A child's garment in my mind should be a relatively quick undertaking. This one was not. My goodness, this dress felt like a long time coming. From printing out the pattern to finishing the final seam probably took about four months, with other projects working alongside it, of course. But! How cute! Let's discuss...
I was waiting for a good excuse to buy the Louisa dress pattern by Compagnie M, and then Anna from Paunnet blog offered up a discount code as part of a blog tour for this very pattern, so what was a girl to do? I've seen about three thousand amazing versions of this pattern on the interwebs (and pinned most of them), in fact I'm not sure it's possible to make a rubbish, or even a 'meh', one. If I were to dissect what I like about this pattern, I would have to say that it's the following elements: simple A-line silhouette, feature buttons, piping and the possibilities for contrast fabrics.
Having made it, I am still in love with all these elements. However, what I wasn't expecting is just how many damn pieces it requires! The PDF format results in a sizeable layout (for a children's garment) which requires some hefty taping together. And then you have to trace each piece out as they are overlapping each other on the layout, I guess to prevent using up a whole forest each time a copy gets sold. I must admit, I stalled on that part a bit as my limited evening-time energy could only take me so far.
Having made it, I would argue that the Louisa dress is a deceptively simple garment. It involved a lot of construction steps, not least because I made the fully lined version. If I'd picked the panelled or split back options, it would have involved even more pattern pieces and construction steps. But that's just me having a moan. It was a fun project, but I would advise anyone going into it not to expect a completed garment after four hours of making it for the first time. Unless you are a sewing ninja.
I made the size 2, expecting that it'd fit Dolores this Autumn (she's 2 in a couple of weeks, WHAT?). However, it's come up considerably bigger. I'm not sure she'll be wearing it much before her third birthday, which is a shame because now that she is able to name almost every picture on it, she's currently very entertained by the fabric. Speaking of which...
I was kindly given a metre (could have been 1.5 metres now I think about it) of this amazing organic corduroy by my blog sponsor The Village Haberdashery, where I also teach. The design is called Small World, and is one of the designs by amazing sewing lady Rae Hoekstra that is part of a collection which is also called Small World. The fabric is produced by Cloud9 Fabrics, and if you want to buy new fabric, I'd recommend their wares as all their fabrics are 100% certified organic and they have high ethical standards of social as well as environmental practices.
Previously, the only organic cotton fabrics I'd sewn with were interlock knit and quilting-type wovens. I was excited to give sewing with this fabric a whirl, because organic corduroy doesn't seem to be common place. It didn't disappoint. It's such a lovely, soft, fine, needle cord, perfect for children's wear and really easy to sew with.
I used some turquoise habotai silk for the lining from my stash, where the red piping and red buttons also came from. The only thing I bought for this project (aside from the pattern), was the zip. Boom.
The cuteness levels of this dress are high. Although sadly, as much as I love the style and its potential for different variations, I think this pattern is a bit too involved for me to use over and over again. But having traced all those pieces in the size 2, I may make another at some point next year to have made the investment of money and time spent taping and tracing worth while. Next time, I'll probably make a summer version and draft a neck facing, omitting the need for lining which should speed things up a bit.
Now here's my query: how do I avoid this crinkled effect around my invisible zip? Any ideas why this happens sometimes? I'm sure I'm not alone in ending up with this effect on occasion. Would using a lightweight zip eliminate the crinkling? A good steaming with my iron did nothing to help. I'm not too bothered about it with this particular dress, because I doubt Dolores will stand still long enough for it to be very noticeable, but I'd like to avoid it going forward... Thoughts please!!!!!