Thursday, November 3, 2011

The "Butterfly Back" Dress is complete!

While this dress has bullions and a big bow, it also has a "butterfly back", an additional layer attached to the back skirt. It is cut on an angle using a "wavy" acrylic ruler and rotary cutter. I have seen this back treatment on a few designer coats out this year and thought it would be a nice feature to translate to a child's dress. The two "butterfly" pieces are slightly gathered  then pleated with a couple of large pleats. They are then treated as one with the gathered back skirt. The end of the "tail" is embroidered with several bullion roses and a few are placed along the wavy edges as well.
The front of the dress is pretty traditional. It has a center panel of smocking done on the horizontal and princess seams. I draped little Sophie on my last visit and got this bodice all worked out. Once the smocking was done I wanted a bit more length in the panel so decided to add the ruffle at the top.

 Pattern: Other than the sleeve, and I truly don't remember where I got it from, the design is original. I was inspired by this Kate Spade trench with its back bow and panel.
                                             and Kathy Dystra's gorgeous pinafore from AS&E. Some of the details were worked out as I went along as is often the case when working out your own design.

Fabric: The fabric is a quilting cotton from a new to me quilt shop I discovered this summer. There are two separate yardages, the allover print and the stripe. It was a pleasant challenge to figure out how to work out the print. The only thing I would redo on this is maybe cut the back butterfly panel on the bias to give it further emphasis. The piping and ruffle are from a dark red silk dupioni. I think it is the perfect foil for the gray. I used DMC floss for the embroidery and this time I am happy with the colors I chose.

Construction: The Butterfly Back panel has a baby hem and assorted bullions here and there. It is in two sections so that it could accommodate the placket which I showed how I did in yesterday's post. The bow is interfaced with bias cut hair canvas.

For buttons I used vintage mother of pearl buttons. The bow is attached on the left with some tacking stitched and on the right with fabric covered snaps. This way it can be opened to put the dress on.

One Christmas dress done. Audrey has several occasions where Sophie will wear this dress over the holidays.  I am on the hunt for fabric for one for Carly now. I will need some white velvet and hope to pick that up while in NH in a couple of weeks. I have lots of fabric shopping planned for that trip. Hopefully I will find all on my list.
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Since I completed the dress yesterday I have been pleating away on strips of silk. I have also dyed quite a few. These will be used for more Christmas presents. More to come on this.

Next project is a window treatment for Audrey. Back with more soon....Bunny

36 comments:

  1. A beautiful dress. The butterfly back is a wonderful idea, how clever to translate it from a coat to a party dress. Your work is lovely. What a lucky girl!

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  2. Just gorgeous! I love that butterfly back and all the detailing!

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  3. Drop Dead Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. You did a beautiful job on your Christmas dress!! I'm glad to see it done. :)

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  5. Wow! Each part was great on its own, but certainly "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!" She will be a princess.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

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  6. That butterfly back is lovely! Does it have a good twirl factor? I like the red ruffle, it looks so "American Colonial" and gives just the right amount of contrast to go with the bullion roses. The only thing I can think of adding is maybe a bit of smocking in the center of the panel with a few more bullion roses, but certainly not necessary. Since you mixed silk dupioni and quilting cotton with deep red floss, I assume this is a dry clean only dress?

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  7. What a lovely dress...and I would never have guessed thet BB was butterfly back. I was thinking too traditionally, I guess. What a beautiful merging of old-fashioned and fashion forward!

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  8. Absolutely beautiful!

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  9. Wow, absolutely stunning - and such beautiful craftsmanship.

    One lucky lucky girl - I hope she saves it for her daughter in years to come.

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  10. As usual a very darling and beautiful dress for you dear girls...love the treatment of the piping and contrast and adore those bullions and other details. Your work is exquisite!!!

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  11. Beautiful dress, Bunny. Absolutely perfect. The butterfly back reminds me of the bow on the back of Fergie's wedding dress.

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  12. I hope we will see pictures of her wearing it...I just love what you created!

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  13. I've loved watching your progress - I love the colours and the pop of red is really lovely. Beautiful.

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  14. It's absoultly beautiful. It makes me want to pull out my pleater that has been sittin idol for twenty plus years.

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  15. Gorgeous dress. You styling is so tasteful;

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  16. Love, love, love this!

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  17. It's beautiful bunny! Traditional and creative at the same time!

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  18. One of a kind and gorgeous. Sure to become a keepsake.

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  19. Oh, Bunny, you do the most beautiful work. Why do you have to live so far away from me?!

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  20. Just beautiful Bunny! The smocking and embroidery are amazing, and all the details work so well together. Lucky girl!

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  21. How pretty! I love a garment with back interest. After all, we are viewed from the back as well as the front. That's a unique butterfly treatment. All and all, a gorgeous work of art.

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  22. Ah! thus the BB :) This is a beautiful creation as are all of your works. We can learn from your posts as well, thank you for sharing!

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  23. Bravo. It is as gorgeous as I expected. I love the way you kept us in suspense - the wait was worth the surprises.

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  24. Absolutely stunning! What a beautiful job with all the little perfect details.

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  25. Holy Crimoli...this turned out BEAUTIFULLY, Bunny! All your special little details & touches are just the icing on the cake for that luscious fabric. Love the color, love the butterfly, love the bullions, love the dark ruffle at the neckline...LOVE the entire creation!

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  26. It's rely beautiful! The red is the perfect accent! And your creativity and craftsmanship take my breath away!

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  27. It's just gorgeous, Bunny! The little bits of red are just perfect to accent the gray.

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  28. That is gorgeous, a real heirloom item. And your fabric selection is so sophisticated, I would not have thought to choose that for a child's dress but it is beautiful.

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  29. Simply divine! I especially like the back.

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  30. I try hard not to be depressed and inadequate each time I view your finished projects! They are all so beautiful and inspiring....
    I know however, the handwork and skill you display can only be accomplished through practice and skill. For me, there are no longer the years ahead of me I would need to approach your artistry.
    I continue to follow your blog and practice doing my work to the best of my ability. I the grandchild expected in March is a girl, I sure would like to try smocking. Is there hope for me? Sigh...:)
    May I ask....Do the grand daughters that recieve these beautiful dresses appreciate them and do(es) their mother(s) treat them as heirlooms and save them in acid-free tissue boxed in the attic? PLEASE tell me yes!

    Thank you for sharing....

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  31. My daughters definitely appreciate the "heirloom" value of the clothing I make for their children. I would not sew for them if they didn't. They love for their girls to wear their pretty dresses to family events and special occasions. Sophie's parents will have three holiday parties at their home over the season and Sophie will wear her dress to each, similar with Carly. Audrey (mom) and Sophie play "model" and she takes pictures of her in her dresses to keep for posterity. Every dress I have ever made Sophie and Carly is still hangin in their closets, nothing has gotten packed or (horribly) given away. Audrey likes to go in the closet and see the "pretties". Jen has saved everything as well. It would be such a thrill to see the next generation wear these classic clothes as did my cousins with the dresses my grandmother made for their Moms.

    Heirloom clothing is definitely worth the effort. It may take a bit of education to get the rest of the family to appreciate it but they can be educated.

    I learned many years ago not to waste my efforts on those who don't appreciate them. You figure those things out over time and is an unfortunate learning curve sometimes. At this stage, I know who understands and appreciates all the time, effort and creativity that has gone into their gifts. My girls do. I am blessed.

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