I didn’t start out with the idea of bunches of bows but that is where it all went in the end…
I started with Pattern Magic which I finally bought in January. Such a beautiful book! I just had to use one of the bodice manipulations. I settled on the one with the bow. I thought it would look adorable on V. Again, I used the bodice sloper from Pattern Making for Kids’ Clothes. I added an inch of ease (1/4″ at each side seam) and 1/2″ at the underarm of each sleeve. This manipulation isn’t hard but it does add quite a bit of volume. It’s pretty obvious in the book but it looks more spread out over the whole bodice. If I ever try it again on a child sized bodice, I’ll only open the pattern in two places instead of the three from the book. One opening pointing at the shoulder and one at the side seam.
I chose this striped Kaffe Fassett fabric. It’s a gorgeous lightweight cotton with a woven stripe (as opposed to printed). The colors are like a muted Easter egg. I was very careful to continue the stripe sequence at center front. You can hardly tell where the seam is! For the back and sleeves, I played with stripe orientation.
The skirt portion is a good old circle skirt, drafted from the bodice measurements. V has been complaining about the lack of twirly skirts in her wardrobe. I thought she might like this one. (She does.) Instead of tearing my hair out hemming a circle, I just used bias biding around the bottom. I made it from 1.5″ wide bias strips of my bodice fabric. 1″ felt too narrow (I would have had only a 1/4″ showing) and 2″ felt too wide (1/2″ showing). The fabric is interweave chambray (purple warp, pink weft). It’s a bit heavier than the Kaffe Fassett stripe but the muted pastel colors of both work beautifully together.
For the sweater, I went back and forth while I was making the dress. I got the idea for the stitch pattern from Hand-Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters. It’s a simple slip stitch pattern where you pick up the slipped strands to make these little bows.
My first thought had been a ballet wrap sweater. Definitely a cardigan. The main problem was that I was sick (I’m better now). I was so tired one day that I managed to work on this project for about 15 minutes. It took me all day but I got 15 minutes of work done. So it had to be simple. Rectangles then. I made a couple for front and back and a couple for the sleeves. All edges being finished, I wouldn’t need the serger much if at all.
I sewed up the sweater using my walking foot. I cut open the front in the middle after running a line of stitching on either side. I tried it on V to figure out the neckline (V in front, a little dip in the back for her neck). I stitched the new neckline again before cutting away the extra fabric.
Technically, I could have left the sleeve and bottom hems alone. It was a finished edge after all. But it was curling except where there was a seam. I tested a few ideas and ended up sewing some clear elastic to wrong side of the bottom edge, stretching it a little as I went along. Then, I turned it up once to the wrong side and stitched it with the stretch stitch (that triple one). The neckline and front opening got the bias tape facing treatment.
But the sleeve hems! I tried the elastic trick again but somehow, the fabric was having none of it. I tried hemming without elastic. Nuh-uh. I was in no mood to crochet anything there. I tried stitching some ribbon onto the right side of the sleeve. Nope. In desperation, I tried weaving the ribbon through the edge and it worked! Well, it worked better than everything else and at that point, I was just done. I steamed it and what would you know? I like it!
This outfit makes me feel so accomplished and happy! I also really love watching V twirl in it…