Sunday, May 25, 2014

Birthday Caroline.

Caroline Party Dress


Ah. This is one of my favorite creations in recent memory. A Caroline Party Dress for my vivacious little red-headed niece Helen, who is turning four next week. Helen loves over-the-top frilly things and pink, and sparkles, and all of that stuff - this isn't that, at all, but it's definitely more feminine and frilly than the things I usually make! Hopefully she'll like it!

Caroline Party Dress


I got this pattern as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #2. It is a MouseHouse Creations pattern - a new-ish indie pattern company that just came onto my radar (I really want to make the Julia Women's Cardigan for myself!). Not only is the frilly, party-dress style perfect for Helen, but the wide size range allowed me to customize the dress to fit Helen, who is crazy tall for her age. After measuring her, I made a size four, with size six length. Yes, you heard that right - she's turning four next week, but she's the height of a six year old. I expect she'll be towering over me in about ... four years?

This was a straight-forward, if not quick, sew. I went with a little peter pan collar and full lining (bodice and underskirt for extra poof). I considered adding a layer of tulle, but I don't think the skirt needs any more fullness, and the tulle wouldn't quite "go" in my opinion.

Caroline Party Dress


This eyelet fabric has been in my stash for a really long time - it's so special, I have been waiting for years for the right occasion to use it. It's not often that you find yourself thinking to yourself, "this really needs to be made up in an orange polka-dot, pink-red roses, orange eyelet fabric." I think the issue with this fabric is just that it's so ... specific. But it is so perfect for this dress, and so perfect for Helen. Not everyone can pull off orange and floral and lace, but it is just the thing for a little redhead who loves feminine details.

Caroline Party Dress


I love white or cream details on little girls' dresses, so I made the collar in a smooth cream quilting cotton. I added orange piping to the collar and the waist of the dress. If you decide to pipe the collar on this dress, you may find that the center front of the neckline has a lot of bulk, from the extra seam allowances. I understitched the collar, then I trimmed the seams, then I dug Steve's mallet out of his tool box and literally beat the collar into submission - Steve couldn't understand why I would treat a pretty little girl's dress so violently, but hey, it worked! The collar lies pretty nicely now.

Afterwards, I thought ... "hm, maybe I should have piped the armholes too ... ?" I'm telling you, piping is addictive! I almost ripped apart the bodice to add piping, but talked myself off that ledge. It would be cute, but it would have added some stiffness and bulk to the cap sleeves that I think I'm happier without ... I think ... but ... isn't more piping always better? ...

Okay, no. It's too late now!! Moving on!

Caroline Party Dress

I struggled a bit with the invisible zipper (not invisible in some areas, so tight it wouldn't close in others), but I'm happy with it now, and pretty darn proud of that perfect line of piping!

(As usual, I didn't even try to match prints. I greatly admire all of you print-matchers out there, but I have to say, I just don't care that much. Is that home-sewing blasphemy? Meh. I can live with it.)

Next weekend is Helen's birthday party, so I am hoping to share some modeled pictures of this dress here later! The best part of sewing for my little niece is that she actually gets excited about the clothes I make for her, and can't wait to try them on!! It's so nice to sew for appreciative recipients for a change!

9 comments:

  1. I can totally see why this is your favorite recent sew ... I adore it! All the details are perfect - the white collar, the orange piping. Really, really well done.

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    1. Thank you! It took me a while to make and there was some seam-ripping, but it turned out so nicely, exactly how I had imagined. That doesn't always happen, you know?!

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  2. Absolute perfection. I am very, very impressed with how perfectly symmetrical and neat that piped collar is. If it took a mallet to get it that way then so be it!
    I agree that the fabric needed a particular dress and model, looks like you nailed it.

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    1. Thank you! I'm hoping to get some modeled shots this weekend! It will be even better with a redheaded four year old in it!

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  4. wow, Inder, it's just so pretty! The collar is perfect! That piping! You are the queen of it. And I appreciate your dedication with the mallet. So impressive!

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  5. That is is a lovely dress! And I think you waited for exactly the right pattern to use up that fabric- it's perfect for this dress. I don't try to match fabric patterns either... I consider it good enough if the fabric pieces are all right side up.

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  6. The edging on that fabric is beautiful and perfect for that dress! And I love the colors! They're perfect for a little red head!

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