Tag Archives: Young Image Magazine

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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Follow-up

More Star Wars

You guys rock my world . Your comments on the Star Wars dress have left me in mushy (geeky) heaven all week, even as I’ve had almost no time or read, write, or comment myself this week. Which unfortunately is probably going to be pretty representative of the next few months of my life. Aiee. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. (Incidentally, I wore the dress to work on Monday. Not. One. Single. Comment. Which says something about my workplace…)

After finishing a big exciting project like the Star Wars dress, there’s always a bit of a “what next” feeling. Obviously it’s not possible to top it, at least immediately. So I backed off, and made Tyo another Young Image tank-top.

Except I decided to experiment with some fold-over elastic instead of a self-fabric binding, and, um, the results were not pretty. I gave it to her for a pyjama shirt.

She wore it to school the next day.

Tyo’s new racerback tank (aka boybeater)

Which is an awesome ego-boost, even as I cringe inwardly that people might actually see it. They know I sew at her school. Someone might notice. Anyway, to redeem myself in my own eyes, at least, I immediately made another, with “proper” binding. The photo is the “proper” one. I couldn’t find the crappy one to photograph—which might mean she’s wearing it again. The fabric is a black rib-knit I found at the thrift store; it’s soft and drapes well but has zero recovery, which works okay for a shirt like this—I won’t say well, but okay. Also when I was putting on the bindings (with clear elastic this time) I didn’t always stretch them quite enough, so when I finished one side of the back armscye was stretched out *way* more than the other. And with clear elastic in the binding, there’s no chance of it shrinking down in the wash. So I trimmed that side to match the other, sacrificing grain-straightness in the process. So probably it will twist weirdly when worn. At least the bottom is still on grain.

That’s a funny thing I’ve noticed, sewing for my kids. They have definite standards for what they will and won’t wear (sewing for Syo, in particular, is very hit-or-miss) but when I do get a hit, they a) won’t take it off until I peel it off with a spatula, and b) don’t give a rat’s ass about the stitching, finish, quality, or even attractiveness. Syo’s favourite homemade pieces are some self-drafted bits I couldn’t even bring myself to blog about, including one she made herself that looks like something a caveman would make, if cavemen had access to lycra and sergers. (And, thinking of the amazing Neolithic art out there, I’m probably being offensive to cavemen.)

Syo’s faves: caveman sewing

And they’re both grubby, having been retrieved from the laundry for this photo. Like I said, peeled off with a spatula. Although the print of the one on the left has these weird grey smudges in it that always looks grubby. The one on the right she made pretty much all by herself. There are some bits pieced in over the butt on the one side. Symmetry is optional.

Thrift store “scores”

Anyway, just to round out this post (since there’s not much to show when it comes to simple tank tops I’ve made before) here’s the week’s thrift store gleanings. Some off-white silky stuff that will be good for a lining*, some random odds and ends from a baggie, and one early-80s athletic pattern of questionable redeeming value. What do you think about those generic woven labels? I love the custom labels people make (even though I forget to use mine most of the time, and mine at least don’t hold up to the wash at all well), but these generic ones strike me as a little, hmm, tacky. “Made for baby with love” and “Made with love by Mommy.” I might have to put them in stuff for my husband. That would be kind of awesome, actually.

It’s our anniversary today, by the way. 13 years.  I believe the plan is to “celebrate” with steak and Return of the Jedi. I was hoping for a motorcycle ride, too, but Osiris slept funny last night and now his neck is killing him, which doesn’t work so well with things like shoulder-checking while leaning forward holding on to handlebars. Maybe a walk instead. The weather is too fab to spend the entire day inside working. 🙂

*There was also off-white poly satin and off-white poly chiffon, which I resisted. Methinks someone was planning to make their wedding dress, then bailed.

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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! 🙂 )

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! 🙂

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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Children, magazines

My husband’s aunt (who is only a few years older than him) just invited us down for her daughter’s birthday (her daughter, my husband’s cousin, is Syo’s age.) Since they live quite a bit closer than the rest of the family, and we are always saying we’ll come down and then failing to, I was excited. I know she sews a little bit (sock monkeys have been mentioned), so I asked if a home-made gift would be welcome.

