My husband and I took our kids to watch the New York Theatre Ballet put on “The Nutcracker” in Keene this afternoon. The ballet was condensed into an hour-long production to make it easier for children to sit through, and one of the reviews raved about the relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for my kids, I thought. Maybe no-one will mind their lack of volume control. I had made Bubsy a vest and bow tie for the occasion yesterday, but didn’t have anything special for Zee yet. Okay, that isn’t true. Zee has a bazillion pretty things I’ve made her or found while thrift shopping. I just wanted an excuse to make her something new.
I have long been inspired by Hickity Pickity. They make these diaphanous little girl dresses with tulle overlays. I decided to try my hand at something similar. I used
Scientific Seamstress’s “Simply Sweet” pattern with the halter top option. I flipping love this pattern, because it is so versatile. It comes with several strap, bodice, and length options. Here are just a few variations possible from this one pattern, which is available for purchase on Scientific Seamstress’s Etsy shop.
Here’s the link to this pattern and dozens of others:
I used fabric Sis Boom’s gloriously classic “Caravelle Arcade” line.
For my daughter’s first visit to the ballet, I decided to add a tulle overskirt. It was a little time consuming to cut out, as the tulle kept shifting around and getting snagged on my engagement ring. I cut it and the fabric underskirt to wider dimensions than the pattern called for to make it extra full. I stitched the overskirt and underskirt at the sides separately, then put the layers together when I gathered the top of the skirt. I attached it to the bodice, and decided that was a good stopping place for the night.
In the morning, I hemmed the underskirt, so the tulle overhung it by about two inches, contributing to the “floaty” effect. I knew I wanted to add a sparkly button, but I also needed to cover up the basting threads on the skirt. Normally, I would remove them, but I thought I would tear the delicate tulle in the attempt. So, I covered them up with some glitter ribbon my daughter picked out. Covering up mistakes sparks some of my best ideas. I attached the ribbon and added an acrylic rhinestone at the top, but the dress looked off-balance to me. Even though the tulle skirt made the dress look ethereal, it still looked a little bottom-heavy, like an triangle. So, I made an inverted triangle out of some pale blue glittered ribbon on the bodice to counter the effect.
As you can see, Zee felt absolutely beautiful. I’d like to say she behaved beautifully throughout her first ballet, but that would not be strictly true. While she was enthralled with the perfectly executed choreography and the elaborate costumes, she did burst out laughing at the men’s form- fitting tights. “Heh, heh, heh. I can see their BUTTS!”, she cried. Over and over. And over. Punctuated with lots of “heh, heh, heh”s. She reminded me of that inane show from the 90s, “Beavis and Butthead”.
Bubsy was traumatized by the life-sized mice and began begging to leave, so I escorted him out. Zee made it almost through, but ten minutes before the end, she decided she’d had enough and announced her desire to leave,”Right now!”, in a loud voice.
As the four of us made our way back to the car, my husband asked Zee how she liked the ballet. She giggled and replied: “I saw butts.”