Tag Archives: kids’ clothes

Carol Evans’ Wardrobe

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Moving stress + running errands our last day in Cow Town + 50% off sale at Value Village facilitated a bit of a splurge on vintage children’s patterns, I fear. How can you resist a bit of retail therapy for a quarter apiece?

The patterns range in size from 4 to 6X, and all seem to have been intended for wear by a girl named Carol Evans, who I presume was a vampire trapped eternally in a child’s body, since the patterns range in vintage from 50s through 70s. Or they might have been collected more recently by a mom-stitcher with a thing for vintage patterns, not unlike myself. But really, I think it’s the vampire thing.

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This fifties housecoat just may be the child’s version of this pattern, which Peter and Cathy rehabilitated so stunningly into an “Opera Coat.” I’m going to assume that our little vampire was at least as capable of turning something so drab and basic into something luxe and glamorous as Cathy is.

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This might just be the quintessential fifties little girl dress. According to this website, it’s from 1954, as is the preceding housecoat. Also, I love the little capelet. Every vampire (child) needs a capelet. Not to mention plenty of variations on a dress, for when she gets blood on it. Also, those of you who did time in Vampire: The Masquerade, dig the black satin version with the rose.

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Something about the white version of this sweet little sailor dress just makes me squee. Presumably this had a similar effect on Carol Evans. Or possibly she ran away to sea to hide her lack of aging. You have to keep moving when you’re a vampire child.

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Doesn’t this one looked sophisticated? I want to say very Jackie O, but I wasn’t around back then to observe and haven’t really researched, so you can correct me if necessary. Or maybe it’s Chanel. Doesn’t that little jacket need to be made of boucle, with a quilted lining and chain in the hem? Poor Carol has been size six for at least a decade, after all—she has to be feeling more grown-up inside than out. This is just the dress for when she wants to look like a miniature (and very chic) adult

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These two McCall’s patterns fascinate me, not so much for their contents as their style. I had instantly pegged the dress as sixties (based on the illustration style, the dress itself is such a classic I think with minor hem-length variations it would look at home in any decade since 1900. Possibly 1850.) The pants wardrobe, on the other hand, I had pegged as classic 70s. The fashions, the art, the bell-bottoms, the gingham. Then I checked the dates on both patterns. The 60s one is indeed earlier—1968. But the “70s” pattern is 1969. I kind of feel like I’ve captured the cusp of a decade in pattern form—a snapshot of the transition from one style regime to another. Especially since both are by the same company. As for Carol, well, they both obviously cater to her need to appear childlike and innocent to manipulate the adult humans around her. Can’t have anyone suspecting, after all.

The patterns go on (It appears later in the 70s Carol headed somewhere chilly and needed some serious winter gear) but I think I’ll leave it at that. Speculation on the life of Carol the vampire child welcome in the comments! ūüėČ

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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.

Ruffles!

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. ūüė¶ 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.

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Prezzies (1)

Tiny sundresses

I confess: I finished up my Last Sundress, and what did I do?

Turned around and made two more.

At least these ones aren’t for me—they’re for my little nieces. And they give me a chance to use some of the really insanely cute vintage kids’ patterns I’ve picked up, that my kids are just not going to go for.

Style 2304

Let’s start with Style 2304, which is intended for my younger niece. Is that not the epitome of 70s-kid-cute?

So I was a little worried about starting with a regular size 4 pattern; this is the Waif we’re talking about, who is four but probably still newborn in width. I decided, upon cutting it out, that it was way too wide, and shaved a couple of inches off by adding a pleat at CF and taking a bit off at the back. Because the yoke was now narrower, I narrowed the straps by a similar amount. So the look is a bit different—longer relative to its width, and more delicate—than I think I was really going for. And I didn’t want to shorten the length because I know my stylish sister-in-law doesn’t really like how short a lot of the vintage kids patterns are, but combined with the narrowed-ness and the ruffles, I kinda feel like it looks a bit more little-house-on-the-prairie than I had intended. Not quite my favourite look. I suppose I can always shorten it later if desired.

Buttons

I went with buttons in the back. I had three not-exactly-matching red buttons fished out from the random button stash, but when I went to stitch them on the plastic between the the holes of one was, ah, missing. Meaning the thread fell straight through. Not exactly a useful button to hold on to, button stasher. So now I’m a button short; I’ll have to go through and see what else I can come up with.

