children's clothing · family · kids clothing · sewing

Grade 6 Graduation Dress

Tomorrow is Clare’s last day of Primary School.  Seven years – where did that go!  Last night was their Graduation Ceremony.  The kids met at school at 5pm then walked to the local Italian Club (where they have spent many cultural and sports days over their time at primary school) and had dinner with the teachers and support staff.  By 7pm they were back at school, as were many of their families and friends, for the formal part of the evening.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

The children all looked wonderful – almost all of them dressed up, including the boys. They each gave a speech about their time at school, sharing memories and thankyous. Each received a certificate and their school report, then they all sang a song together and presented five short plays before the principal spoke to conclude the evening.  Clare received a special certificate that especially commemorated her “Love of Learning” – she was thrilled.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

It was a special celebration – but I didn’t cry! The kids are so ready for high school, and it was very touching to hear their appreciation of their time at primary school but also their anticipation as they stride into the future.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

And unsurprisingly, there was a fair bit of focus on the graduation dress leading up to the event! Clare and I decided on the Figgy’s Scirocco dress some time ago, and when I spotted this floral Alannah Hill silk at Clear It one day I knew it was a perfect match.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

Choosing appropriate styles for Clare can be a real challenge. She is almost twelve years old now, but is still very tiny as compared to her peers and hasn’t yet hit puberty. Some of us are late starters! She wants to look pretty and age-appropriate despite her stature, and I really think that this dress hit that sweet spot exactly. The pattern was size 8/9. After trying it on we added an extra flounce to the bottom. It is still above the knee, but not absurdly short. This was easy to do – I just cut another of the lower flounce and attachment pieces. The back twist was a bigger problem.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

I had noticed in images online that the fit around the back can be difficult. We drew up the back elastic quite a lot to make the skirt fit at the waist, and then I unpicked the already sewn centre twist, folded the narrow ends of the triangle in another inch each, retwisted, then hand-stitched them together again. This made the back about two inches narrower than drafted, and it then sat nicely. The bodice is fully self lined, and I didn’t make a muslin first, but the alterations were just as easy to do after the fact. It also eliminated the bagging of the back where it joins the skirt waistline that I had seen in lots of photos.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

We found the narrow lace for the front trim in my stash. Clare spent many hours on YouTube learning how to do her hair, and did the fancy braid herself. Impressive! I suspect that there may have even been a light application of eyeshadow and lip gloss. Stella found the china rose earrings in a drawer on the weekend and they matched the outfit perfectly. I think that I bought them at Royal Doulton when I was in England 25 years ago.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk
Congratulations to my special big girl as you move on to the next exciting chapter in the book of your life. We are incredibly proud of you, and love you more than we could possibly say. It is such a pleasure to watch you growing up into such a wonderful young woman.

mother and daughter - grade 6 graduation
(And now that I type this, the tears are flowing after all!)

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29 thoughts on “Grade 6 Graduation Dress

  1. What a beautiful young lady she is Lara – a credit to her parents. while always impressed with your sewing skills I am super-impressed that she did that braid by herself!! She looks beautiful and the dress is perfect. xx

  2. Wow they are young going to High School in Australia. Here in New Zealand we finish full primary at somewhere between 12 1/2 and 13 1/2. My daughter was the latter and we still struggled with dresses. By this age most of the girls could wear womens clothing except my small daughter. It was a real mission.

    You have made a lovely job of Clare’s dress and her hair! I really love the back detail on the dress.

    My 11 year old has another two years to wait but with two older siblings one of whom has just graduated from high school, he is counting down!

  3. Congratulations, Clare! You did a great job on your hair. I hope you will keep your “Love of learning” for the rest of your life. There’s always new things to learn, and it keeps life interesting even when you are really old like me!

  4. Tell Claire that she looks beautiful. I can’t believe she did the hair by herself she’s so talented and it looks fantastic. I love the dress as well, the flounces and the back detail, perfect.

  5. Hello – I found your blog whilst searching for tips on sewing up the Scirocco dress. I just wanted to say a big thank you for explaining how you avoided the gaping back… I went ahead and followed your directions when first sewing it together and it fits perfectly! Yippee! Thanks again.

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