Veronica has been requesting more dresses this summer, but she’s always been a t-shirt and shorts girl, so I’ve needed to do a bit of sewing this summer to keep up with her demands. I’ve been keeping my eyes out for cute dresses that are good for everyday wear – nothing too frilly, but still quite ‘girly’. Ottobre Design Magazine is often quite good at meeting those criteria, and up today, is this sweet little dress.
I used pattern number 15 from Ottobre Design Magazine Summer 3/2014. The pattern is called Olive Star. Ottobre has quite a few dresses that are similar to this design across various issues of their magazine, as they tend to do. I think that what sold me on this one specifically was the shoulder and neck design.
The dress bodice is designed with a drop waist, which suits Veronica very well. She has a long torso (all my kids do, so do I and so does my husband – we’re all the same like that). She also doesn’t like things that sit on her waist, she will push down pants/shorts/skirts/tights that sit too high, or fold them down so that they sit at her preferred waist, which is quite low. I made this dress up in a size 110, which is slightly too big for Veronica (she’s 104cm tall), but that’s fine, she’ll grow into it. And at the rate she’s been growing lately, that won’t take long at all!
When choosing the pattern for this dress I was looking for something that was practical for everyday wear, but still nice and girly, for a little princess. I think that this works just perfectly for that combination. It is basically a t-shirt with an attached skirt, so that makes for wardrobe ease, I like not having to coordinate a top and bottom in the morning (and I like not having to argue with a pre-schooler about what she’s going to wear!). I like the proportions of this pattern a lot, it is very nicely balanced, the skirt has just the right amount of twirl, without being over-the-top. This is definitely an everyday dress, not a fancy party dress.
The dress is designed for knit fabrics. I used some white lacy knit that I bought at Spotlight ages ago, it was during a sale, so I bought some extra over what I needed at the time, partly because it was so cheap, and partly because I knew that it would end up being very versatile and I would be able to make a few different things out of it, whether for me or either of my daughters, I still have a little bit of it left, enough to make one more garment I think. The fabric is not overly stretchy, but it has enough for this design.
The white fabric is not actually see through, even though it looks like lace, the lacy ‘holes’ are just slightly thinner fabric – not actual cut-outs, so it has the look of lace, without losing any modesty! or losing any practicality, I didn’t need to line it for this dress.
For the skirt I used a pretty printed knit, in rainbow colours, because Veronica just loves rainbows. Last summer she was all into yellow – everything had to be yellow, now she’s into rainbows and pink. Its hard to keep up! This fabric has 4-way stretch and I bought it from Ali Express.
I really like the pattern of the lacy printed fabric, it coordinates nicely with the bodice fabric and there is a good balance between the large and small motifs of the different fabrics, with the skirt having the larger scale and being the more prominent feature of the dress.
The length on this dress is great too, it hits Veronica just below the knees. As I mentioned above, the dress is slightly too big, so the length gives just the right amount of growing room, it won’t get too short before it no longer fits her. This girl can be difficult to fit because she has steeply sloping shoulders, so raglan sleeves are usually better, but this fits really well, which seems to me that is because the envelope style neck opening allows the fabric to sit more gently across her shoulders and back, compared to a round neck with binding that would pull the neckline tight.
I really like the pretty pink snaps at the shoulders. I used this pattern because of the snaps – this means that there is no neck ‘binding’. And let’s face it – I just like having snaps so that I can use my KAM snap pliers – they are so fun!.
This pattern has a facing for the shoulders and neckline, which actually worked really well. I don’t see facings all that often these days – especially not on children’s clothing, most patterns seem to use other methods to finish necklines like binding, bias binding or full lining. Maybe facings are old-fashioned? Sometimes bindings are more practical, but a facing gives a different finish. I learnt to sew using vintage patterns, so facings were the normal thing for me until more recently. Since I started sewing for the kids, which was about 5 years ago, I have learnt so many different sewing skills – I had barely sewn with knits before, I had never done knit binding, or plastic snaps – I had done the sew in kind of press-stud – never going back to that.
I used a design from Urban Threads called ‘Girl Power – Girl Almighty’ to embellish the front of the bodice. I bought this as part of the ‘Girl Power’ pack/set of designs during the Black Friday sales last year. I have been using them on various things for the girls, they are so fun, such pretty designs, like a super-girly tattoo.
This design worked so well with my fabric choices for this, because the design uses three different colours and the stitching for each colour overlaps and blends – so I was able to mimic the rainbow of the skirt fabric by matching the thread colours (almost) exactly! I think this is one of my favourite machine embroidery successes so far. I don’t always have success with machine embroidery and have had quite a few failures, sometimes I have been able to save the garment I was working on, like a t-shirt that I made for Mathilda last year, but not always, quite often it has taken me 2 or 3 attempts to get something embroidered, but I must be getting better at doing it, because I’ve had more successes than failures lately.
Not a tattoo…but Veronica has recently taken to wearing star-shaped sequins on her forehead. Apparently this makes her a “super hero”.
Works for me.
Thanks for reading.