Succumbing to Pressure – or Admiration? Envy?

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.)

FiaDress2FiaDress1Here are photographs of both sides of the dress.

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.

FiaDress3As 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.

Many thanks to thornberry, Fabrickated, Susan the spinning and weaving bread head (her term for herself!) and my friend Eve for their ideas, suggestions, encouragement and support.


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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12 Responses to Succumbing to Pressure – or Admiration? Envy?

  1. Thank you – both for your kind words and responding to my earlier pleas for help. My next project isn’t that interesting … I’m weaving the fabric (100% cotton) for a zippered carry bag I’ve designed for Granddaughter F’s Cricket loom. I think they’re coming up next month, so I hope F and I can squeeze in some one-on-one weaving time on her Cricket!


  2. I’m sure the dress will look great on her – I just hope she likes it! And you’re right … some of the outfits my granddaughter wears makes her mother (who is way big into matching and coordinating) shudder. I grin, of course remembering what my daughter would wear that made me shudder! 🙂


  3. You make an excellent point by reminding me of Granddaughter F’s complete lack of interesting or concern in “matching” anything she wears (much to her mother’s dismay!). 🙂


  4. I now find it difficult to go into fabric stores and NOT look for two fabrics that I could use to make this dress again – now that I figured out what the designer was trying to say AND created my own markings!


  5. I think this dress would look adorable on almost any little girl! Sadly, the instructions made it a lot more challenging than it needed to be.


  6. I don’t think I needed to “bash” it once I mentioned its paucity of directions. 🙂 And the trick is to read blogs during proofing! I’m now weaving the fabric that I will cut into pieces to sew into a carry bag for Granddaughter F’s Cricket!


  7. Susan says:

    haha, you are welcome for my 2 cents worth and now you have sent me OUT there and I’m following 3 more blogs!!! How am I going to have time to bake 🙂 Seriously, you are to be commended for bashing on with this pattern that was NOT and I think you did a great job!!


  8. Claire says:

    I love it! I would love to make it for my granddaughter, but it you found it a bit challenging it might be beyond my skills until I take a sewing class. F will look adorable in it!


  9. ethgran says:

    I find the two very “different’ fabrics charming. Very now and out of the ordinary. Any little lass would rock it.


  10. Cyndi says:

    Knowing F, I suspect the glaringly mismatched patterns will be something she will love. I can’t wait to see this in person! She was showing off a gorgeous heart blanket last time I saw her!


  11. Sara Crafts says:

    I love it and just bookmarked the pattern. When I’m brave enough to pull out the sewing machine, I may just give it a go.

    Little girls can pull off crazy color combos and patterns. I bet your granddaughter will rock this dress!


  12. fabrickated says:

    You did a fabulous job despite the dust in the sewing machine. You are very skilled. I am sure this dress will really appeal to a little girl with its full skirt, bow, secret lining and two exciting options. Great work and I look forward to seeing your next project – maybe something for you next time.


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