The Hills are Alive! - Celina's Louisa Dress

Ok, so I started this last year when the girls watched a lot of Sound of Music. There is this one scene where Julie Andrews and all the kids are in a carriage (during the song Do-Re-Mi) singing. The scene struck us as odd since it's the only one in the whole movie that they wear orange and purple (they wear yellow, brown, green and blue mostly). Anyways, Celina loved Louisa's dress in this scene. And being the nice mommy that I am, I offered to make her one like it, particularly since she's so picky about what she wears. And looks like a homeless Punky Brewster most of the times. A dress would be a welcome addition to all those jeans and T-shirts. Problem one:
THE DESIGN

I looked in the book that accompanied the movie, I looked online, I looked everywhere and nowhere could I find a still or a sketch of the costume or even that scene. It's so short I guess it's really not worth mentioning. So I took the remote and paused the movie while I studied the dress.
Louisa is the one in the center, wearing the pink kerchief. Her dress is a gray-striped material with purple lacing on the front. So okay, now I know the general plan for the dress.
Using a pattern for a regency-style dress, I make some modifications to it, lengthening the bodice and then splitting it at the collar so that it will look like a shirt underneath but will really be just a one-piece dress. And from a vintage 40's dress I borrowed the sleeves and used those. Celina HATES puffy sleeves so she was excited about this dress. Not to mention that she has this weird THING about corset-style lacing.
Problem 2:
THE MATERIAL
We did not, could not find a gray striped material that Celina would allow near her skin. So, we used some blue embroidered lawn that has burnout stripes on it.  It wasn't gray, but since it was her favorite shade of blue it was ok. And for the white parts we used some embroidered eyelet cotton left over from a dress I made Mireia last year that she never wore (but I'm not bitter, really). Celina wanted a dress from that material too, but there just wasn't enough to make much of anything that would fit her. So we decided to use the eyelet design part at the top of the neckline and in an apron that would be sewn onto the dress. Then things got a little carried away...
Problem 3:
THE EMBELLISMENT
Celina hates anything itchy or scratchy or bumpy on her skin. I bought these really cute little white flower buttons to use on the back of the dress and she refused to let me use them. She wanted snaps instead. Well, this dress is tissue-thin lawn lined with white tissue-thin lawn, so I did what she asked but we'll see how long it takes before she rips a hole in the back.
She likes picking out ribbon at Jo-ann's and found this lighter-blue stuff she really wanted to use in the lacing. Stupid me decided it would look better if some of it edged the sleeves. Then she found some pretty lace that was on sale and wanted to use it but didn't actually want it on or too near her skin. After some thinking, I gathered it and added it to the sleeves. Then used the ribbon to cover up where I attached it. Which took LOTS of teeny, tiny stitches by hand so that they wouldn't show and mess up the look of the ribbon.
And then I had to figure out how to attach the corset-lacing on the front of the dress without ripping the darn thing. Pounding regular lacing eyelets into the fabric only made it rip (I tested it on scraps, I didn't sabotage all my hard work!) so I fashioned little ribbon loops and sewed those onto the front of the dress.  The ribbon laces are threaded through the loops and so far it's holding up just fine.
The dress was originally supposed to be just below knee-length, but then Lina decided she liked having a long swishy skirt so the last thing I did was hem it just above her ankles.
And now it's finished. And she looks more like Belle from Beauty and the Beast than Louisa. Unless you ask Mireia, who says she looks like Alice in Wonderland. But at least she's wearing it. And within 5 minutes it had yogurt smoothie on it. So I guess it's a keeper.




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