Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Project: A Niece Sewing Project

People used to complain to me all the time,
'I can't even hear you sing because your clothes are so loud.'
--Cyndi Lauper

I've been working on a project that has been languishing in my queue all summer - a dress for my youngest niece (9 years old) and after reading Cyndi's quote above, I'm thinking that my niece probably shouldn't take up singing... ;)

She asked me to sew her up this dress:

In some pretty wild (stretch knit) fabric!

The dress went together reasonably easily, but there were some bits about the pattern that I just don't understand. For example, the front bodice is made up of two halves that stitch together in between "the girls".

This means that, when I put in basting stitches and tried to gather the fabric, I had to gather two layers - the main fabric and the pressed open seam allowance. It was a bit of a nuisance to try to gather that thickness of fabric. And the instructions definitely had it set up like this - they did not have me trim the seam allowance or anything like that...

Next was the ribbon trim over the front center seam (above) and the halter straps (below).

More gathering through double layers where the straps met the top of the bodice:

An interesting bit - the pattern called for 1/4 inch elastic across the top of the back. This is how they set it up - note the exposed raw edge of fabric to make the casing...

Here it is with the elastic inserted:

Next there was a secondary piece along the waist - between the bra-like top and the skirt.

Back view:

Finally the skirt is attached (after more gathering!). Here's what I find puzzling about the pattern - they didn't appear to pay any attention to making the inside look neat. Lots of raw edges and seam allowances show, when the pattern includes the facings that could have been used to hide these things!

If I ever make this again, I'm going to think it through carefully and make the inside look nicer. For example, it would be easy to cut 2 pieces of the top back section, stitch them together along the top (right sides facing), trim the seams, flip them (wrong sides facing) and then stitch a casing line 3/8th of an inch down for the elastic.

Still, the final dress, from the outside, is cute:

All that's needed is the hem - I may try to use my serger. I need the practice getting the cover stitch to line up nicely with the raw edge on my hems...

I have to make a blouse for her sister before I can package this up and mail it off to her. I'm not sure about the size - but, if anything, it'll be a bit big and she can grow into it. And the fabric is quite stretchy, so it will be forgiving. ;)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! :)


meredithp said...

That's awfully cool fabric to waste on a 9 year old. ;-) It's turning out very nice, though.

Julia said...

I think the dress is adorable. I don't think that it is a waste at all. Nine year olds like to look "cool"! I'm with you on why the pattern didn't have instructions for making the insides neater.

Tee said...

That's the cutest!

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Now that's cute! I think it's wonderful that your niece isn't afraid to ask and wear prints that SHE likes.

gwensews said...

That's a really cute dress! Your niece(s) are lucky to have their own personal seamstress!

Summerset said...

Cute and trendy - just right for her!