Earlier last year one of my daughters’ cousins was admiring H and S’s dressing up box, and with a few wisely paid compliments and some doe eyes asked if I could make her a costume too. As a general rule, it has to be a pretty special occasion for me to make something for someone else, (people are often unaware how much time is invested in the making of things) so with this in mind I promised the aforementioned cousin a costume for her birthday (at the time several months away) if she drew me a picture to show exactly what she wanted closer to the time. It was an easy answer and after all that flattery I certainly didn’t want to say no. I figured that over time there would be one of two outcomes: 1) she would forget all about my promise and I’d be off the hook or 2) she would remember because it was something she really wanted and would invest some time in her drawing, which in turn would make sure I made a costume she would really love.
The months rolled by and sure enough, three weeks before her birthday there was a knock on the door and this was delivered:
A Disney princess wouldn’t be my first choice of costume but as they go, a Merida (from Brave) dress is a pretty great choice, especially as I’d had some deep green jacquard sitting around in my cupboard waiting for a use for ages. I cut the pattern pieces out freehand making choices as I went along to create the right shape with not much fabric to spare. Despite the design featured in the sketch I decided to use a bodice and skirt construction partly because it’s the method I’m most familiar with, but also because I think it’s a more flattering style for young girls. The skirt pieces were cut with a slight a-line shape and gather at the waist and I added godets to the lower sections to create a bigger flare (and because there wasn’t enough fabric to create the shape any other way). The bunched sleeve details and ruffled neckline were made with some gold polyester satin leftover from making superhero capes and few years ago. I used a construction method for the sleeves similar to the one described in this lovely tutorial. I added an invisible zip at the back – not taking the time to line up those seams at the waist.
For the belt I used a small scrap of pleather which I pieced together to make long enough and attached to a circular belt clasp. I was really please with how much like the drawing the finished dress was, and the recipient seemed delighted too.