Sunday, May 25, 2014
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!