I must admit, I kind of broke my brain adding the piping and the little ruffle sleevelets on this one. In the end I resorted to finishing the inside of the armscye by hand.

I like that the amount of gathering under the yoke is really minimal (even with me lopping a couple of inches off the yoke and leaving the skirt piece the same.).

And I think that is about as much as I have to say about that dress. Under the fine old academic principle of the Minimum Publishable Unit, I’ll tell you about the even-cuter Simplicity 1149… next time!

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Next Size Up II

Jeans. She has them.

Tyo’s replacement capris are finished. Or is that Bermudas? My shorts terminology is lacking. Can I blame being Canadian? The Patrones magazine calls them “pirata,” which I think is totally awesome.

They are pretty standard jeans-styled capris, with a few additional details.

Rear view

Funky, asymmetrical pockets are part of the original pattern (I left off the flaps this time. Not even for lack of fabric—I made them, but didn’t put them on. I don’t really like their shape.) I should’ve piped the pocket edges, although getting the piping crisp around all those corners would not have been fun. As it is, you can barely see the pockets are there. Hmm. I do like the piped yoke—I should’ve piped the waistband, too.

I had better not dwell on the missed piping opportunities. That way lies madness. I added one of those weird, pointless straps between back pocket and side-seam, at Tyo’s request.

I’m too cool.

And then managed to photograph her only from the other side.

Luv

Damn she is cool.

I love who I am.

Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be discussing construction, not just posting pictures of my cool kid.

Inside front—pockets, fly construction, buttonhole elastic, bound-edge waistband.

My fly interiors are not generally things of great beauty, and this one isn’t, either, although it’s one of my better ones. I won’t get into how many needles I broke as soon as I started trying to do zig-zags—bar tacks, buttonholes, attaching the belt loops. There was much howling and unpcking. I HATE unpicking bar-tacks. It got better when I ran out of topstitching thread and just used regular blue thread. I may do that for all bar tacks/dense zig-zags in the future. The buttonhole elastics emerge from gaps in the seams where I had to piece the waistband.

Drawstrings

I added buttonholes on the outside before stitching the hems, to run the drawstrings (aka shoelaces) through. Back when I made the first pair of camo capris, I bought a metre or so of narrow black twill-tape for the drawstrings. I couldn’t find it when I finished that project, so wound up using shoe-laces instead. It’s kicked around on and off since then, (notably being used in this project) but again today I couldn’t find it. I did, however, find more shoelaces. (And I can never, ever find shoelaces when my shoes need them…)

Front closeup

Can you see that I screwed up the cutting played with the grain on the front pockets? No? Maybe just as well.

Pattern alterations.

Remember my pattern alterations?

Back view

Ok, here’s how they wound up looking. (If you can see through the print, which you probably can’t.) Rear rise is good—not any too high, could probably have gone a little higher, but coverage is maintained even when she squats down. Yay! Yoke curve-in is good but could’ve been more extreme—there’s still plenty of extra ease at the waistband that isn’t there at the hips. There is still some slight wedgification happening—not enough to be uncomfortable (yet) but I can tell that the crotch curve is not perfect for her. Presumably scooping is in order? I’m really not sufficiently enamoured of this pattern to bother, but Tyo may be, in which case I’ll keep it in mind if we end up at Pair #3.

Whew!

Ok, I’m done. And apologies to Claire for not doing a full-camo photo shoot with the vest. We snapped these pictures in about five minutes just before bedtime.

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Second verse, same as the first!

A little bit louder and a little bit worse!

I’m about 95% sure I’ve used that as a post title before.

Yet it works, so very, very well.

Tyo’s fishing vest is finished. I was able to avoid some of my mistakes from the first time around, and instead make a whole new crop. I’d say overall, I did not improve significantly. Although I think all the practice with cargo pockets has helped some in that department. And some of the mistakes were the ones I have to make in order to learn why X shortcut was a bad idea. Yes, I tend to have to learn things the hard way. Especially with sewing.

Whaddaya lookin’ at?

