Thursday, 5 January 2017

Bird Print Summer Dress on a Winter's Day

Happy New Year one and all!!! Ah, I love the beginning of a new year for an opportunity to get my head straight with what my hopes are for the near future. And in terms of sewing and blogging, this year my aims are simple: to just to do some! The not-so-mini-dude is now three months old and lots of fun. His three-year-old big sister is awesome and energy-filled, and requires A LOT of attention during her waking hours, so mumming duties are plentiful and opportunities to do either sewing or blogging are currently very limited. But the boost to my mental health that they give me makes them all the more important, so I certainly will aim to get a some done when I can, even if it's just 10 minutes here or there. 

I'm not going to make any promises as to the amount or frequency of my sewing projects or blog posts, as that would probably become one more thing to feel pressured by and frustrated about. I also endeavour to focus on sewing from my stash of fabric and upcycle-able garments, because I'm feeling more than ever that it is important to use existing materials where possible rather than buying new. Plus, we could use some more space in our little home! I wish you all the best with whatever sewing or non-sewing related resolutions and aims you may have made for 2017. 

I want to start this blogging year by tying up a couple of loose ends and posting about some garments I made in 2016. And whilst the UK is currently in post-Christmas winter dullness, why not start with a sunny summer project that I made back in August as part of the last KCW challenge that I participated in? 


To be honest, I often find the Big Four's children's pattern to be fairly uninspiring. The fabric choices and styling on the envelopes often look so cutesy and twee, particularly compared to Ottobre magazines and independent pattern companies like Oliver + S, that I find it hard to get excited about using them. However, I could see some real potential in the pattern pictured above.

This McCall's M6059 was generously sent to me a couple of years ago by Adey from The Sew Convert, along with lots of other patterns. I've had a whirl at the cute cuffed, puffy shorts (unblogged) from this pattern and they came out really big. So even though at the time of making this dress Dolores was about to turn three, I used the size 2 dress pattern, but combined it with the size 4 length to get a couple of year's wear from it. It was generally an easy make, with a bit of fiddly concealed zip insertion and some hand stitching round the yoke. 


The bird print fabric was a small piece of secondhand, silky, synthetic twill with a tiny bit of stretch that I got whilst working at TRAID about four years ago. The print features blue tits as well as paler versions of the same blue tits, which kind of make the fabric look semi-translucent, which it isn't. All told, this is rather odd but fabulous fabric that I'm guessing was originally intended for lingerie or nightwear. If I'd had enough of it, it would have made for a lovely Tilly and the Buttons Fifi set.

The outer yoke is made from leftover washed denim from my Tova top, and the yoke lining is leftover cotton lawn from my Mimi blouse. The whole thing was looking a bit plain so I added these gorgeous little shell bird buttons which were kindly given to me by Maggie from Textile Garden (you can find a black version of them here).  


I, personally, was really happy with this creation; it is pretty without being super-sickly/girly, plus it busted a treasured piece of stash fabric that I previously couldn't work out what to do with. However, it took a couple of weeks for Dolores to accept it. I want her to be free to dress as she wishes (which is almost always in a dress), but she needs help with choosing weather and activity appropriate outfits, so each morning I offer up a few suitable options for her to pick from. It took quite a few rounds of outfit choosing before this dress beat its competitors for the honor of being worn that day. I'm glad to say that, as long as it remains in Dolores's good books, it should hopefully have at least another two summer's worth of wears left. And now that I've got three bodies to sew for, longevity is key in the garments I make. 


Pattern: £0 (a gift)
Fabric: approx. £1 for the bird print fabric (we had a karma tin that we contributed to when we took a piece of fabric for our personal use), the rest were scraps whose cost was factored into other projects 
Buttons: £0 (a gift)
Total: £1


Kathryn said...

aww this is so cute and Dolores looks lovely in it! \The little bird buttons really finish it off perfectly. I've finally started sewing up 2 t-shirts I cut out for Harris in the summer, even using a tiny seam allowance they're not going to fit him for long I don't think! So yes, I think cutting bigger, at least in the length, is something I need to do too.

Mother of Reinvention said...

Happy New Year, Zoe to you and your lovely family. I hope that 2017 is a fabulous year for you all. No commitments or plans here either. Last year was going well then I "lost a shoe" so we will wait and see what this year brings. That is a beautiful dress for Dolores. I love the bird fabric, it is super cute and how lovely to make something that was almost free. The bird buttons are such a cute touch. Hoping that you get enough time for you this year. Best wishes. Xx

Jo said...

Hi Ottobre friend! I know what you mean about the styling my girls can happily loo through an Ottobre magazine just for the fun of it. Your dress is adorable and really useful a a tunic as she gets longer legs. Jo x

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BLD in MT said...

What a great dress!! My bird-lovin' heart swoons. Those buttons are just a perfect touch!

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