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Spring Dress for Mary

March 23, 2012

My second attempt at sewing something for the girls came in the form of a summer dress for my oldest, Mary.  Unless I have enough material to make matching clothes for both girls, probably the bulk of my sewing efforts will go to my oldest daughter.  Abby is still in 24 months/2T and has inherited a very large closet from her sister.  And I am lucky that they are young enough that hand me downs are exciting to them both–“This was Mary’s dress?  Awesome!”

Just like me, Mary is very tall for her age.  She’s not even three and a half but she’s been wearing fours and XS for about six months.  Adjustable waists are our best friends–despite her height she is very slender.  She still fits Abby’s size in the waist on shorts or skirts.  Part of the reason I love to put the girls in dresses is that they seem to be much more forgiving of their different shapes and they fit into a dress much longer.  Most of the commercially made dresses I have bought only get too small because they get too short, and I have extended the life of several of them by pairing leggings with them.  My girls are actually so slender I’ve even been able to use some baby dresses as cute tunic tops paired with jeans or leggings.  We have one 3 month old dress that never fit either of them at three months–it was too loose and baggy for their frames–but it makes a super cute shirt around 24 months.  I can definitely see the effects of the American diet on the proportions of children’s clothes.  My daughters eat a ton, but they are active and healthy and most of the clothing we buy for them is so baggy I could easily spend most of my sewing time just doing alterations.

This is the big advantage of sewing for them now that the girls are staying in a single size more than a few months.  That and the fact that I love it.  I absolutely love how much my daughters lit up when I handed them the other dresses that I made for them.  (See Matching Dresses).

This dress was from the Project Runway collection by Simplicity.  I found the fabric on clearance plus having a coupon, and ended up getting it for about four dollars total with quite a bit leftover.  The trickiest part was the rose on the front, and I also had to remember how to heat seal the edges of the fabric since the sleeves and the flower are not hemmed and the fabric seemed to want to fray.  Fortunately pure polyester seals pretty easily–it just takes patience to do it by hand.  I made it a bit longer than the pattern called for to allow for some growing room.

There are only a few modifications I would make now that I’ve finished it (whether or not I actually get around to them is the real question).  I really need to cut it down to be a bit slimmer around the chest.  Very few brands seem to size clothes for the way my daughters are built, and this pattern set is clearly not one of them.  Even when Mary hits the size of the dress, it will still bag a bit around the chest.  This is true about almost everything, but it shouldn’t be true of something I made for her.  If I get a chance to rip some seams, that will be the first thing I fix.  I’d also like to add some ribbon touches to it around the neckline and the hem–maybe some bright pink ribbon to edge it or something like that.  The pink in the fabric is really pretty and it would be nice to draw it out more.  Lastly, I’d like to redo the rose so it’s a bit more flat in the way it lays down.  This wasn’t my first fabric rose, but it was the first one I’ve done in about eighteen years, so I was a bit rusty.

All that having been said, Mary loved it.  It’s a bit too big for her now, but I think she’ll grow into it pretty well even if I don’t get around to adjusting it.

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From → Sewing

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