The details are all the same as this post, the only difference being I had snaps and D-rings this time, so there are two snaps and a D-ring at the nape of the neck, which is apparently a handy place to hang your little fishing net from. To fit Syo I graded the basic vest pieces up, increasing width by about 4 cm around and length by about 1 cm. I interfaced all the vest body, instead of just the back yoke, this time, which will hopefully add to the vest’s sturdiness (it’s a very lightweight denim), but necessitated some extra pocket linings that I forgot to incorporate properly and had to engineer into place rather late in the construction process. Oops.

Back view

Here’s the only shot you can see the D-ring at the back of the neck.

My girl.

Here’s some random poses.

This one was supposed to show the pockets better.

I’m really far too bored by this whole project to go into the annoying details. If you have something specific you’re dying to know, feel free to ask in the comments and I promise I’ll answer.

And now, on to bigger, better things! (and a fly fishing rod case. Ulp.)

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A dress for the boredom

A dress for roasting marshmallows

My kids have been done school for just over a week, although they’ve only really been home for the last two days, since we went Home for Canada Day (July 1, just for reference). Nonetheless, last night Tyo was moping around as only a near-teenager can. “Dad and Syo are out fishing, Grandpa’s watching TV, and you’re sewing! There’s nothing to do!”

This is actually wonderful.

“So, does this mean you don’t want to be homeschooled after all?”

Since the main thing coming out of her mouth for the last three months  of school has been requests to be homeschooled.

“NO! I don’t get to see any of my friends!”

Somewhere, choirs of angels broke into hallelujah chorus.

Anyway, it appeared that the only thing that could possibly alleviate boredom at eight o’clock on a Friday night was sewing with me, or rather, me sewing while she sang me her most recent song.

Front view

The fabric she selected was one of the slinky knits that I can’t seem to resist. I love buying them. I love wearing them. I just don’t. love. sewing. them. This particular knit threw itself at me on the Fabricland Canada Day sale (which took place several days early) when even the clearance racks were fifty percent off. I have a hard time resisting $1.50/m fabric. Fortunately, I bought three metres, so even with this dress for her, there’s still plenty left over.

ANYWAY.

Obligatory racerback shot

For the pattern, we just used the ubiquitous racerback tank pattern, Y1201 from Young Image Magazine (which was a dress pattern, originally). I added what I thought would be enough length to take it to her knees, and a bit of width over the hips because, well, Tyo, and more-or-less happily went to work.

Now, the four previous times I’ve made this pattern, I’ve used a rib-knit. What I hadn’t really grasped on was how much rib knits grow. I mean, my brain knows it, but I didn’t really understand it. This was an easy-fitting tank when stitched in a rib-knit—close fitted but not exactly skintight.

In this slinky knit it’s, ah, pretty tight. Note to self. Also, next time add more to the butt. Tyo is not one of those children who can wear a skirt whose back and front are cut the same.

Because I don’t trust these slinky knits as far as I can stretch them (which is pretty far, actually), I used clear elastic inside the binding on the neck and arm-holes. I didn’t stretch it quite enough on the neck, which is a bit wavy, and then stretched it a little too much on the arm openings, so they’re a bit snugged up. It seems pretty much ok when worn, however. I should really look into elastic and/or binding attachments for my machine…

Back view

I had measured Tyo from shoulder to knee to get the length, thinking I might have to trim some off as the fabric sagged under its own weight. But I forgot/neglected that four-way stretches will lose length as they are stretched sideways, so it’s actually an inch or two above her knees. Not horrendously mini, but a bit shorter than planned. It rides up a bit in back, but I’m not sure if that’s because it needs extra length, or more width so it doesn’t get caught up on her posterior. Probably both.

We left the bottom unhemmed, as I’m congenitally unable to get a nice hem in these thin knits so it would flow nicely.

I was a little worried about how sheer the white base fabric might be, but it doesn’t seem to be horribly bad.

Stretch!

OK, actually I’m really jealous. I love this fabric, and really want my own garment out of it. I’m thinking flowy maxi-dress.

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Inordinately Pleased With Myself

Smug.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Which I suppose is why I take on these ridiculous, intricate projects. Especially at times when I’ve been claiming I need all my sewing to be brainless and easy because my brains are occupied elsewhere.

