Create a show-stopping pageant dress from left-over dress up clothes.
As a mom, you want your toddler to look her best, but the average pageant dress costs between $200 and $1000 (See References 1 and 3). Is the idea of a pageant mom on a budget a paradox? Not with some ingenuity and thrifty creativity! You can create a stunning pageant dress by transforming cast-off dress-up clothes. Before choosing your materials, check with the costume guidelines of your local pageant and consider whether your toddler's event is a natural or glitz pageant. With a few simple alterations and embellishments, you’ll convert her dress from cartoon princess to beauty queen.
1If you want your toddler to catch that judge’s eyes, consider adding rhinestones or embroidery appliqués to the bodice and base of the gown. Before using iron-on embroidery patches, take into account the type of fabric. If you buy rhinestones or crystal appliqués, select from the sew-on style or flat-back for gluing. Test a small section of the fabric on the under-side of the material first to ensure that your selected method of attachment will adhere properly.
2Who can afford a custom-made $8,000 gown multiple times a year -- especially when toddlers seem to grow into a new size every time you blink? To create the illusion and fit of a custom-tailored dress for your child, cinch the back of the bodice with a decorative corset. Use ornamental ribbon or piping in the same color as the dress to fashion four or five loopholes down each side of the back of the bodice. Thread a thick ribbon through the loops and tighten the dress to the desired fit. If you'd rather avoid making changes to the back of her bodice, try the effect of adding a 2- to 3-inch-thick sash in an alternating color. Sew on a few rhinestones, flowers or appliques to match the bodice decoration.
3If your toddler is participating in a glitz pageant, add glamor to the skirt of the gown with a layer of translucent organza over the skirt. To create more drama, gather up the organza overlay slightly off-center at about hip height. For another option, add tiered layers of iridescent organza. If the dress-up is too short for your daughter's event, attach a two-inch layer of pleated or ruffled fabric peaking out behind the bottom of her skirt.
4Elevate your toddler's dress to a dramatic silhouette with a hoop skirt or puffy tulle slip. For full skirts with ample fabric, add a classic hoop skirt underneath. If the dress has less fabric, sew extra layers of tulle underneath the skirt or invest in a crinoline petticoat. Have your child practice walking and sitting with the full skirt to make sure she can still move gracefully.