Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jump Rope Dress.

First major make of 2016! An Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress for Maggie.


View B, with the long sleeves and no belt, has been on my to-make list for Maggie for a long time, but with the chilly winter we're having, it was clear that the time was right. The long sleeves make this a great winter dress. I've seen this made up beautifully in corduroy here and here as well as other simple and beautiful versions here and here. I knew I wanted to use this now-discontinued Robert Kaufman pink houndstooth twill for it - it has a nice weight for a long sleeved dress and it mixes my taste for classic textures with Maggie's love of pink.



But after I decided to use this fabric, I struggled with a million other questions - should I use a contrasting fabric for the placket and collar? A contrasting under-placket? Contrasting pockets or pocket bands?


I put the dilemma out there on Instagram and on my sewing group on Facebook, and it turned out to be a somewhat controversial topic! Haha! My friends were split down the middle on contrast collars or all the same fabric. The contrast collar/placket/pocket band camp was further divided between the printed contrast fabric (Liberty was an obvious and popular choice) faction and the plain and classic white or navy blue collar faction.  The many responses were endlessly revealing and entertaining to read and consider, but made the decision even more difficult for this Libra sewist! I actually put the project aside for a couple days to clear my mind! Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed by too many options sometimes?


In the end, I realized that it would look great no matter what, so I just needed to made an executive decision! I opted to go with white piping on the collar, a white underplacket, and white buttons. The rest of it is all pink houndstooth. Whew! And of course, it turned out great! And hopefully I didn't lose too many friends over this difficult decision. #Librasewingproblems


Rainy dark days mean slightly blurry/soft photos, alas. This was the best I could do on a dark January morning. But the blurriness does capture Maggie's near-constant movement, so I feel like the blurriness conveys a truth in its own right!


Anyway, pattern details! This was my first time sewing the Jump Rope Dress, and it is definitely an enjoyably challenging sew. The dress, collar and placket are all size 2T although for some reason I ended up cutting the size 18-24 month size in the pockets - oops! Luckily it was such a small difference it didn't matter! I just put the slightly smaller pockets between the 2T pocket markings on the dress.


These pockets are almost famous, they are so well-beloved by the Oliver + S community. And I can see why. They're pretty much the cutest thing since baby bats, right? Maggie likes them too! Toddlers love their pockets. And they're not hard to sew - pretty fun, really! The pieces have a cool shape and it's fun watching them turn into this little pouch shape. (You know you're a sewing nerd when you're like, it was fun to see such a weird shaped piece turn into THIS. Mind blown!)
 
This happened to be my first attempt at a button placket, too, and I had to read those instructions so many times! Always while Steve was trying to read the paper online, it seemed, too! Sorry Steve! For a minute there, everything seemed wrong and backwards, and I spent a lot of time scrutinizing the illustrations. But in the end, once I got everything facing the right way, it all worked out beautifully! Despite a slightly off-grain placket piece and ravelly fabric, this turned out pretty darn well. (Next time I'll cut the placket on the bias if I'm dealing with a fabric where the grain shows this well, because perfectly lining up and matching fabrics with this level of precision is just not my forte. Next time I'll also put the top button right at the top. Live and learn!)


Choosing to pipe the collar definitely upped the ante on this first-time attempt at this pattern. It really adds a lot of bulk to seam where the collar meets the the placket, and it was hard to figure out how to line things up. I'm not sure I'd recommend trying this, at least not for your first attempt at this pattern, but, after some consternation and pounding the living daylights out of that intersection of seams with a mallet (no joke), I managed to get it to a point where any flaws are not noticeable/on the underside of the collar. I slip stitched the collar to the back neckline of the dress and used some clever hand-stitching to make everything stay where it's supposed to be. I didn't trust my machine topstitching skills at that point! But it worked out.

Hardware mallet = essential sewing tool, fyi.

The only modification I made to the pattern was to shorten the sleeves. I noticed in perusing images of other versions online that the sleeves seemed a bit long, so I measured Maggie's arms and cut off a couple inches of length on the sleeves so that they would hit just at the top of the hand (a nice cozy length for winter but not so long they have to be cuffed).

ETA: The pattern is supposed to have cuffed sleeves!! Clearly I stopped reading the instructions at that point, because I thought people were rolling up the sleeves because they are too long! HA!