The Fishing Vest is finished. (For those of you paying attention, the missing front lining piece showed up on the cutting table, underneath about three layers of other crap that I swear I went through twice before)

Back & Front

So, as fishing vests go, this one is fairly simple, meaning there’s only eleven pockets instead of umpteen bajillion. And I forgot to pick up D-rings, so there’s no little D-ring doodads, and there’s only one snap tab because apparently I only had one heavy-duty snap left (well, I had 3/4 of the second one, but that last 1/4 is kind of critical. Osiris had asked that the back pocket be deep enough to hold a water-bottle, and I think it probably isn’t. I interfaced the upper back yoke for a bit of extra strength, and possibly I should’ve interfaced the front of the vest as well, but oh, well.

Bias tape “maker” (actually folder)

I waffled back and forth about how I was going to finish the vest, but in the end went for a bound finish, which is common (yes, I’ve spent a depressing amount of time in the last several weeks looking at pictures of fishing vests online) but not universal. I tried to convince myself this was a perfect opportunity to use pre-made bias binding, but couldn’t quite make myself go there. What is it about pre-made bias binding? I have a shitload of the stuff, and every time I go to use it I talk myself out of it. So I made my first denim bias-binding. Fortunately, it’s a pretty darn light-weight twill. I used my jumbo bias-tape maker, possibly for the first time, and it went better than expected, especially considering I totally eyeballed the width of the tape when I was cutting it out. The application went relatively well, as well, despite not always remembering which side I should start on. And after stitching on four cargo pockets (albeit teeny ones) I feel much more comfortable with them than I did last time. The exposed zippers are still a little rough, especially the ones on the pockets.

Details (view at own risk as there’s at least five screw-ups visible in these photos alone…)

Actually, the whole project went better than expected. There were a few inevitable snafus, like forgetting to sew the velcro tabs on the upper pair of pockets before attaching them (actually the hand-sewn finish looks much better, if only because I use black thread to match the velcro that time) and forgetting to make the two zippered cargo pockets on the front mirror images of each other, and there are minor imperfections at every single point along the way, but I’m not going to dwell on them too much because, y’know what, it’s DONE! And, what’s most important, it’ll work. And it’s pretty cute from even a foot away

Oh, and the playing with the grain of the stripey almost-camo-print on the pockets was intentional. I’m kinda proud of that.

Comparing fit

It fits Tyo snugly and Syo more loosely (I did mention their shoulders are almost identical…), so I think the next one should be a little larger. It won’t be hard to grade the vest up a bit (and maybe do a teeny FBA ¬†with the dart incorporated in that horizontal seam above the zipper), and I think I’ll just use the same pockets.

But not yet—I’m going to wait until they have a chance to road-test this one.

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Not my best work

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Deets

Every time, in the last little while, a friend or colleague has a baby, I think that I should make said baby a homemade gift. I’ve even bought several baby patterns with such things in mind. But so far, every time my own slackitude has won out, and I haven’t gotten around to it.

Well, this piece has, perhaps, made it clear to me why not doing so wasn’t such a bad idea.

This is a present for a little boy born last winter who’s technically my husband’s cousin (or is there such a thing as half cousin?). So this is really a lot of firsts for me—first baby sewing, first little boy sewing. Except, peeps, it’s jeans. I’ve made umpteen however many at this point. Oh yeah, first deep cargo pockets. Joy of 21 Wale did a nice cargo-pocket tutorial a while back that I totally would’ve re-read and applied if I’d had a bit more time, organization, or motivation.

Anyway, details.

This is another pattern from the excellent kids’ issue of Patrones magazine Her Selfishness bestowed upon me lo these many moons ago. Previous makes include this vest and these capris for Tyo. Anyway, there aren’t a whole lot of baby patterns in the magazine, but I did like the idea of the little cargo jeans at the back. I did decide to forego the gathered ankle, and as a result opted to square off the rest of the leg, which was drafted to taper. It has some cute details like the cargo-pockets, and a mid-leg horizontal seam that would let me use up some teeny scraps of denim that have been languishing in the not-quite-scrap pile for… well, since I made my first pair of jeans, frankly.

The pattern came in three sizes, 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months. Since the baby is currently about five months and (last I checked) a rather large specimen, I opted for the 9 months.

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Syo, modeling.

Um, yes, this photo is Syo modeling said jeans. That would be my almost-nine-year-old, wearing the jeans for a nine MONTH old. I mean, there’s ease (and diapers ease) and then there’s ease. The top of the pattern is basically rectangular, relying entirely on the gathered waistband for shape. Considering that they actually fit OK in crotch depth, I’m suspecting there would be plenty of ease even for cloth diapers. (And you’ll have to forgive the crappy late-night flash photos. The fact that it was dark when I finished them should tell you everything you need to know, considering we’re only a few weeks from the longest day of the year.

