Monday, 28 April 2014

Stripy nauticalness

Prepare yourselves for photo overload!!  Because I am in LOVE with this little dress almost as much as I am with the overwhelming gorgeousness of the model and yes it's my daughter yes I'm biased no not sorry she's just the cutest!

And the dress, oh the dress. I adore this stripy fabric so much that it was fully and selfishly intended to be a dress for ME ME ME.  For some incomprehensible reason the Chien Vert was selling it off in cheap coupons, and I snapped up about three yards as quick as I possibly could.  What you can see for yourselves is that it's wonderfully, nautically stripy.  What you can't see is how absolutely gorgeous it feels. It's soft and smooth and stretchy and stable, with the most perfect balance of drape and solidity, heavy enough to be warm, but oh-so-deliciously cool against the skin. (For those who know, it feels like a slightly heavier-weight Lillestoff).

Sadly, the dress for me was not to be. First I cut it a size too small. Then I tried again, with a curved yoke upon which stripes could not be matched - a rather obvious mistake that I cursed myself for repeatedly, before bowing to the inevitable and cutting this little darling out of the remains and scraps.  It's not much to show for my 2.8 metres, but it IS absolutely perfect on L. I guess this is just what fate had in mind for it all along.

By the time I was done with making my failed attempts, I was utterly fed up with matching stripes and nearly didn't bother again. But you know what - it's ALWAYS worth it.  This next picture is blurred - she just couldn't keep still - but serendipitously in focus is that beautiful meeting of stripes on the shoulder. And you can hardly even see the side seams! It totally makes the whole thing, and I am ever so smugly satisfied that past-me bothered after all.

The pattern is the roller skate dress by Oliver & S, which I've made her before in woven fabrics (see here and here).  It's extremely comfortable in a knit - in fact, I think it's much better - but it did involve changing things up a bit. The dress as designed is fully lined, which in this fabric would have been much too thick and heavy.  To sew it in one layer, I made three changes.

First, to finish the neckline, I cut the decorative facing pattern pieces but used it like a normal facing on the inside.  I hemmed it, as the fabric curled a LOT, and then topstitched it down on the outside about an inch from the neckline edge. All dictated by necessity, but I really like how it came out. To finish the sleeves, I simply turned under a half-inch hem and stitched it down. The armholes on this dress are very, very curved - I don't think this could work with non-stretch fabric. As it was, I sewed the sleeve hems before sewing the side seams, so I could stretch the hem around the corners easier. I also didn't finish the inside hem edge (fortunately, of course, being a knit, it's not needed).  All told it's not the tidiest of solutions on the inside, but on the outside it looks just fine.

Finally, instead of sewing the elastic casing between the lining and outer dress, I simply sewed a strip of fabric to use as a casing on the inside of the dress. I ignored the curved markings on the pattern and just sewed it in a straight line, on top of one of the stripes - so it's pretty much invisible, inside and out. We also placed the elastic lower than on the original pattern, as L says it's more comfortable, and I think it's more flattering too.

And there you have it! Lots of photos of my lovely girl in her lovely dress.  One of these days she'll realise that this is the dress in which I cuddle her about 80 percent more often - because my little L encased in that beautiful fabric is an absolutely irresistible combination :-)


  1. All I can say is a huge "aaaaaw"! :)

  2. your daughter is the cutest! The dress is really cool as well. I guess it will get a lot of wear (if the weather stays this nice, of course...)

  3. Sew Little TimeApril 28, 2014 2:46 pm

    aaawww, shame it didn't work for you, but she is adorable in it!

  4. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.comApril 28, 2014 6:01 pm

    Beautiful dress, beautiful girl and beautiful pattern matching.

  5. hehe maybe I should have made it clear just how jealous of her I am! Not terribly maternal of me - I want one of these dresses too!

  6. that's the plan - now just for the weather to cooperate!

  7. thanks Jo! The pictures don't really do justice to how well the colours suit her - it was meant to be, really!

  8. Silvia - Sewing PrincessApril 29, 2014 10:13 am

    The dress is so cute..but your daughter is cutest! She looks exactly like you, it's impressive! It's great you managed to hem the sleeves as you did. It looks so perfect

  9. at least with a daughter you have a plan B if you need to downsize a pattern, and the dress looks perfect for her :) If you have scraps left you could always use them for undies!

  10. ooh that's an excellent idea - I do have tons of scraps because the leftover shapes were all so awkward, and they'd make the most comfortable knickers ever!

  11. Hehe it's funny, I can't really see the family resemblance, but everyone says this about us so I suppose it's true!


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