On being assured that it was, and getting a rough (very rough) estimate of the daughter’s size, I pulled out my two summer Young Image magazines and began leafing through.

After a fair bit of angsting, I decided on this pattern, from the original (2011) summer issue. Which is not only really cute, but has ties (adjustable) and a drawstring through the top (adjustable) and a raised “waist” so her actual body dimensions won’t matter so much.

Young Image Sundress

Fabric selection was actually easy-peasy. I found this seersucker in the clearance at Fabricland ages and ages ago, and picked up 3m (I think it was $1.50/m) with the express intention of making dresses for little girls. Unfortunately it didn’t seem quite right for *my* little girls, and I hadn’t gotten around to making something for my little nieces with it. But it seemed perfect for this gift project. (Yes, for those of you paying attention, this is the same fabric as I suggested for my Fantasy Pyjamas. Don’t worry, there’s plenty left…)

Sparkle seersucker

Anyway, the other night I managed to trace of the pattern, and yesterday, as I muzzily clawed my way back towards “normal” functioning, I finished cutting out the fabric and started assembling. I didn’t get ridiculously far, but I did manage to construct front and back skirt panels, some shoulder-ties, and some ruffle trim for the front overlay.

Skirt front

That’s an overlay on the front skirt, by the way; the pattern pieces for the skirt itself are identical front and back. I didn’t realize that until I actually started tracing out the pattern. It makes the construction much simpler.

Next confession: after figuring out how many times the skirt-pattern-piece had to be cut out (five pairs, for 10 panels, as it turned out) I haven’t even glanced at the instructions.

The Dread Ruffler

I did, however, do battle once again with my rolled-hem foot to finish the edge of the overlay and the edges of the ruffling strip. It was almost disappointingly well-behaved after the bias silky polyester. Not having much in the way of seams to go over certainly helped…

Feeling cocky at my triumph, I decided to tackle using the ruffler foot to gather my finished strip. And not just any ruffler foot, no, the ruffler for the Domestic Special*, far and away the most terrifying of my sewing machines. Actually, the machine works perfectly well, I just keep trying to use the more exotic attachments it came with, with decidedly mixed results. Which really isn’t the machine’s fault. The main thing with the ruffler is to remember to lower the presser foot before you start stitching. You can’t actually tell the difference, visually, because the foot is so bulky and the fabric feeds through it rather than under it, so it’s easy to forget, and disaster will ensue.

I normally reserve ruffler feet for things where I need vast quantities of ruffling of indeterminate gather ratio. This length was decidedly intermediate, although the consistent, fixed gather-ratio is nice for a trim. I wouldn’t say that in this case it was any great time-saver, since I had to make several samples to figure out what my gather-ratio was and which setting was increasing vs. decreasing it. But, it was fun anyway, and the needle did not shimmy out of position, nor did it strike the edge of the throat plate and shatter, which is what typically happens when I use the ruffler on my Janome. Of course, sewing the ruffled strip down was a whole ‘nother continent of annoying, but that’s certainly not the ruffler’s fault (after all, it’s perfectly possible to ruffle and stitch-down in one pass, if I had the guts to attempt it.)

Bias-cut bodice and chalk pencil

For the bodice, I tried cutting out on the diagonal to make chevroned stripes (the lining and underlining are on the straight grain). We’ll see how that turns out. The stripe-matching on the skirt sections is pretty much a dog’s breakfast, but I was much more meticulous about the bodice. I hope.

Also, Fabricland’s current 50% off sale on notions persuaded me to pick up this nifty, if rather expensive, Dritz chalk-pencil gadget. I’m always looking for something that will make marks efficiently and accurately. So far it seems pretty decent—not as accurate as the wash-away marker, but a little easier to lay down in large segments (like when tracing a pattern piece). A lot will depend on my ability to keep from losing it, or shattering the chalk refills.

All right. Now, much as I’d like to go down and sort out the rest of this little dress, my house needs to be rescued from three days of illness-related neglect. Ouch!

*Mostly because the Domestic and Janome are the two machines set up right now and and I hate using the ruffler on my Janome—something about the lighter weight of the modern machine just lends itself to vibrating the needle loose or jamming and breaking a needle.

