For Halloween, she Trick-or-Treated as the Little Mermaid in a costume Grandma made just for her, so it was no surprise she wanted to celebrate her birthday as Princess Ariel in her very own custom made gown.
I had a couple of princess gown patterns, so I pulled those out to see what might work best. Some quick research on the internet and I had a good visual reference for making the perfect Ariel gown. I quickly realized that although there are several little girl princess gown patterns available, none of them quite matched Ariel’s gown.
I decided McCall’s M6420 sewing pattern was closest to the gown style I was looking for, but I needed to make some alterations in order for it to match Ariel’s gown style. Ariel’s dress required a round neck line without an inset or corseted upper bodice.
Simplicity pattern 2065 Tangled gown had the upper bodice neckline similar to what I was looking but it still had an inset. Luckily I was able to use the upper bodice front and back lining pieces from that pattern since those pieces did not have the inset.
Using my granddaughter’s measurements, I adjusted the pattern pieces and cut my muslin for the upper bodice and sleeves. Once I had that complete, we did a quick fitting. Fortunately, I only needed to make minor adjustments to the upper body section of the gown.
NOTE: It’s important when making any custom garment to take accurate measurements of the recipient to ensure a proper fit. I always make a muslin first to check the fit. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but it is well worth it in the end.
The sleeve caps in my reference image showed contrasting insets. I was able to simulate the look by drafting a pattern piece I then used to make those sleeve sections.
The only other alteration I made was lengthening the gathered overskirt to match Ariel’s gown style. That was easily done by adding a few inches to the overskirt pattern piece.
After constructing the actual gown bodice, we did another fitting and checked measurements for the skirt and bustle length. Once I had my measurements, I cut and constructed the underskirt (lining), the skirt and bustle.
I chose Pongee for the gown lining and underskirt and added lace trim to the underskirt. The gown was constructed in two colors of pink satin and trimmed with a simulated pearl beading at the neckline and waist. The bustle/bow was detachable. I also made a flower bow from teal satin to match the one Ariel wore in her hair.
Princess Ariel Gown Photo Gallery
My advice to anyone making a custom garment such as a gown is to take your time and pay attention to detail. I am not the most patient seamstress and usually like to work on projects that can be completed more quickly. By allowing myself ample time, I was able to break this project up into shorter work sessions, so I didn’t get tired or frustrated (which in my case usually leads to a careless mistake).
Happily, in the end, our Princess Ariel gown was a perfect fit and ready in plenty of time for the big day. Our little Princess loved wearing her special gown on her very special day!