The right dress can mean the difference between winning and losing a beauty pageant. With pageant costs becoming more and more expensive, and cupcake pageant dresses sometimes costing upwards of $1,000, a reasonable way to help control costs is to make your own cupcake dress for your child's pageant. While this is one of the most challenging pageant dress designs to make, careful planning and attention to detail can help make your experience enjoyable, memorable and even provide some bonding time for you and your pageant-contestant child.
Things You'll Need
- Thin, bendable wire
- Craft beads, rhinestones or sequins
- Sewing machine
- Cupcake dress pattern
Purchase a cupcake pageant dress pattern from a specialty store or online pageant pattern retailer. It is unlikely that your local craft or fabric store will carry patterns for such a specific type of pageant dress. Most online stores that sell cupcake pageant dress patterns provide an example of what the finished dress will look like, so choose your pattern based on which completed product you most prefer. There are many websites that sell the patterns, including My Pageant Kid, a site that focuses specifically on cupcake dresses.
Visit your local fabric and craft store to select the material for your cupcake pageant dress. Because cupcake dresses are featured mostly in "glitz" pageants (where children are permitted to use makeup, hair pieces and elaborate costumes) and not "natural" pageants, luxurious fabrics are required. Choose a color theme and stick to it. Two types of fabric are necessary: one for the bodice of the dress, and one for the cupcake skirt. The fabric for the bodice should be heavy, such as satin, velvet or taffeta. The fabric for the skirt should be lighter, such as tulle, organza or chiffon. Colors of both fabrics should be in the same family, such as a darker pink for the bodice and a light pink for the skirt.
Purchase a significant amount of beading, rhinestones or sequins to add to the cupcake dress's bodice in whatever formation your pattern calls for. Embellishments are an intrinsic part of a cupcake dress, so make sure you are prepared to spend a great deal of time sewing each one on individually. Embellishment formations often feature flowers, royal patterns or other detailed designs. At the same time, purchase thin, bendable wire to funnel through the edge of the cupcake skirt and create the wavy, molded look that is a cupcake dress's signature style.
Cut out each piece of your cupcake dress pattern. Lay out the fabric upside down on a flat surface, ironing it if necessary to remove any trace of wrinkle. Place the cut pieces of the pattern atop the underside of the fabric. Carefully cut out the fabric around the shape of each pattern piece. Sew each piece together as instructed by the particular pattern you chose. Keep your pageant child close--numerous fittings will be required. Cupcake dresses feature skin-tight bodices that you may need to take in if your child does not conform to the exact measurements on the pattern. Weave the wire through the edges of the cupcake skirt as instructed by the pattern while your child is modeling it. Bend the wire as you go to create the skirt's waves.
Sew your beading or embellishments of choice onto the bodice. This must be done by hand to ensure security of the beads; you can only do it after the sewing and fitting of the dress is complete. The best way to complete the beading is to look closely at the pattern you are following and sew each bead on slowly by hand. This will take more time but will enhance the quality of your cupcake dress. Alternatively, if you have chosen rhinestones or sequins as your embellishments, a faster approach would be to hot-glue gun them to the bodice. Have your child try on the dress once again to make sure none of the embellishments pop off once she is wearing it.