Sunday, 18 April 2010

A summer dress from a pattern

I sorted out a load of clothes from Miss M wardrobe recently, moving loads into Miss C wardrobe (benefits of having 2 girls!) which left great gaping holes in her wardrobe. I bought some t-shirts as she was seriously lacking in that department and looked around the blogosphere looking for some patterns and tutorials for dresses and tops. Unfortunately there don't seem to be many tutorials for Miss M age range (age 7-8), there are loads for toddler girls and pre-schoolers but get to school age and there are thin pickings! I've always been a bit reluctant to buy patterns for the girls as they grow so quickly and they aren't very cheap at least in the UK. I've been working through my Design It Yourself book so I don't buy patterns for myself either but I'm nowhere near confident to start drafting for children!

Anyway I decided I would have to bite the bullet and off we popped to the fabric shop and I found this New Look pattern which had a number of basic shapes that you could mix and match. This is what appealed to me the most as I thought it would be very versatile and it cost £5.25 (I think) so it wasn't too expensive. Miss M measured as size 7 on the chart which meant there was one extra size to go and Miss C would fit into the range quite happily but as I mentioned she has so many clothes it’s ridiculous. I traced off size 7 rather than cut it, something I've never done before but I wanted to preserve the pattern for other sizes. It all worked very well, I decided to use bodice B with Skirt F adding on bows to the shoulder straps which is an option on bodice B. I'm really pleased with the way it came out, the size is great, generous in fact as you are never quite sure if it’s gonna be ok until it’s made! Miss M thinks it’s great and wanted to wear it straight away!

I did a blind hem and also used a french seam on the side seams to make it neater, I love french seams

Look how well the bodice front, back and skirt front and back matched up!  Really chuffed with my sewing skills on this one!

Love the bows for extra detail

The front and back have 6 1/4" tucks to take in the fullness, worked well at skimming over Miss Ms pot belly!

I put in an invisible zip as I feel they are a lot neater and not as difficult as you might think!

I also made some labels!  Using this tutorial involving iron-on transfer paper I made twill labels.  They are 1/2" wide and look pretty cool.  Unfortunately I made them after the dress so I had to sew them in by hand which I won't show you as my hand stitching is dreadful!  I'll show you the next one that gets machined stitched in! 

So what do you think?  Pretty good I think.  I've already decided on a halterneck dress and a frilled sleeve tunic as next on the list.  I've been really impressed with this pattern so I might try some more especially if I get more mix and match patterns so I can make different clothes rather than churning out the same dress in different fabrics!


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  1. Wow, that dress is fantastic. Well done.

  2. Lovely dress and fabric! i am a newby sewer, but I find the same thing, the cost of the patterns don't encourage new people to join in! x

  3. So crisp and clean, you did a great job on the dress!

  4. I love it! I have a link party on saturdays that I would love for you to join

  5. All righty roo, I need a tip on that invisible zip! WHen I put mine in, there is always a huge gap above, which I remedy with a hook and eye. How did you get yours so close to the top so neatly? I'm so impressed! I don't think the zippers would be different from US to UK. Any thoughts?

  6. That's awesome! You did a great job!

    Thanks for linking at Lucky Star Lane!

  7. This is fantastic!
    I don't have any daughters (though, I'm pregnant, so fingers crossed, right?) but I sew for my nieces all the time. They're still little, so the abundance of toddler dress tutorials works out well for me. You're right, though, I hardly ever see dresses for school aged girls. Anyhow, TERRIFIC job! Love handmade dresses!
    We have a Friday Fun Finds party (on Fridays, of course)... If you're interested, we'd love it if you'd link up this week!

  8. That dress is sweet! You're right, it can be tricky to find tutorials/patterns for older girls.

    I have to check out the twill tape tutorial!

  9. I love it! I also have a size 7-8 daughter and would love to start learning to sew. The details in the bodice and all the seams looks amazing! Did you teach yourself?

  10. @LizSmith - Thanks for the kind words. Most of my sewing knowledge comes from seeing my mum do loads of sewing when I was a kid, I used to join in too with clothes for dollys etc. Some sewing in school but not much. I started making simple things like curtains about 10 years ago but really its only in the last 2 years that I've done a lot of sewing. I read around on blogs and tutorials and a good sewing encyclopedia is very useful to look up what on earth they are talking about! Take it slow and learn to love your seam ripper! I must admit I'm looking forward to sewing an item and not have to use the seam ripper! Wonder when that day will come........

  11. very cute dress!And your daughter seems to really enjoy it, always a plus! I am surpised by the cost of the pattern... I guess we get spoiled with the 99c deals.
    My kids were also on their trampoline when I took the pictures of my new dress....similar mind or bouncy children?!
    Happy sewing!

  12. I love it! You're right about the gap in tutorials for little girls that are out of the preschool phase. And I totally agree with you about invisible zippers. So easy! Stop by sometime and link up to my Thursday party Make It Wear It. It is especially for all things made to be worn.

  13. This is so sweet!

    I'm hosting a blog party right now and I'd love it if you stopped by and linked up. Hope to see you at Saturday is Crafty Day!

  14. Super Cute! I love the shoulder bows. I wish I had the nerve to takle sewing some clothing! Stop by the Sunday Showcase if you get a chance ~ Hope you are enjoying your weekend! You did a great job on these!