Friday, 2 May 2014

A birthday dress

Over the third week in April, I made a little dress for one of TButtons little friends, who's reaching the grand old age of 3.  I didn't know what to get her, but then I had a brainwave and realised she'd probably be getting big enough for a pattern from Burda Magazine.

This photo doesn't show the top-stitched box pleats all around the skirt: boo hoo.
I have a couple of issues kicking around from ye olde 2008 (that's 6 years ago, can you believe it?) when I bought them from W H Smiths if they had 2 or more patterns I liked in.  It was pretty hard to find a branch that stocked them.  Since then, the magazine is now called "Burda Style" and it's stocked in my local Tesco: hoorah for dressmaking returning to fashion!

The magazines are still pretty awesome: you get a good range of patterns for your £5-ish, although you have to trace them yourself and add seam allowances.  The instructions are pretty brief too (a few bullet points), so not too great for a beginner.  However, if you've made a few garments before, you'll probably be fine with that.

The dress I made was from the November 2008 issue, dress 139, in the smallest height 98 (roughly age 4).  The charmingly translated German copy next to a photograph of the dress in floral needlecord reads:
"For saucy girls flowers bloom in winter too, e.g. on this pinafore dress!"
With such a recommendation, I couldn't not make it!  I can't believe that this is the first garment from the magazine I've actually finished!  I've made toiles of a few, but never got further than the first fitting.

My mother-in-law acted as my sidekick while I traced and cut out the pattern and fabric and tailor-tacked, while Mr Button and his father put fitted carpets and wardrobes in the shed.  It was fun!  M-in-L suggested I cut the centre back on the selvedges so that I didn't have the bulk of extra overlocking down this seam, which is a top idea.

Buttons!  Hoorah!  More top-stitching!  ARGH!
I used some spotty needlecord and lining I had left from this skirt, and I used buttons from my trusty jar.  I even found a concealed zipper lying around; although black would have been better, at least the pink matches the fabric dots.

Pink zipper: quite cool, actually.  Plus, more top-stitching...
I did the whole double top-stitch thing, even on the lining.  It felt like construction took an age when every seam was stitched three times.  I can't believe I haven't put a zip in for the last 3 years (what on earth have I been up to?) but this one went in like a dream first time.  It helped that I remembered to use a couple of strips of fusible interfacing along the centre back before inserting the zip; I've had problems in the past where the fabric has stretched and looked baggy around the zip.

Can you see the sneaky concealed zip?  No, thanks to Mr Fusible Interfacing!  Cheers, Vilene!

The lining hem is a rolled hem done on my overlocker, and I'm pretty pleased with the result.  I find any other sort of hem is really tricky on the slippery fabric as it stretches and wrinkles when you get to a bias section.

Tasty overlocking on me old hem.
The needlecord presses really nicely and the whole dress feels like it's got reasonable body.  The skirt looks really fun and swingy, so I hope little miss will enjoy wearing it.

I challenged myself to try and make this dress as robust as possible, and as much like a commercially purchased garment as I could.  To that end, I even added a label.

Who knows how well iron-on t-shirt transfer on cotton twill tape will wash?
Happy Birthday, Miss M!

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