A Christmas Dress That I Actually Finished Before Christmas. Now That's A Christmas Miracle.


Christmas is over and thank God for that because I.  Am.  Exhausted.

Who knew that attending four events in three days - three of which we hosted at our house - would be too much?  Someone should have hit me over the head when I suggested hosting a baby shower two days after Christmas.

Plus the season was made even more crazy by the fact that Ben and I spent a week in Mexico right before Christmas to celebrate our ten year anniversary.  Poor us, right?  Well, it was poor us when we both came down with a lovely case of food poisoning the day after we got back.  In Mexico's defense it was totally our own fault and we've all learned a valuable lesson (of course we learned it the hard way - as I like to learn all my lessons).

But enough about food poisoning - let's talk sewing because not only did I manage to sew a  Christmas dress this year, I actually managed to sew it in time for Santa pictures (actually, I finished it the morning of Santa pictures.  There's nothing like a little procrastination.).  The dress itself has a couple of issues, but that's mainly because I was trying out some new things in making the dress.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

First new thing - the pattern.  The dress is the Caroline Party Dress by Welcome To The Mouse House and I'm 99% sure that I picked in up in a pattern bundle sale, but I can't remember for sure.  In any case, Rachel has raved about the pattern so I was pretty sure that it was going to be a good one.   For sizing I went with a size five for the bodice but a size 6 for the length.  O (who's five) is kind of a string bean so the bodice is probably a little on the loose side for her, but at least it means that the dress will fit longer than a month.   The dress comes with several options but most of them I left off and instead I just opted for a full lining.

Now let's talk about that beading because this was my first foray into this slightly addictive activity.   I actually bought these beads several moths ago with the intention to bead an Alabama Chanin garment, but in the end I decided that I liked those garments really simple so I opted to leave off the beading.  But then I had a whole bag of beautiful Alabama Chanin glass beads burning a hole in my pocket.  Oh, what a dilemma.  I finally settled on adding some beading to a Christmas dress for the girls but when I started the project I really had no idea what I was doing.  My original idea was to bead a peter pan color on the dress and while I still think that that would be incredibly cute, I was afraid that I was going to run out of beads halfway through so I scrapped the idea after a couple hours of work.  The problem though was that after pulling off all the beads there were so many holes in the fabric that it was essentially ruined.  Fortunately I had juuuust enough to cut out one more front.  Whew!  The second time around I opted for a much more simple design and I just added beads along two semicircular lines that mirror the neckline.  Really simple, but who needs complicated when you have a  bunch of beads?   For the beading work I traced the pattern on the fabric, added all the beads, and then cut out the bodice pieces.  That way all the breading thread on the back of the front bodice is hidden by lining.  Oh, and for the thread I used button thread since it's one of the strongest types of thread.  I don't want those little suckers coming off!

As for how the beading turned out, I love it but I should have done a much better job of ensuring that none of the beads were anywhere near the seam allowance.  Because I didn't do this I had a really hard time pressing the shoulder seams so they're not very pretty.  Grrrr.

But there is one more thing that I love about this dress - the tulle peeking out of the bottom.  Tulle is a complete pain in the butt to work with and mine is not sewn on in a particularly attractive manner, but I love the way it looks with the dress.  It adds a little poof and a feminine touch to an already super-girly dress.  Despite the total side-eye that she's giving in this picture, O actually really does like the dress.

And lastly, let's talk about the fabrics because they are all from leftover projects.  The outer fabric is a cotton that was left-over from this Carme Blouse and the inner in a cotton-cashmere blend that is leftover from this Tova.  I wish I had more of that cotton-cashmere fabric because is is truly the most delicious fabric, but alas, I think all I have left now are teeny-tiny scraps.

Alright, operation Christmas dress 2014 is officially complete.  Bring on the new year!

Also - just because I think it's funny, pictures with Santa from years past 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010


  1. That photo with all of the poinsettias is amazing! And this dress! I love it! Somehow I forgot about the collarless version of this dress. It's so great! The beading is spectacular!

    So sorry about the food poisoning, though! Such a bummer!

  2. beautiful dress, the beading is so amazing! what a special dress. i love the color too, it's really lovely. and i can't get over how grown up O looks, it's kind of blowing my mind! happy new year! :)

  3. Oh, I love it!! And the peek of the tulle from beneath the skirt! I made one version of this dress for my niece and it turned out so nicely; I really must make it again. With the beading it is just divine! So glad you spent the time to do that - it makes the dress.

    I feel ya, sister. While the holidays were great fun, I'm pretty relieved they're over and I can get back to normal!

  4. Yay on finishing on time and mastering new techniques all in a oner!

  5. Mexico hey? What fun. Hope you enjoyed your time away (if not the aftermath)
    that dress is BEAUTIFUL. I love the beading, and I'm so glad the obvious choice of peter pan collar didn't work out,. What you did in the end is so much better!
    After trying out beads for the first time this year too, I keep thinking of ways to add them to things, but it's a definite time drain. Well worth it for a special occasion dress like this one, it's stunning.
    Little word of warning: Don't let her wear this dress while going head first down a giant inflatable slide. Not saying how I know that's not good for the beads, just sayin' don't do it....
    Happy new year!

  6. I love that beadings- just stunning! And Happy New Year!

  7. oh it's beautiful!! i super love that color blue and the beading is gorgeous. you did a much better job at not procrastinating than i did. looks like a pretty great anniversary trip too - sorry about the montezuma's revenge tho... :/


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