This strawberry gingham cotton print might have been many things. It could have been a Kelly skirt for me, but the print felt a little young and the fabric a little light. It could have been a princess seamed sleeveless dress from a vintage pattern, but that wouldn’t have fitted Small Girl until next year and she’s not the most patient of creatures when it comes to dresses. Instead, I partnered it with NewLook 6884 – a ridiculously girly pattern but perfect for the child (or mother, let’s face it) who doesn’t believe in under-statement. Lace trim, ribbon trim, lace or fabric collars, ruffled hem, cap sleeves, puff sleeves, no sleeves, tie belts, matching shorts – whatever you want, there’s a version with it here. I had 2 metres of fabric, which I believe is enough to make a sleeveless dress and matching shorts for age 5. It was from the Eternal Maker website, and I think there’s a very similar cheaper version on Fabricland albeit in a different colourway (scroll down a bit when you get to the link).
The first thing I did differently with this make was to trace the pattern first, having learned the hard way that children can grow a lot faster than expected and that patterns do actually go out of stock remarkably fast too. I made the version without collar but with tie belts and gathered hemmed ruffle. I might have had a small moment of regret when tracing and cutting out the 10th pattern piece needed but I was committed by then.
I didn’t need to worry, the pattern was great to follow, very clear and helpful. The only sticky moments were around the armholes – I didn’t get the seams to line up between fabric and bindings, and my joins of the armhole binding are not pretty at all on the inside. Positively porkish in fact, as Patrick might say (link goes to Great British Sewing Bee clip). Do I mind? Well, only a bit, Small Girl doesn’t though, and that’s the main thing. The only other glitch was running out of thread, due to enthusiastic use of the overcast stitch on all possible seams. I switched to pale blue for the buttonholes, then ran out of that too and stitched on the belt pieces in green. Yeah, sorry Patrick. I used a tip picked up from a Burda book when gathering the ruffle – I stitched the gathering lines in separate sections between notches rather than in a single long line all the way across. This made the whole gathering and adjusting to fit thing much easier. Next time I’ll use a different colour for the line on the seam allowance to make it easier to identify rogue stitches that miss the actual seam.
We’re just doing the finishing touches now – 4 iron-on transfers of butterflies and flowers after adding 6 pale blue polka dot buttons that Small Girl chose at Jumble-Jelly at the weekend. Momma ain’t raising no minimalist…