Thursday, June 9, 2011

Knot Dress

I sort of lost interest in sewing for a while (between working and being so tired 1st trimester), in fact I passed off a few projects on my mother which she graciously took on and produced adorable things for Olivia to wear.  (Note to self: Finish Mom's lap quilt that was supposed to be finished last Christmas.  Ahem.)

I was recently introduced to the clothing company called Matilda Jane.  Try not to laugh if this is a household name to you, but I am sort of brand-unconscious.  I thought this girl's knot dress was just darling.  The pairing of all the fun prints broke the rules and blew my mind, but it would pain me to pay so much for a real MJ dress if I can make something similar.  In theory.  (Usually when I think this I never actually get around to doing it.)

But it was on my brain for several days and so I tried to pair fun prints and make a knot dress.  The cutting counter lady at JoAnn Fabrics is a little tickled at how often I've been there in the past week trying to figure this out.  Ultimately I scrapped (ha - NPI) trying to come up with a formula (geez that sounds geeky) and decided to first make a knot dress and then see if I can get a little crazy with my fabric combinations. 

Here's my "safe" combo, before I added in the sash/lining floral from my stash.  I used this tutorial (free!) for the basic pattern, but I nixed the elastic and added a sash and also a ruffle at the bottom, so the measurements are different. And so I don't lose those on a sticky note somewhere in my studio, my dimensions were thus:
bodice pattern from tutorial (size 4)
2 3" wide strips for straps (tapered at the end) 
2 3" wide strips for sash & ties
2 10.5"x28" rectangles for skirt front & back
2 9"x44" strips for ruffle (1/4 yard cut in half lengthwise, then folded in half lengthwise so the fold is the bottom of the dress)

Something I really appreciated about this pattern/tutorial is that Bridget has you sew all the front pieces together, sew all the back pieces together, then sew up the sides.  ["Professional" patterns have you create rings of fabric (one front piece sewn to corresponding back piece), gather the top edge to fit the ring/tier above, and sew the two rings together before adding another ring.]  For example, with Bridget's method I knew I needed to gather the raspberry ruffle to 28", which I found easier than guess-and-check.  I figured I can just leave the extra strap length inside the back of the dress so I can just re-sew to lengthen them as O grows. (Easier than making a bunch of buttonholes, cuter than having your excess strap length hanging off the knots on the front.)

I purposefully didn't leave the knot buttonholes for last because I could see that being the one thing still left to do five years from now.  Full disclosure: I still haven't sewn on the back ends of the straps because I had to wait until my model was awake.  Let's hope my child will get to wear this thing without pins still holding it together.

It's the kind of piece that Olivia can can wear as a dress now and a top later, and even layer over a shirt for cooler weather, so that's how I talked myself into doing a more involved pattern.  Now if I can just figure out how to mix patterns with abandon.


Anonymous said...

Anne! This dress is awesome! When I have a girl, I will have to come back to this page and get the pattern. Oh yeah, and get a sewing machine and some sewing skills :) But you've just inspired me. Boys clothes are not very fun to dream about making, but if I ever have a girl, I'd like to make her at least one dress, like my mom made me :) By the way, do you know if you are having a boy or girl? or are you going to be surprised? hope all is well with you guys!

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