Now that this gift has been delivered, opened and enjoyed, I can tell you about this little project without spoiling a surprise! My niece LOVES to dress up. The problem is that she has outgrown the princess dresses sold in stores. Those dresses are made to fit 4 and 5 year olds, so what happens when your daughter (or niece!) still loves to play make believe and beautify herself in flowing gowns at the old ages of 6, 7, 8, and 9???
I believe in encouraging imaginative play well into the elementary years, because that is what develops our children's creativity and dreams. Why does this world want our kids to grow up so fast? Well, never fear! There are several ways to make princess gowns for older girls using prom/bridesmaid dresses and dance costumes from re-sale shops.
The first dress I altered for my niece was this beaded, soft pink bridesmaid dress I found at Goodwill. It must have been a jr. bridesmaid dress because it was quite small already. Since my niece lives out of state, I had to make my eight year old brother Clayton try it on for me as I made the alteration marks. He wasn't too pleased! (And he wouldn't let me take a picture... sorry!) All I ended up doing was shortening the straps an inch or two. Easy, huh?
For the rest of this project I used three dance costumes given to me by a friend at church. They worked perfectly. This red fancy dress, perfect for twirling, just needed to be taken in at the sides.
The other two dance costumes looked pretty horrid. I admit, I stared at them for a long time trying to think of how to salvage them. What kept coming to mind was "Snow White." Do you see it?
The first thing I did was to detach the skirt and bodice pieces from both dresses. I saved this blue circle of fabric -- maybe for a winter cape to be made later???
Using the blue bodice for my new dress, I removed the gold lace. For the skirt, I cut plain white cotton the same length and width as the see-through yellow fabric, and sandwiched some yellow tulle in between for poof.
I gathered the three fabrics the size of the blue bodice and then sewed it all together. With elastic thread, I gathered up three sections of the yellow material, so the white underskirt could peek out, and attached them to the dress with pretty blue bows. I also hemmed and edged the white cotton with navy blue ribbon.
Brooklyn was happy to model the dress for me, though it was quite large on her!
For the finishing touch, I cut up the yellow bodice to make four fabric flowers to decorate the neckline -- three in front and one in the back.
Ta-da! One glamorous snow white dress made from combining two "not-so-pretty" dance costumes!
I was so excited to mail this package to my niece, imagining her surprise and delight! I addressed the card to "Princess Lorelei" and told her this gift was a new wardrobe for "Her Highness" because a princess can never have too many dresses! :)
So there you have it! Girls can still be princesses past the age of 5 years old.