Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sorta-been Sewing

The original dress, in aqua with purple flowers
As you know, my sewing space is in my patio.  My enclosed, but still entirely not-temperature-controlled patio.  In the winter, my night sewing gets curtailed.  Right now - in the hottest month of the year - I'm finding it difficult to go out there at all.

Ne'ertheless, I managed to finish 10yo's last "school dress" for the fall.  Finally.

I frankensteined the original dress off of a chemise pattern, a cool sleeve, and a skirt ruffle.  But she didn't like the sleeve - it flips over her shoulder all the time.  Okay for an adult, annoying for a kid.

So I redesigned the sleeve into a tulip sleeve.  And it fits into the arm-hole okay, but what I didn't realize is that because the armhole sits so far back on the body, the sleeves can be a wee bit awkward since even though these are openish sleeves, they're not the mere flounces that I was originally working with.

Eh.  That means my next dress for her will have to be drafted from scratch.  Something I was trying to avoid, on a body that is growing rapidly.   (She grew 2" this summer).  It is what it is - her proportions are NOT those of a woman, but she's substantially larger than the largest "child" size.  This is why I make my (and her) clothing.  :p

Not-being-perfect and awesome also demotivated me.  :p

Oh well.  They're good dresses.  She'll wear them, she'll grow out of them.  They're modest and flattering and comfortable.  And I learn.

First off:  I rummaged through the scrap drawers, and found this blue butterfly fabric that I'd used for a dress for her in kindergarten.  I didn't have enough to cut the skirt too, so I used leftovers from my blue eyelet blouse.  Essentially this was a free dress.

Second dress:  10yo picked this fabric herself.  It's a slightly stretchy quilting-weight cotton (I know, weird), but it suits her very well.  Self-fabric for the skirt.... the interesting detail here is the pink binding on the sleeve edges.

The first and second dresses were made with quilting cotton, and they're both a lot stiffer than the third dress.  To be fair to myself, I drafted this dress to be made in voile, and the voile dress DOES look a ton better than the first two.  I'm still working on this whole, "must use exactly the right weight fabric" thing.  :p

The third dress was used with some cotton voile I picked up at Joanne's (yes, they do have a small clothing-appropriate fabric selection).  I had more fun with this - used smaller pintucks, to reflect the smaller print and the lighter fabric (actually all three dresses have different sizes and spacings for the tucks), used embroidery to finish the hem and sleeves, and an interesting ribbon at the hip.

So - I'm done for now with little-girl dresses.  I need to draft and create some little-girl shorts to wear under dresses, but for now - pax.  Onward ... to more challenging waters.


  1. It had taken me a long time to acknowledge that quilting cotton is just no good for me. I used to think it was ok for wintertime. It's WAY too hot here to wear quilting cotton in the summertime.

    I need fabric with some drape. I'm newly in love with cotton lawn. After being laundered several times, it softens and drapes beautifully.

    I have a silk and cotton voile that is the softest thing, but I'm afraid voile is a bit too insubstantial for me. I'm afraid it is so floaty that it makes me look poofy-er, and I look poofy enough. (smile)

    It is SO hard to find good apparel fabric.

    1. It is. I've found good linen easily enough, but good cotton? Much more difficult.

      10yo wore the voile today to the ortho and out to a (soft) dinner, and it drapes beautifully - I'm so much more pleased with it than I thought I'd be.


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