Monday, January 28, 2013

Dresses for Mina

I'm pretty sure I might need an intervention at the rate I'm going. So far I have made two dresses and a coat for Mina this month. I made one dress out of an old pair of stretch Levi's that I wore during my pregnancy. The other dress was made out of two black tee shirts.

For the denim dress I used an existing dress to draft the bodice pattern.  I used it mainly for the shoulder slope and the armscye.  I made the waist a little bigger and I thought I made the skirt longer (more on that later.) I hadn't taken into account the fact that the "fabric" wasn't nearly as wide as the pattern pieces I had drafted for the skirt.  I pieced the front and back pieces and hid the seams in the pleating.

I had drawn a little sketch of the dress when I drafted Mina's coat pattern.  A little while later I found a very similar dress on the BabyGap website.  I made a few minor changes because I liked the BabyGap dress so much.
Mina in her finished dress!

She still isn't totally steady, hence the death grip on her arm.  She was wiggling all over.

Some things that I learned as I made the denim dress:
1. I should have continued the facing down the sides of the keyhole in the back.  I just folded over the seam allowance and top stitched.  It would have been a better idea to make an L shaped facing for the back and mitered the corners.  Oh well, live and learn.

2. The waistline was a little tricky to maneuver around when we put the dress on Mina.  Part of the issue might have been that James put a long sleeved onesie on Mina under her dress.  It was pretty trim to begin with so the extra layer wasn't helping.

3. You can't tell in the pictures but the skirt was a little short and the waist was a little long.

4. I don't own a serger so I need to finish the edges in another way.  The hem should have been roll hemmed and the seams should have been zig-zagged or finished in SOME way.

Round Two- Tee shirt dress

I wanted to remedy some of the problems with the denim dress and make another dress for Mina to wear to church.  I had two hand me down tee shirts that apart from being too short, they were in great condition.  I decided to branch out and make a knit dress for Mina.

My little sketch, a pin tucked bodice with long sleeves and gathered skirt.

I used the same bodice pattern and altered it to accommodate the detail in the front.

One of the tee shirts and some of the pattern pieces.
Cutting out the bodice...

I got the idea to sew the sleeves into the bodice at the armscye from Delia and her baby cardigan tutorial. It makes it so much easier to sew a tiny sleeve into a tiny arm hole!

The finished dress:

And this is the only picture I took of Mina wearing the dress, it's just a picture of her face.
And the lessons learned?

1. Knit is hard to sew without a serger.  I had to re-stitch several seams where the machine skipped.  It wasn't a massive problem but I was making a little dress so I guess it was proportional.

2. Knit doesn't really pleat that well.  I probably should have used a piece of lightweight interfacing on the front to give more structure for the pin tucks, it might have made them look neater.

3. The keyhole was pretty big. I will probably add another button to wrangle it in.

4. I sort of cheated a little with the hem and the cuffs.  I lined the pattern pieces up with the finished edge of the shirt so I didn't have to hem it!

And one final lesson:
I need to take an extra minute and use my camera to take pictures instead of my cellphone. 

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