Sunday, February 26, 2023

My Flannel, Kirsten-esque, Christmas Dress

 I had no intention of making myself a Christmas dress this year. I figured I wouldn’t have the time. 

However, 2 weeks before Christmas I walked in to Joann’s to buy some flannel to make my grandma and my godmother some pj pants as Christmas gifts.

While browsing the flannel I found this cream flannel with red flowers. It was so pretty. It reminded me of the American Girl Kirsten. And it would make such a soft and cozy winter dress.

I couldn’t help myself. Recalling running short on fabric for my sister’s dress, I bought 5 yards to make myself a dress.

It was on sale for a really good price! Totally justifiable!

We happened to be visiting my parents that weekend to get our Christmas tree, so upon returning to their house I went down to my old bedroom and went through my pattern stash, considering my options for this dress.

Since the fabric reminded me of Kirsten, I wanted the dress to be reminiscent of the 1850’s - Kirsten’s time period. Full Skirt, full sleeves, slightly gathered bodice. Buttons down the front would be preferable, as that’s how women’s dresses were typically made during that era. (Though young girls’ dresses typically buttoned up the back.)

Looking through my options I picked Simplicity 8833. It looked like an excellent starting point for what I had in mind.

The bodice had slightly dropped armscyes, similar to the 1850’s. There were no darts, just some gathering at the waist (this is achieved by elastic, which is rather un-1850’s, but perfect for a modern comfy house dress!) Views C and D had short puffed sleeves, which I could lengthen to 3/4 length (my preferred sleeve length). B and D had buttons down the front. C and D had a standing collar, another reference to my 1850’s inspiration.  Now the skirt shape wasn’t exactly what I was going for, I wanted something very full and tightly gathered, not a flared a-line, but that would be easy enough to swap out!

Upon cutting my dress out I ran into a slight issue - the button closure was FAKE! 

The dress was just meant to be pulled on over your head, with no closure, buttons only for decoration. That’s rather convenient and all, but I want real, functional, buttons! Who likes fake things anyway?!?! 

To fix this annoyance, I added an extra inch to the center front bodice seam to form an underlap, and extended the neckline facing all the way down to the waist, adding the same extra inch as the bodice pieces got.

I combined the length of the view A sleeves with the width of the C and D sleeves to get the sleeve shape and length I wanted. These would be finished off with an elastic cuff when the dress was sewn up.

And I cut three skirt panels, each the full width of the fabric, using the length of the View A skirt as my guide, to make my very full gathered, tea length, skirt.

I decided to use the big patch pockets from the pattern - they were fun and functional, despite not being 1850's inspired.

I did not find the time before Christmas to make my dress - there were too many gifts to finish, along with the Christmas dresses for my niece and my sister

Instead I wore outfits I already had for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and made my dress in the week between Christmas and New Years. 

It was done in time for me to wear for my family's Christmas celebration New Year's weekend. Still within the 12 days of Christmas - so it still counts as a Christmas dress!

That said, the dress isn't *too* Christmas-y, so I intend to wear it until the weather gets too warm.

It makes a delightful addition to my flannel dress collection!

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