In Queensland schools it is Book Week this week. If you haven’t heard of that before, it is when all the kids are encouraged to explore books and often there is a day when they get to dress up as a book character. Today is that magical day at my kids school.
This year my Little Miss was tossing up between going as Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. When a lovely friend offered to lend her a costume, the decision was easily made. Dorothy she would be!
Our friend was a dancer in her youth and has kept every one of her dance costumes for her kids to enjoy. This particular costume includes a gorgeous dress and a petticoat with lots of tulle to make the skirt stand out. Unfortunately it was a little big. So my “Crafty Mummy” skills had to come out!
Adjusting a Dress
I’m no expert in dressmaking but luckily I understand some of the basics. My first job was to adjust the length of the shoulder straps. This is pretty easy.
- While wearing the dress, lift the straps until the bodice sits where you want it.
- Pin the straps close to the top of the shoulder.
- Try to have the same adjustment in both straps to keep the whole dress even.
- Take the dress off and turn it inside out.
- Carefully adjust the pinned straps so that the loop of excess fabric is inside out as well.
- Stitch across the strap where the pin was sitting.
- If the loop is large, slip stitch it to the underside of the strap to help it lie flat.
The bodice of the dress was also large on my Little Miss. At some point it had been made larger with two white panels, but I wanted to make it smaller again. Rather than removing the panels altogether, I just took in the side seams to fit.
- While wearing the dress, measure how much to take each side in.
- Again try to take the same amount on each side to keep the dress even.
- Carefully unpick the skirt where it meets the bodice where you are going to adjust.
- Turn the dress inside out and pin the seams where you are going to sew.
- Sew along the line of pins from the arm hole to the waist.
- Gather the skirt to fit the new waist and stitch it on.
- Do the same on the other side.
Both of these adjustments can be unpicked again of the dress needs to be bigger again. The arm hole didn’t match up perfectly, but as this is only for dressing up, it really didn’t matter.
The underskirt was super easy to adjust. We just pulled the waist elastic out of the casing and tied a knot it in to shorten it. Again this could be easily re-adjusted.