Friday, 26 August 2011

Spotty summer dress

To three of my 8 neices, I am an only Auntie. In addition to this particular status, I am the only seamstress in their extended family (my mother-in-law quilts, but doesn't sew garments). I have been happily making them frilly things as presents, but as they pass out of toddlerhood, wondered if they might be feeling these gifts were rather dull, sort of "Oh, no, Auntie Kbenco has made us another dreadful thing we have to pretend to like"

I suggested to my lovely sister in law, that maybe this year a book or some Lego might be better.
She was very quick to tell me that the girls did not think this was a good idea.This is called making a rod for your own back.
Here is the dress for neice C, turning 5 on Monday. She told me she likes red flowers.
The pattern is self drafted to the measurements of my niece, with a loose waist so that it is comfortable to wear during hot weather.
I would also like her to be able to wear it straight away, so chose a limited colour scheme to allow the dress to be worn over a skivvy or t shirt whilst it is still cool.
I am prone to overembellishment, but think I have restrained myself adequately this time. I pleated the skirt using counterchange smocking in a lozenge pattern, only two rows, and used red piping, with a red and white spotted grosgrain ribbon as the sash.
Not being quite able to completely restrain myself, I added some lazy daisy flowers to the bodice and peeping from the smocked pocket.


I gathered the ruffle using the ruffler foot on my hand cranked Singer28. I wish I had owned this machine when my girls were small and I seemed to be enlessly gathering. It was very quick and easy.
The ruffle is bound with purchased bias binding (I also used this to make the minipiping at the neck, armscyes and waist seam), and I used a decorative stitch on my Janome, flowers, to topstitch the ruffle seam.

Unfortunately, I could not find any red flower buttons. I like the strawberries though the middle one is a little different. I am hoping this looks deliberate.


Gail said...

The smocking is gorgeous. I'd like to put some white smocking like this on a black linen jacket.

KayY said...

The details are really lovely. I'd like to see the smocking in even more detail.

katherine h said...

The details on this dress are just gorgeous. Perfect dress for picking daisies in the sunshine, I'd say.

Jane M said...

That dress is breathtakingly adorable. What a lucky girl and tremendously thoughtful aunt.

Uta said...

So adorable! I'd love to know, if it isn't too nosy, how long this takes you, complete with smocking and embroidery? (Still trying to be more productive here...)

Anonymous said...

Karen, this is one of my favourite of all your projects. Extremely adorable. The piping, the ribbon belt, the embroidery, the pocket, the ruffle -- and all create a little girl's dress that is not *too* frilly and not *too* fussy. Just right. And with a self-drafted pattern! You really do have mad skillz.

Carolyn said...

Completely adorable. You are so clever with your embellishing abilities!

Kyle said...

How sweet and cute is that?? SO CUTE!

Handmade said...

How totally gorgeous - such a sweet dress - love the smocking - you're a genius!!!

Tanit-Isis said...

Piping, gathering, AND smocking? Yeesh, way to make us other sewing aunties look bad! ;)

Seriously, it's adorable and she'll love it.

Audrey said...

She is going to love it! as I, also a lover of red flowers, would if I was 5 again. I hope you have a special label, identifying you as the maker, that you put in lovely gift dress like this.

Mary Nanna said...

It's an adorable dress and no amount of money could ever replicate the thought and detail that went into this. I am particularly enchanted by the smocked pocket. It even sounds perfect.

Ruthie said...

Oh its absoluitely adorable. When I was that age I wanted a strawberry dress and would have been over the moon with this.

sewing spots said...

You have some very lucky nieces! That's a beautiful dress.