After following the amazing sewn creations and ideas generously shared on the blogs of thornberry and Fabrickated, I succumbed to pressure (okay, it was probably admiration with a generous touch of envy) and dusted off my sewing machine. Granddaughter F’s birthday is coming up, and my wrist still isn’t ready for knitting. So my annual birthday knitted gift to her had to be something else – sewn!
The pattern Amaryllis (by Blank Slate), a reversible dress written for sizes 18 months to 8 years, caught my eye at a local sewing store. According to its website, “… [T]he ingenius [sic] wrap construction means that even a beginner can handle this – no buttonholes and no zippers [I’ve never minded either]! This dress also features maximum twirl with great coverage due to the top circle skirt over a gathered underskirt. And the front tie helps adjust for a perfect fit.”
Sounds rather cute, doesn’t it? And I liked the idea of a simple sewing project to ease myself back into that particular fiber craft/art.
For someone who’s both a perfectionist and detail-oriented when it comes to fiber work, however, this pattern wasn’t a fast, easy project.
Time consumption 1: Curiously, not a single piece of pattern had markers on it to indicate where it should be matched to another piece: no carrots (those little “v” marks), no dots et cetera. So I made my own. That took time and careful measuring. (I also didn’t like the cap sleeves, so I changed that, but that was an easy change.)
Time consumption 2: Notice that there is no under- or top stitching indicated on the schematic; there was none in the pattern instruction either. The problem with this, then, is that the neckline and armholes “rolled” (for lack of a better term) during washing. Under stitching didn’t remedy the problem (I tried that), so I ended up top stitching.
Then there was (in the schematic above), the bottom piece – which was actually a circle of fabric. I was concerned that either the outer and inner piece would differ slightly in length, looking sloppy upon wearing. To ensure equal lengths, I laid out the skirts, basted one side to the other and then sewed the two skirts together by top stitching. (Of course, because of bias issues, sadly the pieces may also stretch differently.)
Both sides share the sash. The front bodice snaps in the back underneath the back bodice. (I think I would have preferred buttons.)
The pattern is available as a PDF download, and the website states that the pattern includes 15 pages of instructions. Not in the version that I purchased at a local sewing store – one page of instructions!
My seam ripper got quite a workout as I tried to guess the intent of the limited instructions; I experimented, ripped and re-sewed quite a bit.
As noted by Fabrickated, one must take care selecting fabrics for a reversible dress. As suggested by the picture to the right, I didn’t think that decision through very well! (At least all three fabrics were the same weight cotton/polyester blend.) So when Granddaughter F climbs a structure, runs like the wind or tumbles on the lawn, a glaringly dissimilar fabric will show itself. If she walked slowly on a windless day, it might be okay, but that’s doubtful.
Ahhh well. I hope Granddaughter F has fun wearing the 2-for-1 dress! I remembered and learned a lot making it. Now I have to figure out what to sew her brother for his next birthday.