sewing · teen · tween

The grade six graduation dress

It’s been a big year for our family (although I suspect that I say that every year).  Stella finished primary school last week, and one of the final events of the year was the grade six graduation evening.  Which of course required a special mummy-made dress!

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

Stella chose the George and Ginger Starstruck bodice, with the high-low skirt from the Mix It Up dress.   I was dubious about it at first, but in the fabric and colourway that Stella chose it was just perfect for her!  At twelve years old, it can be difficult to land on styles that are age-appropriate, fit nicely, and fulfill the vision in a tween’s head.  In the end this dress ticked all the boxes.

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

From the pattern website: The Star Struck is an add-on bodice to our best-selling Mix It Up pattern–it works with all of the fabulous skirts in the MIU!  This fitted, push-up bodice features a star-cage style and a flattering waistband.  Leave off the cross straps for a completely different look…or add lace or trim for unique detailing!  No matter how you sew it, it’s a stunner! This pattern DOES include one simple peplum skirt to make it a stand alone design.  But feel free to try it out with all of the skirt options in the Mix It Up–or get creative and add your own skirt! Suggested fabric for this pattern is a stable knit with at least 50% stretch.


That part about the fabric stretch percentage recommendation is very important – you may remember an earlier blog post of mine where I wrote about salvaging a skirt from a failed dress due to incorrect stretch percentage!  This time we chose a very stretchy performance knit from Spotlight as the main fabric.  It worked beautifully.

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

As designed, the area at the bottom point of the star in the centre of the bodice is left open.  This results in a dress that exposes quite a bit of cleavage – which looks great on all the adults I’ve seen in this dress, but isn’t so suitable for a twelve year old!  And there was no way that she was interested in wearing it that way either.  We filled in the centre point with a simple triangular shaped insert sewn behind it.

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

The bodice is all double layered, including the midriff section. This means that the seams are all enclosed and it’s comfortable to wear. I sewed the contrasting scraps in a viscose/spandex knit that I had somewhere in my stash. I tried the bodice on to get the strap length right before I sewed them in place, but as it turned out they did stretch out a bit during the evening (with lots of vigorous dancing in the disco they had after the graduation dinner). No wardrobe malfunctions, but I’ll need to shorten them a little more. The straps are four layers and are cut against the direction of stretch, so would generally be quite stable, but this fabric has a bit more spandex in it so they had more give.

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

We really like the shape of the back neckline too! The whole dress is in tween size 12 for Stella. I made the high-low skirt four inches longer than the pattern piece, which was really for a peplum. There are no seams in the skirt, and the hem was left raw, which works for this fabric. Much of the construction was on the sewing machine, with the overlocker used just for side seams and for attaching the skirt to the bodice.  The instructions for sewing this bodice are very clear and easy to follow, and there’s also a tutorial on Youtube.

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

Of course, the name Stella means ‘star’ – so the star shape on the bodice really was perfect for Stella! We also discovered at the graduation ceremony that Stella hopes to be an actor or a singer or a dancer one day – so it’s very appropriate in that way too. As it happens, Stella is quite talented in those areas (her singing voice has developed beautifully) so who knows what she will end up doing one day!

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

We’re so proud of our girl – she’s such a unique character, with so much love, empathy and kindness in her. Her smile really does light up a room. Here’s to the end of primary school, and to a wonderful time in secondary school next year!

George and Ginger Starstruck dress

9 thoughts on “The grade six graduation dress

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