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My Image Again

Young Image

A couple of weeks back, My Image magazine (the new European pattern magazine) sent me an email offer I couldn’t refuse—get the two summer issues FREE paying only shipping. Sold!

I picked up a couple of issues last spring. Now, I have to confess, I have a bit of an issue with pattern magazines. On the one hand, I LOVE them. I trace most of my patterns anyway, so that’s not an issue, and there’s something so exciting about having all those looks to flip through. However, (as with a lot of my pattern purchases, actually) I haven’t made up a whole lot from what I’ve already bought. I bought one issue of Burda, once, and made one pattern from it, which was basically a fail. From the previous two My Image magazines I bought last spring, I made one dress from the Young Image, for my niece (and modified it highly). My most-used pattern magazine is actually an old kids’ issue of Patrones that the Selfish Seamstress (reluctantly) gave me, back when I was blessed to bathe in the reflected light of her glory. I’ve made two patterns from it, and there are a couple more that are on the KIDS WANT list.

No, instead I tend to make variation after variation of TNTs.

One of the awesome things about My Image is that you can actually look at the entire magazine (except the patterns) on their website. The only issue I have there is that they tend to make things up in fabulous and crazy prints, which look great but can make it a touch hard to see what’s actually going on. Although the shots are more clothing-focused than a lot of Burda photos. You can also order the patterns in custom sizes, although the price of a single custom size is more than the entire magazine. Still, I’m tempted to give it a try, since one of the things that puts me off making up new patterns is the annoyance of fitting myself.

Anyway, the magazines arrived in really pretty good time shipping from Europe (about two weeks, which is faster than anything I ordered before Christmas arrived from the States). And, in an attempt to get myself out of my current stall, I resolved to make something. However, the dress I most would like to make from the women’s issue requires a stable knit of the sort I don’t have in stash (a doubleknit would be perfect). And I’m REALLY trying to work from stash right now. To the extent that I’m actually *doing* anything, of course, as opposed to just thinking about it.

A very simple pattern.

More importantly, being too lazy to worry about fitting myself, I selected arguably the most brain-dead easy pattern in the Young Image, Y1201, a racer-back tank tunic/dress with flounces on the bottom, cute ornamental tie-on things at the shoulders, and an odd little collar snugging in the racerback.

A very, very bad photo of the line drawing. Sorry, my scanner is being a pain today.

My children being not so much the flouncy types, I left these off. Being lazy, I left off the tie-thingies, too. I did motivate myself to make the little cuff. Go me!

On first  impressions, I traced off the 116. The chest measurement is the same as Syo’s (or at least, the one I recorded for Syo last summer—she’s probably grown a bit but she also likes her clothes more fitted than tunicky). The “dress length” isn’t very long (it’s supposed to have a flounce at the bottom) while the shirt length ended right at the waist. I thought about cutting mid way between the two lengths, but ended up just going with the longer length, which worked out in the end. My Image pattern sheets are a dream to trace—there’s only 16 patterns, four to each sheet, and each pattern is in its own colour. Easy. The hardest part was remembering to add seam allowance to the sides, shoulders, and hem, but not to the neckline and armscye where I would be binding the edge.

Wait—that’s not Syo!

For fabric, I dug through the stash (which despite being rather too big never has exactly what you’re looking for) and picked a cream rib-knit, originally purchased because it was on clearance and a good colour and cotton and I must’ve forgotten how much I don’t like rib-knits for general wear.

The instructions have you cut the binding for the neck and arm-holes on the bias, which I think is fairly silly for a knit, so I just cut mine on the cross-grain. However, this design has enough ease you could probably do it in a woven, in which case the bias binding would make sense.

I have to say, although I am overall quite charmed with the My Image product, the English-language translation remains pretty, um, amusing. What was actually worse than the odd word choices is that the language isn’t entirely consistent. The bindings are referred to in various places as “yokes” and “edging”. One or the other would be figure-out-able, but the inconsistency makes it tricky. Or as tricky as an insanely simple project like this can be. I can’t tell you anything more about the instructions because I abandoned them at that point.

My terrible binding. And my goofy daughter, who will probably never forgive me for posting this shot.

