Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An October Fairy

As we drift into October today, I am reminiscing about my sweet fairy child, Mary Ashley. I made this costume for her when she was a baby. When I tried it on her, she giggled with glee as if she had been waiting patiently up until then for her gown and fairy wings.

I was eager to dress my new daughter for trunk or treat at our church, but I challenged myself to make her costume with materials I had on hand in my craft closet. So with scraps of fabric, tulle, silk flowers, ribbons and a Saturday afternoon to myself, this magical costume emerged.

I decided to make a tutu on a length of ribbon so it could wrap around Mary Ashley's torso for a baby dress but work as a skirt later on. So first I measured Mary Ashley's chest and cut a length of ribbon long enough to wrap around her torso and tie in the back. Then I cut three long strips of tulle and pinned them to the back of the ribbon, gathering along the way. I sewed the tulle to the ribbon and cut a scalloped edge across the bottom.

Whisper-pink fabric leftover from a sewing project was perfect for making petals for the costume. So I drew a large petal on poster board and used it as a pattern to cut petals out of my fabric. I pinned two petals, right sides together, and sewed around the edges. Then I clipped the corners and turned the petal right-side-out. I made several more petals following the same directions.

Then I pinned the petals to the ribbon, working from the center of the ribbon outward. I wanted to be sure that one petal was centered on the front of the dress, and positioned the others so they would overlap slightly. I sewed the petals to the dress.

I then tried the dress on Mary Ashley and marked the spots where I needed to add ribbon ties at the shoulders. I cut four ribbons and hand stitched them into place. I also stitched thin ribbons to the front of the dress.

Silk flowers glued to the front of the dress added flair, and for an ethereal touch I glued silk petals to the top layer of tulle and silk leaves to the bottom layer. I did purchase fairy wings, but made them unique by gluing on silk flowers to match the dress.

Mary Ashley wore this fairy costume for two years, and it hangs in the nursery to this day as a reminder of the fleeting days of her infancy. Now she shuns the idea of wearing a costume Mommy made, favoring Disney princesses and store-bought costumes to anything handmade. But I will hold on to this fairy costume forever, and along with it the magical memories of this sweet fairy child who floated into my life and melted my heart.

Mary Ashley, October 2004

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