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Undiscovered Beauty: Hand-me down Makeover

Thank you to all of you that supported us last week and helped us stick around for this week. We won't be able to succeed without your help, please go and vote for us.
We've had these pictures waiting to share for over a week, and let me tell you it has been very difficult to keep them under wrap. Without saying any words, these pictures convey the message that we try to share in every blog post we write. It is a message about coming home. Of natural and unexpected beauty. Within each of us there is something unique and special. We just have to take the time to recognize it and bring it out.
I love, Love, LOVE these pictures. When I see them I can't help, but start to cry. These pictures show the things I hold dearest to my heart. I'm glad to share, but at the same time they are sacred to me. Innocence. Childhood. Natural Beauty. A Child of God. Someone I want to protect, but somehow must let her gain experience on her own.
Growing up, my confidence always struggled with having curly hair and being so different. Looking back I can see that my insecurities were silly. Heavenly Father doesn't make mistakes. I've tried to teach Ty that she is her own kind of beautiful ever since she was a baby. The simplicity and softness of this dress and how it captures the personality of my sweet little girl. Too often sewing projects can outshine the true masterpiece.
These pictures were taken only a 5 minute drive down the road from my parents house. Seeing those mountains and the abandoned building brings me great joy; this project turned out great because it's personal to the Shaffer Sisters. Just like this land, there is definitely something special about selecting something cast off and forgotten, then morphing it into something refreshed and beautiful.
The theme for this week is a lesson learned from my grandmothers about making the most with what you have been given. Both ladies were incredible at taking this perspective and making the world more beautiful. The Great Depression left them forever impacted to re-use, re-use, re-use until you can't make something with it.
I remember my Grandma Betty talking about how in their day when you found out you were expecting a baby you'd run to the store to get a few yards of white flannel. You'd make your baby blankets with them and use them constantly until they could no longer be used as blankets because they were so worn. Then you'd cut them up and make them into towels. Eventually they'd need to become washcloths. Finally after they had more than served their purpose and were thread bare and could be used for nothing else they were discarded.
Since hearing this story, I found myself constantly aware of how so much in our world is easily discarded and replaced. I wanted to live more like the great ladies in my life teaching my children to slow down and see the potential of the forgotten or discarded. This project was an attempt on this goal. This summer my mom gave me a dress to use as fabric for Ty. It had hung in the closet for nearly a decade unwanted and forgotten. The fabric was beautiful, but the execution was lacking. It was my job to take it apart seam by seam and rebuild it into perfection.
To do this I used the Candy Castle Princess Dress Pattern because I knew that I loved the fit of it and could be creative in how I used my "fabric". When seam ripping original the dress, I set the entire skirt piece aside and tried to make the top pattern pieces work with the given bodice. I changed the bodice lines from sleeveless to thin straps and made adjustments to the neckline as well. I kept modifying the bodice pattern until I was satisfied with the design and could also get it to fit on my very limited empire bodice.
The fullness of the original dress was kept and gathered to fit the bodice. The fabric is so lightweight that I knew it would lay nicely without changing it. By running basting stitched up the chiffon outer skirt at equal intervals I was able to give it a soft and flowy look. To make the vertical gathers more secure in such a lightweight fabric, I chain-stitched over the basting stitch.When this was done, I shortened the underskirt to an appropriate length and admired from a distance. After trying it on Ty I was so incredibly excited at how fitting it was to the beauty of her personality. Although a beautiful dress by itself, it felt like maybe it needed something more. To complete the look, I drafted the lace jacket. It was the 6th attempt that resulted in perfect fit.
If you haven't yet, please come vote for our look at Project Run and Play.

17 comments:

  1. her smile!! and the pictures! and the dress!! oh, I love it :)

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  2. Everything about it, just perfect! This reminds me as a child how I used to play with my mother's gowns that my grandmother had made her. That special feeling of beautiful...

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  3. Gorgeous girl, dress, and photos! Love your story, this is such a beautiful post!

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  4. Be still my heart. I LOVE your look! This is gorgeous and she is gorgeous and everything it represents is gorgeous! I voted for you!

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  5. You guys. This is gorgeous! The dress, the pictures, the location. I'm in love!!!

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  6. What a beautiful post! Love the dress and the beautiful pictures!

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  7. This is an amazing work! I love all about it!

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  8. that dress is gorgeous!! I just love the color, so fall and lovely!! Well done.. I voted for you because I was so in love with this outfit ;o)

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  9. The outfit is beautiful, your model is lovely, and this photo shoot is breathtaking!
    Amazing job, ladies. So much!!
    ~Michelle

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    1. Thanks Michelle,
      It is one of our favorite photo shoots to date. It felt so personal because it was so close to home.
      With Love,
      Al & Scary

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  10. This is so beautiful!!! Will you be sharing more about the lace shrug? I love it!

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    1. It is pretty simple but we will probably share it in the coming month as a free pattern.

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  11. I love the tucks on the bodice and the soft skirt layer. Ty is such a beautiful little lady.

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  12. This is my favorite of your creations!

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