Er, yeah, they’re a bit roomy. Maybe he’ll get to wear them next summer…

They would’ve been quite fun if I wasn’t on such a tight timeline to get them finished for this weekend. I used two different kinds of denim, plus some grey

Side view

stretch linen for the detailing, and remembered to add some nice touches like flat piping along the side-seams and random patches and flaps here and there. I even managed to attach the snaps on the ¬†cargo pockets without totally mangling them. (I find snaps stressful.) I did a LOT of reinforcing with soft interfacing, in the hopes of avoiding blowing my topstitching, Some of this was useful, some was overkill, and some just caused its own set of problems. A lightweight knit interfacing would’ve been better, but the only nice knit interfacing I have around here is soft but fairly bulky, which I also didn’t want. In hind-sight, I should’ve done the waistband (which is designed as one piece) with a separate facing in the linen. It’s so nice and soft, whereas the denim I used on the waistband is fairly harsh. Though it does soften fairly nicely with wear.

I added studs, but because I didn’t want any metal against sensitive baby (or, as it will be by the time they fit, toddler) skin, I inserted them just in the outer layer of the pocket, before sewing the pockets together. Strictly decorative. I also used a my usual adjustable-buttonhole-elastic in the waistband, rather than doing a stitched-down elastic waistband as the pattern suggested.

All in all, they were fun, I just wish I’d been less rushed—I would’ve been able to enjoy the process more, not to mention taking more time to screw up less (and fix what I screwed up more.) If jeans are all about the precise details, well, these have plenty of detail, not so much precision.

Ah well. They’re done, and gifted, and the mom and I had a nice chat about how she loves the idea of sewing, and the amazingness of Pow-Wow costumes, and geez if I had a nickel for every time someone says to me “I’d love to learn to sew BUT”…

Ah. well. Done. And I can get back to sewing for MEEEEEE.

As soon as I have the energy to do more than stare at a screen, anyway.

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Sweet Finale

Y1111

OK, I promise this is the last on this little dress. Once again, pattern Y1111 from Young Image Magazine, from their first issue, Summer 2011.

Snug. (and that’s the zipper side! ūüôā )

I made the size 128, as per Syo’s chest measurement, however I did lose a small amount of width due to taking slightly larger seam-allowances on the skirt gores. I don’t imagine it was more than one or two centimetres around the whole dress, though, so the dress is very close fitting to begin with. We can just barely get it zipped up around Syo.

Unfortunately, my old camera didn’t want to focus on anything more than a foot away.

Which, of course, she thinks is absolutely perfect.

Side view

I also lengthened the skirt by about 4 cm. It now comes to just below her knees. If I had been actually trying to fit it to her, a small swayback adjustment would’ve been in order. Or, y’know, a bit more ease for that bottom.

Front

Hmm

The hem.

Ok, I am now officially completely out of things to say about this dress. Definitely time for a dress for me.

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Twee Whee Wheedle Wheet

Twee.

This is a sweet little dress.

A very, very sweet little dress. Too saccharine to have any business anywhere near either of my children, frankly (although Syo will probably bat her eyelashes at you to confuse the issue.)

Once again, this is Young Image Magazine pattern Y1111, from their inaugural issue. My first installation of wittering on the dress is here.

Looking at the photos and the line drawing, one has the impression of a rather complicated dress, but there are actually only four pattern pieces: front bodice, back bodice, skirt panel (gore, if you prefer), and front overlay. And a few instructions for making the ruffle and ties for the shoulders and the drawstring, not that I actually paid attention to them. I will confess, once I had figured out basic things like how many of the skirt pieces needed to be cut out (five pairs, by the way) and where to put the zipper, I didn’t look back at the instructions. I did improvise a fifth piece, for the skirt lining, but in hindsight I could’ve just used the front overlay piece and fudged a normal hem curve. I realized this right after I finished laboriously tracing the skirt panel five times to get a five-gore width. (Then I realized I only needed a two-and-a-half-gore-width if I cut it on the fold. *headdesk*)

As with Burda, you do need to add seam allowances to the patterns. I know some brave seamstresses who just eyeball these, or use little gizmos like the seam-measurers; I am not so brave, and add them on the tissue.

