Mathilda, it seems, has outgrown most of what she wore last winter. There are only a few things left. But, since she started school this year, she doesn’t seem to need as many clothes overall, because she wears her school uniform during the day. So, I’ve kind of been putting off making her much in the way of new things. But, I she really does need some new winter things. I started by making this hooded dress:
I used Ottobre pattern number 26 from the 4/2014 issue. I made up a size 122, which proved to be a good size, except that I would add another inch or two to the skirt length next time.
The dress is made from tracksuit fleece, I used a grey marle for the sleeves and hood, and a teal blue/green for the body. This was simply because I didn’t have a large enough piece of either colour available to make the whole dress from a solid colour, so it ended up two toned, which I really like anyway. The pockets, sleeves, and hood are finished with a purple coloured ribbing.
The very clever design of this dress has horizontal darts at the waist line, with the lower, skirt portion of the dress being gathered to the upper section. This is in both front and back and makes the whole dress just that little bit more girly, and very cute. And it was really easy to do as well. Because it is fleece fabric there was no need to try to finish the seams with serging or any other method, I just left these ones raw, they are neat enough on their own and they won’t fray.
The hood of the dress is lined, I used some spotted-stripe fabric that I had left over from various other projects (most notably a My Little Pony dress and some pants for Veronica). The multi colours in that lining fabric broke up the plainness of the dress. Because the hood and placket are both finished with ribbed binding, the hood was attached to the dress with the neckline sandwiched in-between the shell and lining. This made such a neat finish to what is generally, for me at least, always a chunky and slightly messy seam – which is usually able to be seen except for when the wearer actually has the hood on the head!
Now, onto the placket – I had terrible trouble with this. It just didn’t go together in the way that the pattern instructions said it should. And after a few goes and a few quick unpicks I did leave it as is. Its not perfect, it still puckers at the corners making the whole dress hand a bit askew. But its okay, it functions as a placket, the snap fasteners operate unimpeded.
I have KAM snap pliers, they work really well and are so easy. I purchased them from eBay, and I have, over time, also purchased a variety of different coloured plastic snaps through eBay too. These ones are bright pink to match the novelty buttons.
But I really don’t like the way that placket sits.
Pockets are very important to little people, they need places to carry their special treasures around. This dress has two cute curved patch pockets on the front, they are finished with the ribbed binding. I did sew one of the pockets on with the top corner twisted. When I’d finished, it was stitched on so firmly that I decided to leave it and cover it up. I just had to decide between a bow or a button – the standard cover-up solution for all girls clothing sewing mishaps. I went with a combo of both options and made a small bow with the ribbing and attached it using a pink novelty button. Mathilda loved this and went for it straight away.
I had another mishap when sewing the ribbed binding onto the hood edge. I missed a small section of the fold and the raw edge of the ribbing is peeking out. So, because the rest of the binding is secure and not likely to come undone, I also covered up that with another bow made from ribbing attached with a different pink novelty button.
I also had troubles when finishing the sleeve cuffs. I used one of the fancy stitches on my Singer Futura, it looks a little like a coverstitch. You see, I usually use pre-filled bobbins, I have a box of them, half of which are black, and the other half white. And generally I have good quality sewing thread in black and white, most of the time. And most of the time this works just fine, but I do like to use different colours for topstitching, especially for kids clothes, but some of the coloured thread I have is then cheaper variety. I thought it would look nice to use a bright pink thread as a contrast, and to match the colour of the novelty buttons that are covering my mistakes. But there was heaps of missed stitches and it ended up looking quite terrible, I didn’t get a close up picture of it, but I thought that maybe my machine was having a problem of some sort. But it was the thread, cheap thread. I should know better. Because when I switched back to white thread (a good quality thread), it worked beautifully, and I’m pretty pleased with this hem.
Overall, I really like the end result and will definitely be making more. I’ve already made another one already – for one of Mathilda’s friends. I’ll do a post about that one soon (hint: the placket worked perfectly!).
This hoodie has already got lots of wear and is now a regular in Mathilda’s wardrobe.
Thanks for reading!