I used my dumbed-down version of Sherry’s excellent binding technique, which is to say that I do it like her except I make my bands extra-wide to start with, don’t overlock the edge, and just trim down the extra close to the stitching on the inside. You have to stretch rib-knit binding an awful lot to get it to end up smooth. I figured that out eventually.

Back “cuff”

They give you dimensions, rather than pattern-pieces, for the rectangular pieces like the little back cuff,   which I approve of thoroughly. That being said, I’m not entirely sure how the cuff was supposed to be put together. I settled for seaming the long edges, turning inside out, and then stitching the ends together and turning that to the inside of the loop before threading it into place and finishing the side-seams. My first attempt seemed a little too wide, so I narrowed it some mmore, and I’m now pretty happy with it although I think it could be a little shorter, too. I didn’t add any seam allowances to this piece, but then I did use 1cm seams, so if seam allowances were included, they may have been 1.5 cm. I dunno.

Full back

Anyway, once I was finished stitching it all up, I realized that the use of a rib-knit and the omission of all the frilly bits had moved it firmly into “wifebeater”*, or rather boybeater, territory. And the loose, tunic style of the original was not at all appropriate for a boybeater. I could tell from looking, however, that the size and length would be just about perfect for Tyo’s tastes.

Woo!

I was a little concerned that the armscye would be too high, but Tyo assures me it’s perfectly comfortable. And she hasn’t taken it off since I gave it to her, so it seems to be a hit.

As for the puppy hat, I have no idea.

*It occurs to me that this is probably one of those regional word usage things. A wifebeater is a close-fitting, usually rib-knit men’s undershirt, evoking the stereotypical image of the white-trash male sitting his trailer drinking a beer while watching the game and yelling at his wife. By extension, when a girl wears one, it is called a boybeater. Manbeater might be more appropriate, arguably.

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The Mini Minnie Dress

Fyon's Mini Minnie Dress

I firmly maintain that Minnie Mouse has no monopoly on red with white polkadots, any more than Miss Piggie has a monopoly on pink. Nonetheless, this is the thing I have heard second-most-often about this dress, in either of its iterations. Sheesh. Fortunately, the most-often-heard thing has been random, awesome compliments. And despite being first on the list to make the Minnie Mouse crack, my ever-sweet husband has also requested specifically that I wear my version several times, so it must be a winner. Sigh.

This is the version created for my four-year-old niece, who requested it last month, with much batting of eyelashes and many applications of  “Auntie, I love you!” Let’s just say that as long as the cute holds out, she should do well in life. You may have to click through to the full size version to see the polkadots on this one. They are small, but I promise you they are there.

Young Image Summer 2011 patterns

The pattern I used as a base is Y1109 from the Young Image Magazine Summer 2011 issue (third down on the left in the image above). You can browse through the whole magazine here, but it won’t let me link to a specific page; there’s a good view of the dress on p. 19. It had the right general lines, in particular the centre-front bodice panel.

I made the size 104, the smallest for this pattern; my niece is 106 cm tall, although her bust and hips were a little narrower than the 104 called for. Still, I’m glad I used the 104 rather than a smaller size (had one been available)—the amount of ease is fine but definitely not excessive.

Naturally I couldn’t just make it up as is. So this is not really a fair review of the pattern or the magazine, although I did use all of the pattern pieces provided. The instructions are, well, distinctly translated, and in so many languages it can be a bit tricky to figure out where the information you want is; it’s mostly segregated by language, but not entirely. Also, the pattern pages are only marked in two languages, neither of them English (my guess is Dutch and German, but I confess I didn’t actually pay attention), so be prepared to do some translating. That being said, they’re not nearly so over-crowded as Burda pages and each pattern has its own colour, so that part was not bad at all.

