As the Background Dress of Doom nears completion, I've started to set my sights on the next VoNBBS project: the Little Girl's Party Dress. Obviously, this project is the anomalous one in the book - it's the only one not intended for the reader to make for herself. But that's not the thing that I find challenging about this project. Here's the big hurdle I anticipate: I find myself somewhat confounded on how to go about choosing a fabric and trims for this project. It's quite a different beast from deciding how to style these projects for myself, you see. And so I turn to you, dear readers.
Okay, here's the pattern. The VoNBBS version is the Peter Pan collar variation, not the unfortunately named Bertha collar version.
As for fabric recommendations, VoNBBS suggests a starched dotted swiss for a party dress, or alternately gingham for a school dress or silk taffeta for Sunday School.
Now, the size I have is supposedly for an 8-year-old (or a 26" chest). I don't know a lot about what the kids are wearing these days, but am I right in thinking it's not starched, puffed-sleeve party dresses? Especially for 8-year-olds, right?
Given this conundrum, my interest was especially piqued during Project Runway's "A Little Bit of Fashion" episode this latest season, in which the designers created looks for some adorable little ladies, and then corresponding designs for their regular models. Seth Aaron was the winner, with the punk-inspired look above. A dad himself, Seth Aaron seemed especially in touch with what little girls wanted - fun, comfy clothes with just a little bit of an edge. In other words, NOT this look from Emilio who went with a more traditional silhouette, which this poor little cutie is just swimming in. According to the judges, this was just all kinds of wrong.
I think my 8-year-old self probably would have been psyched by the princess-y nature of this dress, fit issues aside. But what do I know of the modern little girl? Times have, in all likelihood, changed.
So what do little girls really want? The only thing that seems fairly clear to me is that little girls want PURSES. They can't get enough of them. When Seth Aaron's little model was asked what she liked most about her outfit, she replied firmly: "the purse." Likewise, I had a bit of a bag obsession as a youngster that my father loves to remind me about: apparently I had a habit of walking around proudly with my handbag, asking everyone who'd listen, "Wanna see what's in my purse?" So purses seem quite enduring for the little girl set. (I don't care to know what Freud would make of all this.)
But back to the VoNBBS dress. So what do you all think? Is this pattern hopelessly outdated for an 8-year-old? Is the idea of "retro" lost on an 8-year-old? Should I try to give it a bit more of a modern edge with fabric choices - and if so, what? Or should I go traditional and make this a frilly, frothy cupcake of a dress?
As for what to do with said dress? I'll admit I have a soft spot for this project for one personal little reason: I want to have a baby (singular intended) in the near(ish) future, and just between the 1,064 of us, I'd be especially psyched if it were a girl. Name's picked out and everything. (And yes, I know I'm 31 and I need to get cracking. Shut up, biological clock. I have things I need to sew!) So of course part of me is tempted to squirrel this dress away for the hoped-for wee lass in the future. But some of you lovely commenters gave me the idea to auction it off for charity, which I think would be a wonderful thing if there are actually people out there who will bid on this. So please let me know if you think there will be interest in that sort of thing and I'll start looking for an appropriate children's charity to donate to. Thanks, lovely readers!