And then I got my first commission! By which I mean a friend was looking for someone to make something for their daughter, and I volunteered.
Do you know about tutu dresses? I didn’t. I saw the inspiration picture of a Queen of Hearts tutu dress, had a brief moment of panic when I thought I would have to call up the lady who graciously provided most of my stash to say “help! how I can I get layers and layers of tulle to behave in the sewing machine?!” (she is an experienced tutu maker as well), and then realized that somehow those strips were knotted on.
Luckily the internet is an expert in tutu dresses. I used this lovely blogger’s work as a loose guide (and somewhat regret not following the recommendation to get a crochet top to use as the base, having instead raided my stash for a strip of trim that could be coaxed into a similar configuration). For anyone familiar with latch-hooking yarn rugs, you may be interested to know that the process is about the same, but with giant strips of tulle, larger holes (ideally), and, if you’re smart and/or multi-crafty, a crochet hook.
Tulle is not something I have in my stash, and the friend was perfectly happy to pay for materials, so off I went to JoAnn Fabrics. I happened to hit the store at sale time, so I was able to get the narrow spools of tulle cheaper than buying a giant rectangle of fabric and cutting the strips out myself. Thank goodness. On the other hand, I carefully obeyed the request for “sparkly” and as I latch-hooked the skirt I ended up subjecting my house to an infestation of glitter. (Friend, of course, already has an irremovable colony and was not in the least perturbed.)
The other instruction was “grow with her” which I took as my biggest design feature. The bodice basically is an apron top draped on my (adult size) dress form. The hearts are glitter paper and velcro on, so they can shift up/down if needed. There’s lots of extra strap on the shoulder, designed to be let down an inch at a time. The back heart just kind of hangs, depending on gravity to sit where it’s supposed to (and is even more adjustable with its velcro). There’s a ribbon at the waist that will tie in front for now and can shift to tying in back as she grows.
Other materials details: the black ribbons for border and waistband are from my stash, as is the white lace on the shoulder, and both exterior and interior of the “apron” bodice. The wearer will always have a t-shirt and leggings on underneath (and the tulle still tangles, so adding an underskirt might be a good choice). The crown and wand were more glitter paper (the gold very stiff and almost plasticky), a dowel, and a headband also from JoAnn. The part I got most excited about (having innovated a bit) is making the wand double as a “croquet mallet” (not actually good for hitting anything, but the shape is right, since I used one of the tulle spools).