Fairy Dresses

This year, our play was about pirates and fairies. I made the costumes myself from scratch. I used a simple sundress pattern from McCalls and heavily modified it to make fairy boho gowns. Improvisation! What can I say? I love to drape.

Here is my first attempt at the dress:

Fairy dress V1

You can see I used a strip of chiffon across the top to act as bias tape. I loved the look, but it wasn’t that strong. In the final version I used a strip of cotton to create a mini facing. It’s sewn down on the inside of the garment, about as wide as bias tape. Looks cleaner, and is much less fragile.

Here is the final product:

Fairy Dress V2 C

The front of the bodice is knit faced with cotton, the back is chiffon with elastic at the top. Strips of colorful and sparkly chiffons, knits, and tulle, all slightly gathered and layered on top of one another, make up the skirt.

The belt was created from leftover scraps, sewn together onto canvas, which acts as a stabilizer. These took longer to make than the dresses did! But how fun they were.

Fairy dress v2 AI made the wings out of iridescent organza. I wouldn’t recommend using this fabric at all, and definitely never use the cheap version of this fabric, because the edges, even when sewn or burned, act like velcro: sticking to everything they come in contact with, including themselves. I doubt these wings will last me very long because they show wear and tear so easily, but they looked amazing for the performance! And they were much more easy to wear than those cumbersome strap-on wire/nylon wings you usually see.

Here are 3 fun tips about construction:

  1. For the bodice, the sparkly knit I choose wasn’t stiff enough, so I used pattern stick to hold it to cotton broadcloth, then cut them out together as one piece of fabric. Worked like a dream!
  2. I burned the edges of the chiffon rather than hem. Quicker, easier, and looks better, in my opinion.
  3. If I make another version of this dress in the future, I will use knits/net/mesh on the skirt. Way less work because you can just cut instead of hemming OR burning! Costs a few bucks more than chiffon, but saves hours of effort. (Especially if you’re making 30 of these…)

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