Whilst I felt quite happy to abandon all my ongoing projects in order to make another baby dress for my very new niece, I managed to restrain myself from starting an elaborate smocking project (that is next :)) ) and decided to make a little pinafore dress. The current delightful Spring weather in Queensland is not nearly so warm in Sydney,so I thought this sort of dress would allow layering, so more wear over the next month or so.
I looked through my extensive collection of TopKids magazines, and found this outfit in issue 56.
The garment shown in the magazine is made from terry toweling. I wanted to use denim or corduroy for a very casual wear look, but felt that this silhouette would be fine in a woven, particularly as I would like the baby to be able to wear this now, so any lack of ease due to using woven instead of knit in the smallest size ("newborn" 62cm length)would not be an issue for an average size newborn. After some fabric fondling, I decided to use a very soft fine wale corduroy, which fortuitously co-ordinates with some newborn size striped knit pants from my possible baby present stash.
You can see that I have made a few changes to the pattern. The magazine uses a bias binding to finish the neck and arm holes, but turns this in fully, then topstitches. I chose to use the bias binding as a contrast trim, so trimmed 5mm from these seam allowances, and folded over the bias, after sewing it to the right side, then stitched in the ditch on the right side for the neck, armholes and hem. In a more dressy garment, I would have handstitched this seam, but I wanted this pinafore to be both quick to construct, and extra sturdy - this SIL now has 3 children under 4 years of age and so no time to fuss with delicate washing techniques.
I also used my own adaption of the embroidery design both in shape and in the stitches used. My flower is very naive and simple (ie, quick, I want this in the post today)using 6 threads of stranded DMC cotton for running stitch petals and leaf, 5 threads in stem stitch for the stem and 5 threads in french knots for the flower center. I have added a few 2 and 3 strand straight stitches to the petals and leaf.
I changed the fastening from a placket style at the back to a shoulder fastening. In my opinion, this is easier for dressing the baby, and also means I could use novelty heart buttons instead of sensible flat, non baby poking buttons. Being careless, I failed to cut a longer shoulder to allow for this change, so used bias binding to extend the front shoulder, and to finish the edge on the back shoulder. I used buttonhole stitch loops to cope with the novelty buttons.