Thursday, 25 June 2015

African Wax Print Geranium Dress: Plus, I'm Tapping Out

Here it is peops, my second and final garment for this summer's 'Traveling' themed KCW. And I give up. But let's talk about the garment first. Oh, and if you don't like pictures of cute toddlers, or the colour orange, or eyes, then you may want to skip this post entirely. 


This is my second go using the Made By Rae's Geranium pattern for Dolores, and my forth go at it in total. I wrote pretty thoroughly about it in the Liberty print version blog post if you want to know my thoughts on it. But you can probably guess how I feel about it simply by the fact that I've made it four times now. 

This time round I used the plain armholes like the Liberty print one, but opted for the V-notch neckline and gathered skirt options. I'm not sure why, but I feel a bold print (and let's face it, you don't get much bolder than this one!) suits the gathered skirt style, and plain or very subtle/small prints look better with the pleated style. I think the formulae of crazy fabric + traditional style OR traditional/subtle fabric + more interesting design works well for children's wear.

Fabric and Notions:

If you've been following my blog for a couple of years, this fabric may look familiar; it once took the form of a big fat horrendous FAIL of a maternity garment. Once I had finally stopped laughing about that dress, I put it away with the intention of reusing the fabric, even though I still have metres and metres of it left uncut. I just couldn't waste the fabric, like I'd wasted my time and energy.

If you've made it this far into the post, it's probably already seared your retinas, however let me tell you a bit more about it. It's a medium weight African wax cotton fabric printed with an insane design of eyes and abstract Aztec-y diamonds. It feels and behaves like quilting cotton, and kind of makes the skirt stick out a little bit. I worked hard to achieve a linear pattern match at the seams, but through absolutely no effort on my part, I seem to have nailed an almost exact pattern match on the skirt's back seam and one of the side seams. Like, the eyes are complete. I don't think I couldn't have done that if I'd tried. 

The bodice is lined in a scrap of cream silk habotai from my stash, and despite intense amounts of clipping into the bodice seam allowances before turning it through and very careful pressing, you get slight glimpses of it peeking out. I'm not about to attempt to source bright orange lining fabric and then try to buy only 15 cms of it though, so I'll have to get over it. 

To extend the African theme further still, I used these little zebra buttons for the back closure. They were a gift from the lovely Maggie from Textile Garden (my sponsors, FYI). You can find the zebra ones, plus many many more amazing novelty buttons here. My initial button choice was some giraffes (also given to me by Maggie), but they required vertical button holes which really wouldn't have worked for this dress. No matter, African savannah theme remains intact. (Please don't leave a comment if you happen to know that African wax fabric is from an entirely different part of Africa than where zebras live or something!)

Thoughts on the Dress:

Aside from nearly making my eyes bleed when I look at it, I think this is a pretty awesome garment. The only thing I'd criticise, aside from the aforementioned comment on the lining peeking out, it that the scale of the V-notch is a little small for my liking. If I use this pattern again (which I probably will) and use the V-notch option (which I probably will), I'll make it bigger so it stands out more, even if I'm using more subtle fabric.

The only other thing that could have improved the final look is if I'd found the time and energy to make a matching sun hat. However, I really don't think this dress will get that much wear that it warrants its own special hat! 

Thoughts on This Season's KCW:

So that's me done. I've only completed two garments this time, and I probably didn't sew for a total of seven hours (although I've definitely stopped trying to complete the required seven hours within the specified week). The truth is, I've been ill all week and struggling to entertain Dolores at the same time. She's been sick too and neither of us have had much sleep for agessssss. I was hoping to complete the two projects that I had had brewing anyway, and then bust out something fresh (to me) inspired by the Traveling theme. But it wasn't meant to be.

And, not that anyone should notice this, but I've been blogging way more frequently for the last couple of months than has been my usual routine. I've still got a bit of a backlog of projects to share and topics to discuss in blog post form, but I need to slow up a bit again because I'm heaping pressure and stress onto myself for no good reason. Hmm, starting to realise why I might be ill at the moment! I'm going house-sitting tomorrow for a five days, so that's drawn a line under the challenge, as well as running out of steam. Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a pity party, I just wanted to explain why I'm sadly tapping out of this awesome sewing challenge early. On the plus side, I have to say that sewing (and children's wear sewing in particular) is a regular activity for me at the moment, so if one of the motivations behind the KCW challenges is to kick start someone's flagging sewjo, then I'm pleased to say that I don't feel I need to gain that from it. If you are taking part, I really hope you are having a super fun week!


MrsC (Maryanne) said...

I love that fabric and I love seeing Dolores out in the sun with a big grin obviously enjoying herself, mind you she generally does that too but in the sun! We're frozen here so sun is great!
Enjoy your house sitting, and hopefully the change of scene and a chance to relax a bit more will heal all. :)

Margo said...

I love those zebra buttons. That is a great summer dress and Dolores looks fantastic! I hope you both feel better soon.

Kate said...

I noticed!

Kate said...

I noticed!

Jenny said...

Super cute dress! Dolores looks like one fun kid. :-)

Anonymous said...

Cutest pictures ever! I'm glad the fabric ended up as such a lovely dress

sandra gilbert said...

Those Zebra buttons are a cute touch to a fabulous little dress.

It is good that you have recognised that you are over doing things, often we don't recognise the signs until we have pushed ourselves too far.

Petal said...

What an adorable model!

Punkty Odniesienia said...

WOW! I love it. I think it is my favourite baby dress :)

Kestrel said...

A perfect summer dress, the scale of the print works really well and it's so bright and cheerful

Kathryn said...

What a gorgeous dress, I love that fabric, and those Zebra buttons!I've also taken a bit of a break this KCW - I've managed to sew 3 out of 5 days so far but haven't beaten myself up about not managing it - it's important to listen to our bodies when they say we need a rest. Enjoy your housesitting and a bit of a rest. Dolores is looking so different each time you post pictures - don't they change quickly?!

Mother of Reinvention said...

Sorry to hear that Dolores is still poorly and that you are too. It's not fun having the cold in the middle of Summer, always seems so hard to shake off. I love that dress. The fabric is gorgeous. Orange is a lovely colour and the little zebra buttons are so cute. Sending you both get better vibes. Xx

Anonymous said...

Dolores is a natural in front of the camera. She looks adorable. The dress is certainly eye-catching and I love the zebra buttons. Have a good rest and hope you both feel better soon.

tialys said...

Is Dolores actually giving the thumbs up sign in the 3rd photo or did you just happen to catch her like that? She is obviously as happy with her dress as you are. Now, slow down a bit and get well.

vintagerockchick said...

Now don't be offended - but she looks way better in her dress than you did in the maternity version (but I think you know that!)
The dress, and Dolores both look fab - have a good break xx

Lovenicky said...

This fabric goes so well with this little dress! Dolores looks so cute in this. The buttons are a really special touch. Bravo!

Tia Dia said...

So darling! What fabulous photos of her running and smiling and having a good time wearing such a pretty little dress.

Anonymous said...

Literally overdosing on the cuteness in this post! I love love love orange, love this print, love the Geranium dress, and ADORE Dolores in this! AND THE ZEBRA BUTTONS?! Stop. It's just TOO cute!

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