The thing with children is that they keep growing- figures huh? And it seems a particular child I know, Clodagh keeps doing just that. She is now 1 year old and to celebrate her birthday I made her a new dress.
I had made her two dresses with bodice pieces and gathered skirts so wanted to do something a little different this time- which brought me to the ‘Charlie’ from Made by Rae. You buy the basic tunic top pattern and then an additional dress add-on. Having the option of lots of variations on a pattern is definitely a plus for me and I can certain see me doing the dress again or the tunic top in many fabric combinations.
(eye spy in the photo, a copy of the now defunct ‘crafty’ magazine- R.I.P)
I liked the loose style of this pattern, meaning it could be layered up whilst it’s still chilly or be worn alone, with just the cool cotton for the summer.
After a trip to the farm, Clodagh has ranked bunnies as her no. #1 animal, so I searched out the cutest bunny fabric from fabric rehab, with a coordinating yellow polka dot.
What is great about little girls is that they can wear a dress covered in bunnies and unlike their grown up counterparts, don’t look like a lunatic or the type of woman who would have a ‘runs off fairy dust!’ sticker on the back of her Volkswagen Golf. So whilst the kids in my life are still young enough not to pass opinion, I will take great joy in using the many beautiful prints out there.
The ‘Charlie’ pattern was very well explained and easy to stick together with the dress add-on. The different sizes are clearly marked in different colours and the accompanying instructions are clear after you’ve had a little think about the various right side- wrong side flips and turns involved in the cuffs and hem.
My lining up of the pieces went a teeny bit awry somewhere, as I did have to do a little trimming at the sleeves when I joined the underarm seams- (it is mentioned that this might happen in the instructions, so I don’t feel that bad on this one).
The contrast key shaped collar is one of the reasons I liked the pattern, with a 70’s, hippy, Jimmy Hendrix, kaftan, kinda vibe. Also I hadn’t tried anything similar before, so in the vain of self improvement I went for it. But as mentioned I had a split focus with one eye lingering on an episode of Star Trek.
As you sew the neckline facing to the neckline outer, you are instructed to sew the around the outline of the notch with the intention to cut it after. I stitched it up and cut the notch neck and it was neat and it was straight and I was feeling pretty smug, just like Commander Riker in said episode of Star Trek (but let’s be honest, Riker is smug in nearly every episode of Star Trek).
I flipped it the right way out and pressed and I continued to feel smug. I set the collar into the main portion of the dress and it fitted snugly…snugly smug.
My dress was taking shape, the lovely cuff and hem detail was on, my button loops were in and secure. So It came to sewing on my buttons and it was only then I realised the large gap my notch neck had left. I had sewn the bottom edge of the neck too widely and now this really was a 70’s, hippy, Jimmy Hendrix, kaftan, with ample viewing space for chest hair and peace sign and evil eye medallions. As far as I’m aware Clodagh has neither chest hair nor medallions.
There is only one fix for for an opening that is too wide…a placket… a mother flippin’ placket.
I have had a previous altercation with a placket and was not excited to embark on another. However this time I just added a simple rectangular placket and it was a significantly less traumatic experience than before, so stop worrying. I can probably say I have made peace with plackets for now, or at least until I attempt a men’s shirt.
Overall I was pretty delighted with this dress and managed to retain a little smugness despite the placket racket. Much of my delight was due to my new machine, getting the upgrade has improved my sewing and made everything just a little bit easier.
Anyway happy birthday little lady xxxx