Against Maggie's wishes for "pink buttons!" I found some pretty white shell buttons in my stash that perfectly compliment the piping and collar. Annoyingly, the buttonholes turned out a bit tight - if they don't "loosen up" on their own, I'm going to have to go back and fix them by hand, because right now it's pretty tough to fasten and unfasten the buttons to pull the dress over the head. Maggie seems okay with white buttons rather than pink now that the dress is finished, so that part is a big relief!


She likes her new dress! It's comfortable and warm and works great over leggings for school. She is really fun to sew for these days - she's excited to learn I'm making something for her, helps me tape and pin pattern pieces so I can cut, and she likes to sit on my lap while I sew sometimes (although I find this pretty distracting, it's sweet that she's so interested). When I'm done with her project, she's thrilled to try it on and model for photographs (as long as it's pink)! If only I could get Joe this excited about Mama-mades! Ah well, I'm sure it won't last forever, but I'll try to enjoy it while it lasts.


That said, Joe may not be quite as enthusiastic about Mama-mades, but he does like to pose for photos, especially with his little sister Maggie. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I feel so blessed and lucky that my children are such good friends with each other. Sure. they fight and bicker sometimes, but in general, they would rather be together than apart. Joe in particular, is very protective and attached to his sister. When my sister offered to take him to see the new Star Wars movie, we had to really persuade him that it would be fun to go without Maggie (he had a great time, of course). Maggie is so excited and happy to see Joe when he gets home from school (his school lets out later than her preschool). They are such good buds.


Sometimes Joe's affections are a bit too much, even! Like when he starts pinching her cheeks. Not that you can blame him, Maggie's cheeks do pretty much beg for a pinching. Love these kids.

What was your first make of the new year?


13 comments:

  1. I've never seen such wee tiny baby houndstooth before! Perfect for the pattern.

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    1. It is pretty teeny-tiny! This is a great fabric - interesting and different, but sews up nicely and does what you want it to do, overall. :-)

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  2. Oh, this is so sweet! I love the white piping around the collar and the white buttons. I feel like the sleeves are designed to have a cuff maybe? Would that explain the extra length? Or am I making that up. And sadly, I've made absolutely nothing so far this year. I need to get going! I did buy some lovely fabric last week though, so at least there's that :)

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    1. As mentioned in my ETA above, you are 100% right about the cuff! Ooops! Apparently I stopped reading the instructions before that point, after sheer exhaustion after that placket, likely! Either way, the sleeves are cute!

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  3. This is great, Inder! I have to tell you, to me the pattern matching looks pretty spot on. I am reading from my phone but it looks pretty perfect from here. That said, cutting the placket on the bias is a great idea! I would probably have just forgotten that I needed to match up the pattern there so I will file this away in my brain. ;)
    Joe and Maggie are adorable together. Jude and Indigo are best buds too!

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  4. Well this certainly confirms my love of the Jump Rope Dress - it's adorable! So cute on her, and your fabric choice is just perfect. The white piping and buttons are such nice touches. I love it!

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  5. However much agonising you went through, your choices are spot-on. The piping is perfect, the placket looks great and the white buttons are lovely. I'm with you on being overwhelmed by choice, in fact I've often thought I do my most creative work with limited options. As for new year makes, my first was R's aptly-titled 'relax dress', which, pleasingly, has been worn a lot already.

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    1. Thank you, Marisa! I agree, sometimes choice is not as stimulating of creativity as folks might think. "Relax dress"? I need one of those STAT!

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  6. Turned out great! Yes, there are way too many options when sewing. Sometimes it's the best part & sometimes it is paralyzing. 😛 my first make of the year was a tiny little newborn shirt!

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    1. Eeeee!!! So excited for you! Newborn clothes are so freaking TINY, right? Such an exciting first make. Yes, I suffer from Libra-sewing-issues, including indecisiveness in the face of too many options!

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  7. I love it. I am also a big fan of traditional textures in fabrics, and it is really quite cute in pink. Plus the piping - eek, so perfect! Maggie is so adorable!

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  8. The dress is adorable! I love it on Miss Maggie.:) I think your choices were spot on. Piping on the collar looks great!

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  9. Agh! Both of your kids are so cute -- I love their cuddly buddy pictures! Also, your jump rope dress is too cute! I love those pockets. 😆

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