Imogen loves it, she's obsessed! And she likes this dress too, wants to wear it all the time because of the ballerinas on it!

  3. The dress is stunning for such a novice seamstress such as yourself. Incredible how quickly your skills have developed.

    Go dancing children !~!