Baby’s First Handmade Dress

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So, this is the first dress I have made for Wee O. Surprising? I’m probably alone in this but I think dresses look a bit odd on babies that are not yet standing up. They bunch up around their backs when they are lying down and get in the way when they try to crawl. Tunics are nice. I like tunics with leggings or shorts but dresses are wasted on little scrunched up babies. And just don’t get me started on poofy skirts and tutus! Now though, Wee O has reached that lovely age where she is learning to walk and is spending most of her time upright so I decided to mark the occasion with a new dress.

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There are some really cute dress patterns out there. A quick search on Pinterest throws up loads of options and many of them free too. I love that people put so much effort into designing and digitising patterns for anyone to use. It’s a real sign of the generosity of the sewing community. This free pattern by Made by Toya is a lovely simple back-buttoning bodice with gathered skirt.  It’s available in two sizes – 18-24 months and 2-3 years and can be made as either a dress or a tunic. I chose to make the dress. Wee O is 12 months old but she is big for her age so I was sure that the 18-24 months would be fine.

I used some cotton fabric that I picked up for a bargain price in a lovely wee shop in Kirkintilloch called i Sew 2. I had no intention of buying fabric that day – I have mounds of the stuff at home – but sometimes you just stumble upon a shop you’ve never seen before and, well, you just can’t help buying more! I just tell myself I’m spreading the sewing love. It’s 100% cotton and has the weight of a quilting cotton. The bodice is lined in the same fabric as the outer and I lined the skirt in red cotton. This means that altogether it’s probably stiffer than a baby dress should be but it holds its shape nicely and gives Wee O plenty of room to move.

Wee O wore her first handmade dress to a family party today and got a bazillion compliments so we’re drawing up plans for more. Now that baby dress season is upon us it’s time to experiment with all the weird and wonderful decorative stitches on my sewing machine. And why not?!

Floral Linen Laurel

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The Laurel dress by Colette Patterns is one of those dresses that I could wear every day in different colours and fabrics. It’s very versatile. So far I have made four. FOUR! I think it suits me – it’s not too dressy, it’s comfortable, it’s customisable, work-appropriate, modern yet classic, yadda yadda yadda.

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This is a bright flowery linen. At least I think it’s linen – there may be some viscose in there as it’s slightly finer than linen. I picked it up on a sale table yonks ago and it sat in the bottom of my stash pile as I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It makes a lovely Laurel though. I’m surprised that I didn’t figure that out sooner.

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The Laurel dress is a real TNT pattern for me. Here’s one I made before. And another. All I changed this time was the shoulder width which I brought in 1cm on each side.

I’m not finished with the Laurel dress. No way!

Candy Stripe Baby Top

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Here I have a sweet candy striped top for Wee O, the bambino of the family. It’s a pattern from Ottobre Designs magazine 4/2014 with slight modifications. I love Ottobre Designs’ children’s patterns. They’re practical and modern and I find the sizing to be great. They list their sizes by height  – this is 86 cm which falls into the 12-18 month range. Wee O has just turned 1 and it fits her as I would expect – with plenty of room to wriggle and grow. It should see her through to 18 months with any luck. There’s nothing I hate more than baby/children’s clothes that come up small. They grow so fast but I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to get as much time as possible out of an item of clothing – especially if it’s something handmade. No quick turnarounds here please! Clothing generally follows a pattern in this house – too big, just right then too small. Then passed on to someone else with any luck. It’s much nicer for the planet that way.

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The fabric is by Sew Caroline for Art Gallery Fabrics. I’m not too keen on this. The print is nice but I don’t think the quality is all that great if I am being honest. It’s a bit thinner than the jersey I would normally use for children’s clothes and doesn’t seem to have the best stretch recovery so I’m not sure how it will hold out. It’s maybe a good thing that this is a loose top or we might end up with baggy elbows! Anyway I might be wrong. A few rounds in the garden with Wee O will test it out! I got it on Ebay for a few pounds and I’ve still got enough to make something else. Leggings? A dress? Might wait to see how this one fares before deciding how to use it. The fabric is, I believe, 95% cotton, 5% spandex but it is not organic. Still cute though. The neckband and cuffs are navy cotton ribbed knit.

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All I did to the pattern was raise the neckline at the front by 1.5 cm and eliminate the pockets. Construction was easy peasy. All done on the overlocker except for the hem which was finished with the most amazing stitch that I came across on my sewing machine. It’s a jersey stretch stitch. I’ll write more about that in another post as it’s wonderful and needs to seen to be fully appreciated!

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My wee pudding looks like an actual pudding in her stripes. How lovely!