As things tend to when I’m not paying attention (which is almost always, apparently) a significant date has crept up on me. In particular, Fyon, my five-year-old niece, has her sixth birthday in a week. An auntie-stitched project of some sort is practically de rigeur, of course, but in the past the sheer physical distance meant that delivery dates were, well, flexible. Sometimes six months late flexible. Not so much when we’re spitting distance away.
Happily, it didn’t take much for me to pick a pattern: Butterick 3666*, a darling little sailor dress in the right size that I already know Fyon adores (because a favourite game these days is paging through the pattern listings on Auntie’s phone). Best of all, since we’re currently in the depths of the Canadian winter here, it has SLEEVES. A little more thinking, and a wee bit of fabric enabling, and I had acquired an eyelet cotton for an overlayer and a solid navy underlayer, which will look smashing, I think. Unless I decide to go white-on-white.
But, as I traced off the (uncut!) pattern, some troubling features became apparent. The dress has, um, some very vintage details. Like a side placket that closes with hook and eyes, and a little dickie in the front that snaps open and closed. It brings to mind fond childhood memories of the sailor dresses in my Grandma’s tickle trunk, which originally belonged to my mother and her sister. It also reminds me of how damn annoying those little snaps were, always popping open at inopportune moments and never looking quite as tidy as they ought.
I’ve been wracking my brain, though, and I can’t come up with a way to adjust the closures that won’t require major pattern surgery. A back opening doesn’t work with the sailor collar, and a front opening would be a fairly major design change. I don’t want to make the collar removable, either, because that’s just as fiddly. If it were a dress for me, I’d probably go with the “vintage details” just for the fun of it, but the last thing I want to make my niece is a dress that’s annoying to wear. And I don’t trust that the head opening will be large enough if I sew the dickie in place, although obviously I can sub in a zipper at the side seam.
Anybody with better 3D reasoning than me (or just more experience with sailor collars) have any ideas?
*Also, for the avid readers, a part of Carol Evans’ Wardrobe.