Dress back

The pattern calls for a rear zipper in the bodice (not extending into the skirt as far as I can tell), but I opted for buttons, instead. You do have to add seam allowances. They may tell you that somewhere, but if so I didn’t find it. I just figured that all the European pattern magazines (maybe European patterns in general?) don’t have seam allowances, and an examination of the size/shape of the pieces will confirm that.  If I’d been less pressed for time I would’ve read up a bit more on how much to add for a centre button placket, but I was in a hurry, so I winged it. It’s not exactly ideal. I should probably have drafted facings or used a self-lining (which I think is what the pattern calls for), but I didn’t. And I’m balls at understitching, so my white cotton lining peeks out a fair bit. Ah, well. I also put the straps on the wrong side, I’m pretty sure they are supposed to angle with the shoulders, not puff up the way they do, but they look cute anyway.

Underskirt for dress for niece.

The skirt in the pattern has a slightly-gathered, shaped upper portion and a ruffled lower portion. In the photo (page nineteen of the magazine, again, but I can’t do a direct link and I don’t have the physical magazine with me to photograph), the dress has quite a deep ruffle on the lower part of the skirt; it looks much shorter on the technical illustration, which I found rather confusing. There’s no pattern piece for this, which is fine as it’s just a rectangle, but I couldn’t find the information on how deep it should be, either, just how wide it should be at the different sizes. My original dress had a simple dirndl skirt, so I did that for my niece’s version, too, but I used the pattern-piece provided, plus a lower ruffle tier, for the underskirt. I was winging it for the length at that point—I did a quick comparison with some dresses from Tyo’s closet that I thought were in the right ballpark length—overshot, and wound up hacking about four inches off the top of the underskirt. Ah, well. It all gathers to the waist, anyway ;). For extra flouff, I gathered some tulle onto the underskirt. I should’ve used more. I also couldn’t use my favourite gathering technique, the zig-zag over a supplementary thread, as my zig-zagger was frozen at this point (she’s in the shop as we speak), so that was a wee bit annoying. Yes, I used the gathering foot, but getting the precise length was not happening so I wound up hand-basting and gathering it that way anyway. *headdesk*.

Dress

Instead of little ruffles on the centre front panel, I made an altered, double-length version of the CF piece to create the ruching. Gather it to the side-front pieces, construct bodice as usual.

Buttons closeup

I was a little concerned about the button-placket not extending into the skirt. After all, even on rectangular little children, you want to be able to open it a little below the waist, right? So after some cogitation, I decided to add in an extra-wide continuous lap placket at the centre back to finish off the button placket. Of course, for these to work properly you really have to fold the outer edge of the placket to the inside, which I completely forgot to do. So it’s a bit wonky in that area. Fortunately it’s pretty much hidden in the gathers, anyway. And cute ladybug buttons make up for all manner of flaws.

I have been having some fun being the sewing fairy, I must admit. I have been refusing to sew for my adult relations (well, unless they come to visit me for fittings, which, considering we live 600 km away, is a bit of a deterrent), but this summer I dared to hand down a couple of pieces. My stylish sister-in-law had greatly admired this sundress last year when I wore it, and after thinking about it, I decided to give it to her. I still like it a lot, but it feels like a lounging-by-the-lake (or in the back yard) kind of dress, something she does a lot more of than I (which is not to say she is lazy, quite the opposite, but she is currently at home with small children in a house with no AC, rather than spending her days in an overly-cooled lab like I do). Rather more recently, I made a tunic cloning a RTW one that I absolutely love. I liked the clone, too, but it was a bit too short through the body. So with some trepidation, I handed it over to my going-on-fourteen-year-old-niece. I am absolutely terrified of trying to sew something for anyone in this age-set without their direct input, but figured it had a better chance of working for her than for me and was reasonably stylish reasonably recently, and she steals lots of clothes from my stylish sister-in-law (I should perhaps clarify that my stylish sister-in-law is the mother of the four-year-old who received the Minnie dress, but NOT of the fourteen-year-old), who I feel pretty comfortable about guessing styles for. Anyway, she claims she likes it and as she’s only 5′ 1″, the length issue is rather less on her. So we’ll see. I still need to make the longer version…

Oona, this one's for you

Before I left on vacation, I did bring home one more piece of thrift store fabric: this crazy border-print. There’s only about a metre, but it’s very wide. Whatever it gets made into will obviously be dedicated to Oona of the Carnival Stash.

Whew! I must now return to hanging out with my in-laws, soaking up the sun, and wrangling somewhat obscene numbers of small children. Gotta love vacation…

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