Prezzies (2)

Simplicity 1149

More fun, although considerably more time-intensive than Style 2304, was Simplicity 1149. This is probably in the running for cutest little pattern ever. I was a little concerned about the width vs. length ratio, and obviously that kind of horizontal skirt poof isn’t going to happen without intense crinolining of a type I’m not keen to subject my nieces to, but I’m hopeful the sheer cuteness will make up for it.

Damn, this is cute.

Dress & Bolero

My older niece, Fyon (who is five), loves having dresses that match mine (well, loves it more than my kids do, anyway), so I thought I would use up the rest of my navy seersucker from the Cambie on a dress for her. I looked through my patterns for something close in style to the Cambie, but the closest I could find was actually the dress I made her last year, and I didn’t want to re-use a pattern where there are so many other crazy fun ones to try. So, Simplicity 1149. And I thought this navy cotton (cotton poly?) with the little white flowers would be the perfect complementary fabric. It originally came from my Grandmother’s stash, and Tyo had sorta earmarked it to make boxers out of, but hopefully she’s forgiven me for putting it to a more immediate use. I used it for the sash, the lining of the little jacket, and, most importantly, the ruffle ornament.


There are two kinds of “ruffle” on this dress, both of which were pleated using the ruffler that came with my Pfaff, attached to my singer Featherweight. I have three ruffler feet now, but one only works with the army machine (which is put away and not really reliable) and the other works with the quick-snap foot on my modern machine, and has driven my absolutely fucking nuts in the past.*  I set it to pleat (gathering every five stitches, rather than with every stitch) although really there are plenty of places where it screwed that up. It looks fine, though—half the battle with ruffles is not to sweat the small stuff, in my opinion.

Anyway, for the skirt ruffle, I ripped on-grain strips, stitched them all together, and finished the edges with the rolled hemmer. For the edging, I pressed the strips in half lengthwise and basted down the open edge—I find if you don’t baste it closed, the ruffler tries to ruffle just the top layer and Bad Things Happen.

A very blurry attempt at a closeup. 😦 Showing edge-pleats and back buttons and bow.

Syo was eerily enthused when she came home after a quick mom-free vacation and discovered this little thing lying around the house. The first thing she had to do was try it on. (I’ll remind you that Syo just turned nine, while the pattern alleges itself to be a “size 5”.) It’s absolutely not the sort of thing she would be willing to wear in public—but some latent toddler in her just couldn’t resist trying it on to twirl around the house. It’s SNUG—she has to exhale a bit to get the waist button closed (These fifties pattern that assume that children have waists. Pfft.) But it’s still on her.

You cannot resist the Cute. You will be assimilated.

The skirt is obviously very short on my nine-year-old. Fortunately Fyon is a little narrower than Syo, and significantly shorter, so I’m thinking the fit should be great.

I finished the skirt hem with the last of my 2″ horsehair braid (actually, I was about 2″ short, and had to patch in a little section of hem with bits of 1″ horsehair braid. It is Not Pretty, but it’s all covered by fabric now and doesn’t seem to show. And combined with the double-tiered lining I added (made of stiff cotton-poly blend broadcloth) it really had a surprising amount of loft.

Bringing out the Inner Ballerina

We are so cute

Back view

Yes Yes We are.

Oh, wait. What. You’re still reading? Sorry, I kind of succumbed to The Cute there for a minute. Insidious stuff, that. Sorry for the grainy photos—this was the best light we could find in the five minutes we had before I went off to work that morning, and the camera did not like it.

Back, with buttons

Here, have a quick closeup of the back buttons (buttonholes made using my Greist buttonholer, ). I guess I shoulda taken a photo without the sash tied, too. /sigh.

but sooooo cute…

*possibly because there’s just too much vibration and movement on the light-weight, modern plastic machine, but anyway, I don’t trust it and didn’t feel like taking the time to experiment, when I have a perfectly good Pfaff ruffler foot anyway.


Filed under Sewing

26 responses to “Prezzies (2)

  1. You are indeed right – overdoses of cute! But that’s ok, just what’s needed on a Monday morning. I’m sure your niece will love it.

  2. I love that fabric. On your Cambie even more so.
    So cute but why not? There is a small cutesy window.
    And the bolero! Too much! Great job.

    • It is small… and you don’t realize that until they are suddenly past it. /sigh. Unfortunately the collar on the bolero doesn’t lay very well… we’ll have to see how it works on my little niece.

