As I mentioned in the last post, the Yule-mas tradition we started when our daughter was born, was to give a handmade gift to her from Santa and Gilly Claus. But because she's old enough to start to understand getting new things and opening presents, I couldn't resist getting her a few other gifts from us. After I'd collected some cool finds and wrapped them up, I was left stumped as for what to give her from Gilly and Santa. I wanted something functional, and that she could actually use.
Pretty : D
This year, after much thought, "Santa and Gilly" decided to make Flora a simple black dress and white pinafore with embroidery inspired by a swatch of vintage Norwegian wool from my great, great gran. The trick is that
I had "Santa and Gilly" had never drafted a pattern before. But I have had enough of buying and trying to tailor patterns and have wanted to cross into drafting. Making a simple dress for Flora seemed like a nice, easy way to start breaking into it.
Because I didn't figure that Flora would hold still to be measured, I decided to measure a dress that was of a similar design to what I wanted to create and work the pattern around that. It was tricky trying to measure arm holes with a tape and I spent probably three hours measuring, re-checking, learning how pieces went together, and transferring them to papers.
After I managed the basic dress, I used what I'd learned from measuring the physical garment and tested my learning by drafting a simple pinafore with a ruffle cap (I hope?) to go over it from drawing alone.
I'm not sure if the pattern would make sense to anyone else... but I tried my best. I really hope it makes sense to me later.
I got to it the next day on muslin.
A few mistakes were made. (Okay, a lot.) In this case, I forgot that I cut pattern papers that had to have extra centimeters added on to account for a gather. My first piece was a really severe bell shape. The second cut was a little more realistic. I can see that I probably should have found larger paper or measured and cut a muslin pattern that would be actual size, instead of a partial shape with notes to add here or there.
But I figure that it's, at the very least, good I could recognise that it was wrong before I sewed it together. YAY ME.
Flora came to chill with me while I was making the sleeve...
..And got fitted.
Then I noticed she needed a haircut with those scissors right there.
Done! I think she's getting used to my frequent bang trims at random times.
After the initial cutting, the sewing went alright. No real hiccups.
This design has a single thickness for the skirt (which is black cotton twill, rather than wool like the original to try to keep her cooler in our hot weather.) and the yolk is finished on the inside like so.
Because of the way it's put together, I'll need to turn under, iron, then hand sew the inner liner to the skirt after folding it under and pressing it, but I couldn't think of another way get the neck done right. Maybe that's why you see those kind of crappy half-ring things with serged edges inside cheap dresses. It's a lot more work to have a fully lined bodice or yolk like this.
Okay, so it's not the most flattering picture. Obviously the dress won't have a missing sleeve in the end, but I didn't see the point of laboring unnecessarily over the muslin mock up. Still, all the edges lined up. The sleeves are a little long and I like that there's enough, but not too much gather. I want the dress to be a little simple and country looking. The sleeves and dress body will need to be shortened, then a gather added to the arm.
The neck fits her just as she is, but I figured if I dropped it down a centimeter I could still have enough room to embroider, and she would get more wear out of it. The torso is large enough for her to grow into it, so the neck should have some give as well, I think.
Next up is the embroidery. I figured that would be the relaxing finish to the tasking challenge of learning to make a pattern. I was pretty much wrong on that... But more later. My hands need a break
I'll be breaking my Tuesday post rotation because I have a few posts I might want to put in before the holiday. But here's the question of the week:: Do you have any last minute gifts you're still making? Did you put them off, get the idea late in the game, or have you been working on it all this time?
If anyone wants a pattern for an 18-24 mo. toddler dress with a yolk, I'll give the measurements. Just leave a comment with a request for the numbers and I'll give it post haste ... if you trust my abilities, that is. : 3