The dress is a hit with Bean, but the fit has minor issues. That’s okay, this dress was meant as a prototype. She can still wear it fine, but it’s not as polished as it could be, even within the limitations of my skill.
– Neck binding stands up too much, so the shoulders do not lie flat. Next time finish by folding under (remember to add allowance!) and topstitching before joining shoulder seams. As a bonus, I won’t have to iron self bias tape!
– Do a better job with skirt gathering. Do not skimp! Use the double thread method next time. (I used a single thread this time.)
– Sleeves too narrow for a woven. They cannot be cuffed or rolled up for messy projects! I will probably just cut and re-finish the sleeves to make them short or cap sleeves once Bean approaches 3T size. But for the next dress, make the sleeves a consistent width throughout. These were tapered.
I had a day off recently and I blew it on sewing a new dress for my Bean <3
I used the free Bell Sleeve Dress pattern in size 3T and made a number of modifications. The fabric (woven cotton print) is about a year old, from Jo-Ann Fabrics.
The pattern was designed for knits, and my kid is a small 2yo. To be safe, I added enough width in the bodice to match a store-bought 2T dresses. I wanted a fuller skirt (plus I had made the body wider) so I eyeballed it—I think it came out to maybe 1.5 times as wide as the bodice. I did not use the bell cuffs, just the straight parts. Since this is a woven, I needed to add a back closure to allow her head to go through, so I added a back seam and a tie closure. The tie, which also acted as neck binding, was self bias tape that I made by hand (it was okay but I am never doing it again, I’m buying a bias tape maker asap). Since I forgot to remove the back seam allowance from the front, I converted the extra width into a tuck detail; you can see the pattern is discontinuous in a very narrow slice of the chest. That’s the tuck.
I had cut the fabric quite a while ago, I would say that took about an hour. Sewing took about 6 hours with a lot of interruptions, and a whole hour of that was hand sewing the tie, which was really narrow and I didn’t think I could pull that off on a machine. Maybe if I had an edgestitch foot … anyway. Bean has yet to try it on.
After adjusting the pattern based on how it actually fits, I plan to lengthen the bodice and learn to line a dress so I can make her more cool weather dresses. I plan to imitate Jenny Gordy’s patterns for her daughter, here and here, but I will probably throw in a few mods of my own. (She is the coolest, okay. I love her patterns, her taste, her expert designer’s eye … ahh, she’s amazing.)
Eff Minus 33. I bought a pair of their midweight bottoms last winter because it was cheaper than the SmartWool equivalent, which I also bought a pair of (on heavy discount, which was still $$$). Well, the Minus 33 developed a cluster of small runs in one area with three that developed into full on holes. I mended them yesterday (I hand baseball-stitched them shut – the holes were essentially vertical) and there will definitely be more repairs in the future. The time lost is/will not be worth the $30 or so that I saved. For comparison my SmartWool leggings are still pristine. But the good stuff is $$$, so I’ll try to get through this winter with these two pairs and wait until next winter to swap out for a second SmartWool pair. Sigh. 便宜没好货。
(“Kara why are YOU buying wool base layers” – I have picked up the unfortunate habit of commuting to/from work on my bicycle. Good exercise, but an enterprise that occasionally requires new clothes.)
I love sewing but don’t usually have enough uninterrupted free time for a project. So on Memorial Day, I treated myself to a morning spent making Wiksten bloomers for my almost-two-year-old Bean. Three hours to make and three weeks to outgrow! If I’m lucky.
Now for a brief review of the pattern, followed by process photos. I consider myself an adventurous beginner (applies to sewing and pretty much the rest of my life). The pattern was perfect for my level. Highly recommended, especially if you have a small human on hand. If not, perhaps you will make a relative or friend very happy.
I enjoy many creative endeavors but sewing and knitting are special to me. I think it’s because of the unspoken the guarantee of the craft: if I do all the preparations and follow all the instructions correctly, I will end up with exactly what I intended. For this writer, that is the true treat above all treats.