It was mini’s third birthday a couple of weeks ago… how time flies, hasn’t she grown etc etc… Anyway, we weren’t sure about the weather so ditched our plan for a picnic party in the park and opted for a day out at Tropical World, in Roundhay Park. Definitely recommended for a fun, low-key day out with just enough to keep little ones entertained (big fish and tiny poisonous frogs were both a big hit). Only a fiver to get in, but it was a bit of a mission to get there on public transport. Great day in all.
So naturally, I wanted her to wear a lovely dress on her big day, only she had other ideas and wanted her new stripy jersey with a luminous skull on it… so it’s taken me a few weeks to persuade her to put it on.
I’ve done some more elaborate dresses, but they haven’t been worn too much, and I was a bit pushed for time so decided on a simple, one layer tunic with just a little bit of gathering and binding around the armholes. It’s a pattern I’ve used before, from a lovely Etsy boutique by Yeppar. Hers are some of the first patterns I downloaded, and they’re super simple, breezy and feminine without being frilly or silly.
I bought the fabric ages ago when visiting my mum. It was a remnant at the little warehouse by her house called Favourite Fabrics (owners of the crappiest website ever, but you can find them on eBay). It’s a bright pink polycotton (I think, it’s softened now it’s washed but was very stiff), with a ditsy star print all over. It has a slight fault in the fabric, a couple of faded lines which I think was where it was folded or on the roll.
It’s actually faded a lot now it’s been washed, I’m not sure if this is the fabric or my machine, but you can really see it across the gathering, where the front parts have turned pale. It does look kinda cool though, and this was dead cheap too – I think only £2 a metre, and I didn’t even use the full amount.
You can see that there’s a little bit of bias binding around the armholes that joins into the yoke. This is the first part of the construction, and as you can see it fits neatly under the yoke and is fastened together into the side seam (where it can be finished off with the rest of the seam, saving any bulky joinings).
I made my own binding – something I’m not a fan of, but I did it anyway! I do have one of those little Clover bias makers, and I have used it, but I can’t be doing with it if I’m honest, seems like a bit of a faff, but if you’ve got miles of tape to make and fold I’m sure it would work out okay. One day I’ll get one of these doo-hickeys:
That is, if I’m ever nuts enough to spend £60+ on bias tape. Still…. 12 feet in 60 seconds!! I guess you still have to cut the tape pretty neat in the first place though. At the moment, I cut a piece the same width as my metal ruler, then fold in half, press it, then fold the edges in and press again. It works pretty well, but it is easy to stretch it out of shape when you’re folding it over, so perhaps next time I’ll press it with a tool.
Anyway. I do love this pattern – so simple. Two pieces for the sleeves, four for the yoke, and two for the front/back. The gathering around the yoke gives it a lovely relaxed feel, nice and airy for the summer, and no fastenings. The only tricky part is sewing front and back yokes together without catching them at the sides, but you just pin it out of the way. Again, I used a pre-made bias tape on the hem, which means only turning it over once and saving a bit of time.
I also added some topstitching at the bottom of the yoke to keep it flat, and secured the back yoke by folding it over and stitching in the ‘ditch’ between the gathering and the yoke. To do this I sewed very very slowly, using the manual wheel to make sure my stitches were hidden in the seam – a little extra time taken but worth it!
I actually remembered to add the seam allowance to the dress this time – kept it to 1.5cm all over to make things simple, and a size three turned out just right. It’s the kind of tunic dress you could wear over tights or leggings so hopefully it’ll get some wear before the end of the summer.
In the photos she’s clutching a precious bag of crayons from the charity shop (she always has to have something when we go in there!), and is wearing her Hello Kitty sunnies with a brand new cardigan, that won’t stay that way for long. So far this has been the nicest day we’ve had – today it’s back to torrential rain!
What do you think of this little dress, have you tried this pattern before?