Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sewing Project: The Madison Dress

Posting a little early today because AB has her first dentist appointment. Wish us luck!

On my to-do list for February was to draft a pattern for an A-line, sleeveless dress for AB. She had a few RTW versions that I wanted to copy. A while back, I blogged about The Ashley Dress from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. It just so happens that this shop carries a pattern exactly like what I wanted for AB, and in February it went on sale for 50% off ("like" her on Facebook and you'll be alerted to Thrifty Thursday sales!). I figured that a $4 pattern was certainly worth it (especially since it's multi-sized!) and I could spare myself the trial and error of drafting my own pattern.

This pattern is crazy fast to make. The size pictured is 18 month, and it takes very little fabric. It can be made with wovens or knits, though in both of my versions I used a woven for the neckband (to provide stability for the buttons and buttonholes) and a knit for the bodice. Continuing with my current trend, I made a wearable muslin first (the blue dress on the left) before cutting into anything special.

The flaws you see in this photo are real, they aren't just a trick of the camera! There are two snaps on the shoulders (one on each side) and on this version, they're terribly off-centered. I think a combination of mistakes led to this issue. First, there is no button placement on the pattern. I can understand why, because the limitless options for buttons/snaps are part of the charm of this design. However, I amended my pattern and used a hole punch to place a mark where I think the button should go. That way it will be consistent.

The second problem is that there aren't any markings for where the bodice should be inserted into the neckband. The instructions have you gather it and then slide it between the neckband layers. I amended my pattern to have a mark under the arm for how much of the bodice should slide into the neckband. Still, it needs to be double-checked on the fly, because you have to make sure your underarm seams hang at the same level.

The fabric choices for this wearable muslin are kind of silly. I have a bunch of the dotted fabric left over from making an infinity dress last summer. Both fabrics for the neckband are flannel pieces leftover from making cloth wipes. I just wanted to use what I had to test the pattern, so I could move on to...

...this happy version! I. love. this. dress. I hope the pictures do it justice, because it is just the sweetest darn thing. When I saw this jersey over at Girl Charlee, I had to have some for AB clothes. It's so retro and cute. Aaaaaand they don't have it anymore, so I must not have been the only one who fell in love.

I had been searching for the perfect quilting cotton for the neckband, and couldn't pick anything out. I didn't want it to be too plain (just yellow or just orange) but matching up patterns is a skill I'm not totally comfortable with yet. And then I found the most perfect fabric, hiding right in my stash.

This is from a fat quarter that I bought at Jo-Ann's a million years ago, before I even had a sewing machine. I purchased it to cover a cork board. I ended up scrapping the project because the cork was too thin to pin into (whomp whomp). But, I had enough left over to make the neckband, and it looks darling. The yellows are almost identical, the patterns are similar but not matchy-matchy (both incorporate circle shapes and leaves/vines) and the secondary color on the neckband is a neutral so it doesn't compete. Score!

Marking the buttonhole placement turned out to be a great idea. I love the detailing on this button, and I was soooo happy my machine gave me no trouble with the buttonholes (two thin layers of cotton seem to be its preference!). I did not use interfacing, but I think you easily could if you wanted more stability for some reason.

The instructions have you bind the armholes, but I was feeling antsy and just decided to use a ribbon facing. It's not spectacular (no stretch in the ribbon) but I'm happy enough with it. Sometimes you just have to do something different, y'know??

I used my twin needle to do the hem. I was debating it because I didn't feel like winding another bobbin and changing needles, but I'm glad I did. It looks much more professional.

Even though it's not nearly warm enough to wear the dress alone, I love this style because it can easily be layered. AB wore it this week over a long-sleeved onesie and with tights, and it looked great.

Now if only she understood "stand still and let me take a good picture". Oh well. I guess we'll keep working on "hello" and "bye bye" instead : )

1 comment:

  1. Such a cute dress and I love her face in the end-priceless! I was looking for a dress like this and now I know where to find it--thanks :-)


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