  3. Shams

    So so so cute!!! And what a fabulous auntie you are!!!

  4. Cuckoo Chanel

    Oodles of cuteness!!! Love it all.

  5. Felicity would ADORE that dress! In fact, I have a couple of 50’s patterns that she’s been needling me to make. I think your nieces are lucky lucky, for sure.

    Also, I think your nine year old is about as waifish in the legs as Simon. Felicity is starting to take after me, though still thin.

    • LOL! You should get on it, then ;). Syo would never wear this out of the house… it’s so funny to watch her sense of “fashionable” war with her sense of “gee that would be fun to wear!”

      Her legs do look skinny in the photos… in real life they’re kind of average, I’d say. She was complaining the other day that her best friend (who *is* one of those twiggy children)’s legs are much skinnier than hers. /sigh. Cue conversation about how everyone’s body is different and that’s just fine…

      • Yeah, I’ll totally whip up a bunch of outfits in all that spare time I have. I can’t even get anything for ME done! LOL

        Don’t get me started on the body image rant. I would recommend “The Photoshop Effect” for one, as it shows just how much they alter images. And as for Felicity I’ve pointed out that she’s very muscular and muscles are good.

  6. Bri

    Oh my goodness, this dress is amazing! I think my friend should make this for her daughter!
    Syo is so cute with her poses, grainy photos can’t hide that.
    Ruffler feet sound like a nightmare every time I read about someone attempting to use them, I think I’ll just stay away…

    • Thanks! I really love the pattern… I’d still like to do the scalloped version 🙂

      Ruffler feet have their uses—particularly when you just want miles of ruffly trim like this. And when they work, they make it so easy… (My first ruffler-foot experiences were on a vintage foot & vintage machine, and it was virtually painless. Trying to get the modern foot to work on my modern machine was a nightmare.)

  7. so cute! love the details.

  8. That is so cute. You have made it beautifully. I love the patterned ruffles

  9. No girl can resist a twirly skirt 🙂

  10. What a pretty pretty dress! I love all the little details – they make the dress special.

  11. This dress is adorable and your little niece is going to L.O.V.E. it! And *yay* for stashbusting! I think *I* need some little nieces to sew for to use up all of my scraps…. 😛

    • Yeah, I have been pretty lucky in the little-girls department. Sometimes I think I should start an etsy store, or just donate somewhere, just to sew up the cute little things that I’d like to make but don’t have anyone to make them for…

  12. I have always read about ruffler feet on other sewing blogs, but never really had any idea of how they work until now. Sounds fascinating, but also potentially heartbreaking if they don’t work well. Do you think it’s worth buying?

    Syo makes an adorable ballerina! You’ve got lucky nieces, that’s for sure!

    • The only one I’ve bought new was a generic brand—it was about $30, half of what the brand-name would’ve cost (and would probably be even cheaper than that in the States). It seems relatively well-made, but using it on my Janome has been a nightmare—I couldn’t get the pleating to work at all (only gathering) and the needle would fall out and all kinds of crazy horror. I have to try it on one of the vintage machines, because I think at least some of the problem is that the lighter plastic machine vibrates and shimmies too much.

      Basically there are two settings on the ruffler feet I’ve seen: one for the amount of gathering (usually a screw) and one for how often it will gather (every stitch gives a gathered look, every few stitches gives a pleated look.)

      As to whether they’re worth it—I’d say it depends entirely on what you want to make. For things involving loads and loads of gathering that you’d like to be even, they’re pretty much awesome. That includes ruffles like this, and also things like tiered skirts and petticoats. They’re best when you’re gathering rectangular lengths and can cut it to your desired length after, since getting the gathering ratio perfect is pretty difficult. Because the gather is stitched in, you don’t need to worry about getting it even, but it’s also not easy to adjust after the fact. Hmm, maybe I should do a gathering foot post…

  13. Resistance IS futile! Wow, that is one cute dress. What great details it has for a little girl – ruffles, a bow, pretty buttons…

  14. ZOMG sooo CUTE!!!! damn, i might need one!!

  15. well hello pretty ballerina! is the graceful girl in class yet? think of all the tutus you could make…..

  16. Oh my gorgeous wee girl in her cute cute cute dress. I hope she wears the hell out of it and twirls and spins and all that ballet stuff to make you zone out in cute-land often. Its great too to see those lovely vintage kiddo patterns in use.

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