Bodice chevrons (back view)

Being the brilliant thing that I am, I decided I was going to try and do chevron stripes on the bodice. Not being completely idiotic, I decided I would underline the bias bodice pieces with some ¬†leftover cotton (lawn? batiste?) cut on grain. This was a good idea since by the time I had the chevroned seams (mostly) matched and stitched the bias pieces, they weren’t exactly the same size and shape they started out as. Seersucker’s kinda shifty at the best of times, and my relationship with precision is, well, hit and miss.

I realized after stitching up the skirt panels, that I’d had my needle set in the left-most position, so each of those many seam allowances (it’s essentially a 10-gore skirt) was just a smidge wider than it should’ve been. Oops. So I did have to shave a smidgeon off the bodice. I cut the size 128, as I was told my husband’s little cousin is a “skinny 8” and that was the size which corresponded with Syo’s bust measurement. Of course, Syo is on the shrimpy side for her age, too, but mostly that’s in height—she’s fairly sturdy and has my broad shoulders. Here’s hoping it fits. If not—I’m sure there’s a niece somewhere it’ll fit. I also added about 4 cm to the length, just at the hem of the skirt.

Can you spot the zipper? (PS the bodice seam is actually matched. I gave up on the chevrons, however. Also the difference in angle/grain between the skirt overlay and the gores at the side seem preclude stripe-matching on the skirt)

The pattern calls for a side-zip, so I pulled out one of my vintage invisible zippers, since I am officially “off” regular zippers after attempting one in the blue tunic. This was my first time installing a metal invisible zipper, and it was interesting. I remembered to stabilize the fabric with a little strip of fusible interfacing before stitching the zipper in, and I’m very glad I did because I think it would’ve driven me nuts. As it is, there’s a bit of poof around it, but not too bad. Anyway. I use Sherry’s method and install it with a regular zipper foot. In some ways this was easier with a metal zip—it’s easier to see the teeth, and they feel a bit sturdier so I was less paranoid about wrecking it. On the other hand, I was terrified I was going to needle down on one of the teeth and have sharp flying metal flying at my eye. It took me a couple of passes to ¬†get the feel for how far back to rotate the teeth, and I did nearly sew my fingers a couple of times, but in the end it worked really well, and I even managed to figure out the trick of sewing the lining on by machine this time.

There’s the zipper! ūüôā

The combination of a drawstring and a side zip is, um, not intuitive. Basically, I ended up with the drawstring in two parts, both stitched to the zipper tape (if I’d been a little more together they would’ve been attached before I put in the zipper, but anyway)—a short one which goes from the side to the CF opening, and a long one which goes from the side, around the back, to the other CF. Hopefully this’ll work out—it’s mostly decorative anyway.

Front notch with drawstring.

The pattern (OK, the photos from the magazine, again, didn’t look at the instructions) has you leave a gap in the stitching at the CF notch for the drawstrings to emerge. ¬†This is easy, but there’s no real good way to finish the edges, and I’m kind of convinced that after a few wearings there’s going to be threads poking out like crazy, barring some hand-stitching. I considered putting a tiny little buttonhole in the front on either side of the notch, but when the chips came down I took the easy route. An eyelet would be cool, too, if you made a punk-y version of the dress. Which would be really fun, actually. Wouldn’t it be awesome made out of old metal-band T-shirts, with exposed construction and some scraps of black lace and studs?

… ANYWAY.

I did the topstitching around the drawstring casing last. It was a little nerve-wracking making sure that I didn’t stitch down the drawstring itself, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. I did hold the fabric very taut, since I was stitching three layers at that point, the top one of which was on the bias, and I was terrified the fabric was going to move and ripple. It did a bit, but not too much, at least on the outside (the inside, as you can see in the zipper shot above, isn’t lovely, but it’s done so I’m not going to sweat it.

I was going to wait until I could try and shove Syo into the dress to get some modeled shots before posting, but a) mysteriously she didn’t want to get up extra-early for a photo-shoot in the snow (yes, snow) before breakfast and b) I’m not 100% convinced it’s actually going to fit her. Although given that she likes everything skin-tight these days, that might be right up her alley.

Coming soon: more bodice fun!

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