For many years, since our girls were little, we’ve loved making special dresses for them to wear for Christmas. Personally, I love taking it a little “over the top” by adding multiple layered skirts, using fancy fabrics and/or adding Hot Fix Swarovski crystals for extra sparkle. All the parties, concerts, etc. create the perfect excuse to go full princess!
With the Sofiona Designs company just making its debut in November of last year, we were a little sad because we didn’t have the necessary pattern stock to make dresses with our own designs right away. However, we sat back and learned 2 things. One: sometimes you just have to be patient because you simply can’t do everything at once; and Two: time really does fly by. Here we are, already a year later, and with an arsenal of patterns at our disposal.
As this past year went by and new patterns/dresses emerged there were a couple that stood out as fancier “special occasion” potential. One was Juniper with it’s sweet bows in the back and sleek, slightly boatnecked front. Next came Fireweed. The princess seamlines and delicate flounces were already elegant looking in basic quilting cotton. Just imagine the potential with dressier fabrics! And finally the Tide dress. This knit dress may not “scream” special occasion at first, but the perfect sleek fit of the bodice and smooth transition into circle/half circle skirt create such beautiful lines. We knew we could make it work!
For my youngest daughter I choose the Fireweed dress. While on holidays this summer I had purchased some raspberry coloured chiffon along with coordinating sequin fabric from Marshall Fabrics, but needed a dress where the sequins wouldn’t be rubbing her underarms (flashbacks to my grad dress and raw armpits). Fireweed’s front/back panels created the perfect opportunity. I adjusted the skirt a bit by removing some length from the bottom of the circle skirt, and replacing it with a gathered ruffle. I then made a second skirt layer in the same method, but slightly longer. I also added a simple skirt lining.
For my older daughter’s dress I was back to our normal method of fabric shopping when living so remote: online. Not many smaller businesses had special occasion fabric yet, so I ended up shopping at fabric.com (a sometimes overwhelming process, but I do love their “Design Wall” option where you can place your fabric swatches side by side and hope for a good match……it’s always a bit of a gamble shopping online!) In the end my oldest got a Tide dress in green stretch velvet. I was so sure I did NOT like velvet (again, flashbacks to my childhood) but somehow when it came across my computer screen I somehow had to have it. So weird. I kept telling myself “no”; but my fingers kept clicking “add to cart”. I also found some gorgeous gold and green lace that I knew I wanted to be an overskirt for it. Since Tide is a stretch/knit pattern, the lace (which had zero stretch) needed to be a separate skirt. I made a waistband and ties for it, and it slips up over the Tide to create a beautiful and versatile final dress.
When Tide first released Sherri also released the Tundra crop sweater to pair with it (for cooler weather). I remember messaging her and saying I was thinking of making a faux fur Tundra to go with my daughters Christmas dress. I figured it was either going to be epic, or a hot mess – but I was going to try! I’m pretty happy with it in the end!
Sherri’s younger daughter (who’s the same age as my older girl) saw the green velvet dress and requested the same outfit on her Christmas wish list, but in blue. Out on a rare shopping trip to an actual fabric store (Marshall Fabrics) Sherri discovered a BEAUTIFUL roll of black lace to pair with the blue stretch velvet she purchased from Sitka Fabrics online. Since (of course) it was probably the most expensive lace at the store her daughter is now forced to live and sleep in that dress. (Kidding, kidding. Sort of…..That delicate beaded design pressed into her face in the morning is suspicious.)
The dress for her older daughter involved a lot of ideas coming and going, plans changing when fabric arrived and didn’t match and then probably changing again a few times during the actual sewing process. However, in the end the result was gorgeous, elegant and a little “warrior princess”. Sherri actually used our free (with code in the FB fan group) Dandelion top and extended the peplum to become a full length maxi skirt. Using stretch velvet for this dress, it was beautiful “as is”, but this is Christmas and taking it to the next level is what we’re all about! She next grabbed some textured faux leather and some co-ordinating lace to hack and create a Juniper over-dress.
Accessories anyone??? Did you know Sofiona Designs also has a newsletter now? As a special thank-you for everyone who subscribes we came up with this Snowshoe Cuff (in sizing from toddler to adult). We dare you to make just one, they’re kind of addicting! This cuff is so versatile that it’s really easy to dress down or up depending on your choice of fabric.
Sherri was inspired by this bracelet to try making it into a belt to go with her oldest’s Christmas dress. It turned out so good and adds a really special touch to the outfit.
The final thing we have to share with you this year for our holiday style roundup are these adorable Northern Creatures cut files. There are 5 animals included in this collection (fox, reindeer, bear, narwhal and raccoon) and they can be purchased all together in a bundle or as individual file sets. We’ve included a free accessories pack for the animals which (among other things) includes a winter (Santa-style) hat and scarf, making it the perfect accent for those holiday makes. Aurora and Tundra both make great shirts to pair with these cut files, but the inspiration doesn’t stop there! Check out some of these tester makes for other great ideas: