Part 1: Construction of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress
Part 2: The Reveal of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!
Part 3: Questions & Answers
Part 4: Question & Answers Part 2
Gosh! Everyone! Thank you so much for all the amazing comments, shares and reblogs. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought this would be so popular!
There have been a few reoccurring questions asked about the costume, so I thought I’d whip up a quick post and answer them.
How long did it take and how on Earth did you manage to do this with a toddler around?
I mentioned in Part 1 that it took around 72 hours to make – 8 days of at least 8 to 9 hours a day. I’m a freelance designer and a SAHM, which allowed me to work on this through the day. I’d start sewing around 7:30am taking breaks periodically to feed/play with Lily, who was playing in the living room right next to me. Then I’d take her to bed around 5:30pm – 6pm (Lily is an early bird and wakes up at 5:30am every morning – so early to bed for her!) and then I continued sewing until around 9pm or until I started making silly mistakes because of being tired.
As for how I managed to do it with a toddler around? For two of the days, Rena, a good friend of ours came over and occupied Lily for the day. On the weekend, my husband kept her distracted, and for the other 4 days, she played in the living room next to me and every time she looked like she was about to get under my feet, I told her I needed to do a fitting which made her scamper back to her toys quick smart…haha! To be honest though — this was the first sewing project I’ve done recently where Lily actually let me sew without too much drama. She’s very much into the “imaginative play” phase right now and can occupy herself for hours at a time. Usually, she’s insisting on helping me every step of the way. She must have really wanted this dress.
Her HAIR! OMG, THE HAIR! Is that her real hair?!?!!!
Yes, that is her real hair! Lily’s hair falls into natural ringlets and when pulled straight, reaches her posterior. This meant it was juuuust long enough to use rather than getting a wig (which I wondered, how do you keep a wig on a toddler?).
The inspiration for Lily’s hair and hair accessories was this image of Marie Antoinette:
I used this tutorial from the American Duchess – but super sized the pouf, because, why not? I also did a back roll along the nape of her neck using this fashion plate as a reference:
These were the tools I used. Not pictured is the gazillionty billion bobby pins I used:
When we were ready to do her hair, I explained to Lily that if she sat still, not only would she get to have make-up done for Halloween, I’d also buy her a cake-pop. A shameless bribe, I know! We sat down in front of the television and put My Little Pony on. This was the end result (and Lily asking me to get out of the way so she could continue to watch MLP). The heart beauty mark was done because Lily loves hearts and didn’t want it to be just a circle.
I wanted to powder her hair, but Lily refused to let me. In the end, I think it worked out best that we didn’t powder because I love the contrast of the dark brown against the pastels of her ensemble.
As for how well her hair held up? Amazingly well given all the running, head bopping, throwing herself on the ground rolling and one epic jumping castle marathon her hair stayed put! Even I’m still mildly shocked it didn’t fall out!
This is Lily enjoying her bribe-earnt cake-pop for letting me do her hair.
And if you click through here, you can see her jumping on the jumping castle at night!
All that work for a 3 year old who’ll grow out of it tomorrow? What were you thinking?!?!
Believe it or not, I WAS thinking! Rainbow Lily’s measurements ended up being around 1.5″ larger than Real Lily’s measurements. Rather than trying to compensate and make everything smaller – I figured if I used Rainbow Lily’s measurements, plus a smidgen more, we’d get longer use out of the outfit. Additionally – practically EVERYTHING is adjustable both width and length. I never chopped off the excess fabric on the robe when I hemmed it, I just folded and tucked it under and stitched it down. This means as Lily grows, I can just re-hem the robe and slightly readjust and reposition the ruffles to accommodate for the extra length. As for the petticoat and underskirt? I just need to take the ruffles off and drop it by how ever many inches required, then re-sew. I estimate Lily has at least another 2 years worth of use from the Robe a la Francaise and stay (corset) – and a good 4 years use from the paniers, petticoat and underskirt!
Did you really make it with bed sheets?
I sure did!
Here are some of the same sheets found on eBay — although the prices make my eyes water! I only paid $2.59 each for three of the sheets and $1.29 each for the other two:
The floral bed sheet:
The Ralph Lauren bed sheet:
Thrifted bed sheets are fabulous and have so many different uses. If you feel a little icky about using vintage/thrifted bed sheets or pillow cases, don’t! When I find a potentially interesting sheet, I always double check it in the store to ensure it has no scary looking stains and when I get home, I ALWAYS pre-wash them before use in hot water and with a tiny bit of bleach. Even for the colour sheets. That way, they are very nice and clean by the time I’m ready to use them for sewing.
A Note About Gender Stereotypes
A few people expressed their disdain with regard to gender stereotyping and the color pink. I definitely understand the concern, however for me, the amusing thing is we don’t perpetrate gender stereotypes in this house with Lily. She’s been allowed to play with what ever toys she likes and has an equal number of cars, dinosaurs, ponies and dolls that all get equal play along with a gigantic LEGO/DUPLO table that has seen great use. She’s worn what ever clothing she likes regardless of gender and there’s nothing she loves more than to jump, climb, dig (roll, if I’d let her) in dirt and all sorts of things. She pretend cooks, but also does pretend home improvements.
On her own accord with no prompting from her father or I, Lily decided she liked princesses and that her favourite colour is pink (and lately, purple). Lily’s current love for princesses originate from the vintage fairy tale books that she has – the ones with all sorts of fantastical illustrations and not Disney. Lily is a lover of all things fancy, but also a serious tomboy — she’s found the perfect balance for herself, and I’m more than happy to let her climb that tree and dig in dirt while dressed like a princess. Ok ok – maybe not dig in dirt while wearing THIS particular princess dress….at least, not until after Halloween.
Last year, she wanted to be a pirate for Halloween, but was VERY specific about wanting to be a boy pirate with a moustache like her father. This year, she was very specific about wanting to be a princess wearing a pink dress. If she had of asked to be a Giger alien, a transformer or whatever, I would have figured out how to make it happen for her.
Are you a cosplayer? Do you do child pageants?
Nope and nope. I’ve never cosplayed in my life and we do not (and will not) participate in child pageants. I just enjoy sewing (a huge thank you to my Mom who taught me as a child how to sew!) and have an interest in historical and off beat fashion. I like to challenge myself to at least one epic sewing project a year so my skills don’t get too rusty, and Halloween seems to be the best time to do it!
Who took the snazzy non-camera phone photographs?
My husband! You can see his photography gallery here: http://hormozi.smugmug.com/
Can you be my mom? Will you adopt me?
If I lived in a mansion and you all promised to wear nothing but 18th century clothing, I’d adopt you all in a heartbeat. But alas, I live in an itty bitty apartment with no double French doors to accommodate our paniers, so for now, the answer is regrettably: No. I’ll let you know if things change, though!