Gone are the days when everyone in the wedding party had to look absolutely identical. Today, the trend is towards individuality. The ensembles are still color coordinated, but many brides are opting to personalize each outfit a bit. With Artistic Crystals, you get an integrated crystal application system that allows you to make and sell DIY Wedding projects as a home-based wedding accessories business. We call our series, the "Business of Bling," and today's B-of-B idea is to suggest to your bridal client that she put the littlest members of the wedding party in simple dresses, even off-the-rack frocks. Then, you can customize the outfits with crystal encrusted overskirts made like simple aprons. Each overskirt could be a different color of shimmering sheer fabric, but the beautiful, sparkling border would repeat the bride's theme and coordinate the entire look.
Our base dress is made from McCalls pattern M5795. We followed the pattern instructions to create the View A dress option in a lovely soft aqua silk dupioni. Then, we created the DIY Wedding Sparkle part of the project: a separate sash with a giant butterfly bow and a beautiful organza apron with a customized crystal bow border.
Once a custom template is created, like our pretty bows, it can be used over and over, allowing you to easily and economically produce multiples of any given product.
All of our DIY Wedding Sparkle projects are structured to provide inspiration rather than act as full sewing and software tutorials. Each article describes the basics of how to make the base project (the sewn part of the project), but not in the step-by-step detail you may be used to if you're a regular S4H visitor.
Once you're hooked on the idea, and have your very own Artistic Crystals System, you'll be able to visit the Artistic website, where detailed step-by-step crystal design and application tutorials will be available as free downloads for all eight of our DIY Wedding Sparkle project ideas, including today's overskirt/apron. These free .PDF files will be posted to the Artistic website at the conclusion of our S4H series.
We've also included handy links at the end of the article to project tutorials within our own S4H archives. These are similar projects to today's, and their instructions and step-by-step photos may be of additional help with the base project construction.
The fabric and notions needed for the dress followed the McCalls M5795 pattern requirements. In addition, we purchased an additional ½ yard of the silk dupioni for the sash and 1½ yards of 54" organza for the apron. Our organza was a very pale silver in color
In addition, the sash required one ⅝" button as a back closure and the apron required two ½" buttons to fasten it at the waistband. Finally, we used 10 gross of the size 10 rhinestones in the Aurore Boreale color to create our nine 5" bows.
We used our Janome Horizon 7700QCP to sew al the pieces.
Preparation notes for the sash
- From the silk dupioni, cut the following:
ONE 14" x 41" rectangle for the bow. Fold this rectangle in half lengthwise and cut a slight angle across each end. Unfold.
ONE 5" x 7" rectangle for the back tie.
One 7" x 27" rectangle for the front sash.
Construction notes for the sash
- Fold bow in half again lengthwise. Use a ¼" seam allowance to sew around three sides, leaving a 3" opening centered on the long side.
- Trim the corners and turn right side out. Press, folding in the edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Fold the bow in half so the ends match. Mark a stitching line 7" from the fold. Stitch along the drawn line.
- Open the loop you just created, then flatten it so the ends point in opposite directions and the loop is centered.
- Turn the bow wrong side up so the seam is visible. With long hand stitches (basting stitches), sew ½" from the seam on one side, then ½" from the seam on the other side. Pull up the stitches to gather the bow. Secure with a knot.
- Fold the tie rectangle in half lengthwise and, using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch one long seam, leaving both ends open. Turn right sides out. Press, rolling the tie so the seam is centered at the back.
- Wrap the tie around the gathering stitches of the bow, overlapping on the wrong side. Fold under the end and hand stitch the tie in place.
- Fold the sash rectangle in half lengthwise. Stitch along its length with a ¼" seam allowance, leaving a 3" opening in the center. Do not stitch the ends.
- With the sash still right sides together, open the seam so it is flat and center it. Sew across each end. Turn the sash right side out though the opening in the long seam. Press. Hand stitch the opening closed.
- On one end of the sash, create a pleat ½" in width. Make two horizontal buttonholes centered on the pleat, 2½" apart. These will hold the pleat in place.
- On the opposite end of the sash, create a matching pleat. Pin in place to hold. Insert the pleated end under the tie on the back side of the bow. Hand sew the sash end in place under the tie. Remove the pin. Sew on a button, centered on the tie. Overlap and button. There are two buttonholes so the sash can be adjusted to the fit the flower girl.
Preparation notes for the overskirt/apron
- Our apron was created to match the size 7 child's dress we made. You would simply adjust the length and waistband for additional sizes.
- From the organza, cut the following:
TWO 22" x 45" panels. Then, cut one of the two panels in half to create the two back panels.
ONE 4" x 27" strip.
Construction notes for the overskirt/apron
- Sew the skirt panels together with French seams, placing one back panel along each side of the front panel. Finish the two sides and lower edge with a narrow hem.
- Apply crystal bows to the skirt. For our size 7 apron, there are nine evenly spaced bows, 3" up from the hem.
- We used the Artistic Crystals V6.1 software and the Cameo Silhouette digital cutter. We drew our bow and brought it into the software as a graphic file.
- If you haven't already, take a look at the first article in this series, The Business of Bling, for a step-by-step overview of the crystal design and application.
- We used a silicon sheet under the organza when heat-setting the bows. We would highly recommend this step, especially with a sheer fabric, like our organza. We also used a handkerchief as a pressing cloth as recommended, which was also a very important step for our sheer fabric.
- Gather the upper edge of the apron with two rows of basting stitches. Pull up the gathers to measure 22", evenly distributing the gathers. Center the apron on the waistband, and pin in place. There will be 2½ inches free at each end of the waistband.
- Sew the apron skirt to the waistband with a ½" seam. Press the seam allowance up toward the waistband. Press ½" fold along the free ends of the waistband.
- On the remaining long edge of the waistband, turn up ½" and press in place. Fold the waistband wrong sides together, and stitch each end with a ½" seam. Turn right sides out.
- Match the folded edges at each end of the waistband and pin in place. Fold the waistband over so it covers the seam, and pin in place. Stitch close to the seam, catching all the layers.
- Overlap the waistband so the sides of the back panels come together. Mark the waistband for two buttonholes, spacing them so they are the same distance on either side of the center back opening of the skirt. Make the buttonholes, and sew the buttons to match.
NOTE: If you are new to working with sheer fabric, like organza, check out our tutorial for some tips and tricks. For example, when cutting the organza, it's best cut as a single layer; once you get it straight on your mat, tape it in place so it doesn't shift. You could also use push pins or fabric weights, depending on your cutting surface.
NOTE: For additional tips on working with organza as well as great step-by-step instructions and photos for many of the techniques listed above (waistbands, ties, French seams, etc.), take a look at these three beauties from our Hostess Apron series:
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler