March 11, 2013

Basic Tees into Pretty Dresses

We have been having such beautiful summery weather in Sydney lately that it seems a little silly to be sharing this post with you. I wish it could last forever, but I know come some point in April/May, the weather is going to turn quickly and before I know it, it will be the dreaded months of winter (no guesses as to which season I prefer). I have had a few birthday pressies to make this week and with the impending weather change ahead, I made some dresses for the cooler months.

If you look closely, you will see that the red dress is very much unfinished in this photo. I wanted to photograph all three together and I didn't have time to finish it before it was time to give the aqua one away. It's finished below!!
To make these dresses I used the Make It Perfect Basic Tees pattern. I've had it for a while and have used it alot, with emphasis on the alot. 

I have found this to be an incredibly versatile pattern and I really think it is a must if you sew regularly for children. I have used it to make several t-shirts, I have modified it to make dresses such as this, and have used it to help with bodice sizing for other items. Like all Make It Perfect Patterns, the instructions on this are clear and easy to understand and it it hard to get it wrong. The pattern is sized for knit/stretch fabrics and my only tip is to remember that not all stretch fabrics are created equal and you have to take this into account when deciding which size suits you, and when cutting. 
The front cover of this pattern shows some casual tshirts for everyday wear. With some creative thinking and pretty appliques or embellishments, it is not hard to use this pattern to sew something a little dressier. I also love that boys and girls are included on this pattern. The boys t-shirt is less fitted and has a plain simple sleeve, whilst the girls pattern is more fitted and has some cute gathering details through the sleeve. Did I mention that it also gives you the option of long sleeves and short sleeves, so you will get use of it all year round. I know I harp on about make it perfect patterns quite a bit, please be assured there are no under the table payments going on here, I just love the patterns and find that I use them over and over, especially when compared with others that I may pay less for, but only get one or two uses out of.
 This aqua dress is made from a beautiful soft merino wool and embellished with lace and ruffles. It is a bright colour, but I love colour and don't think winter should be all muted tones. 

 The dress is too big for my dummy, which is why it is sitting a little funny. I love the way using a simple pattern, like this one, but adding some embellishments can turn it into a really pretty dress.

 This merino wool is lightweight - perfect for providing warmth without weight, and easy to slip a cardigan over for extra warmth. Like many lightweight knit fabrics though, they can need a little extra weight to hold the hemline down properly, so I added some trims along the bottom as well.

 Austin gave this one to the birthday girl on Friday - it is rare that we get invited to an older girl's birthday party now, so I was quite excited to whip up this little number. Much more fun than choosing a lego set! I hope she liked it.
 Next I also made this blue dress for one of my nieces (I have alot of them), whose birthday is on Tuesday. She mournfully told me a couple of months ago that blue is her favourite colour, but that she didn't have any blue dresses because blue doesn't suit her. Whilst she may be right about something like the aqua above, the soft blue tones of the dress below will be perfect on her.

 This dress is made from a beautiful blend of modal and cashmere and I have to admit, I love the fabric. It is beautifully weighted, and is incredibly soft. My skin is sensitive, I find many clothes itchy to wear. This one has no itch factor al all, you can feel the lovely softness of the cashmere. I brought quite a bit of this fabric because I got it for a really good price and am thinking of adding this dress to my list of customised made to measure clothes available to purchase for girls. Let me know anyone who is interested. I love the lace detail on this one, the blue matches perfectly.

 And last of all, this very red dress below. Red can be a tricky colour to pull off, but this colour will suit the warm tones of girl who received it (one of my models for my February preview). Plus, she is the youngest of four children and has two older brothers who are not afraid to let her have it, so she has personality to boot and knows how to hold her own very very well.

 This dress is made from a ponte knit, and I have to admit, it hasn't photographed well. It is definitely cuter in real life. Ponte knit is a fabric I have a love/hate relationship with. It is thick and warm, especially if it has a low polyester content, but it can be a pain in the neck to sew. Do not go straight for the overlocker on this one, it is easy to stretch when sewing, and once the seams have been stretched by a machine, it is hard to fix. My advice - sew it all on the machine first and you will have to use a stitch suitable for stretch knits. If you want to bind the neckline, you will also need to stabilise it first and forget the presser foot on any curved edges and opt for a walking foot instead. Oh and make sure you wash your ponte knits before cutting and give them a really good pre shrink in the dryer, otherwise it will shrink on you when you wash it.

 For me, ponte knits invariably need something to weigh down the hemline. This dress needed a little something extra anyway, so I added some jumbo ric rac and vintage lace. 
 Three lovely little dresses for three lovely girls.
 And before I go, I just wanted to add that Kate and I thank you for your patience waiting for our online store to open. We will have to fiddle with the software and so it will most likely open in the middle of the year. In the meantime we will get a made it store up and running and post the link under our store banner. We will also post a link to a facebook album that we are preparing now of all items available for sale. Thanks again for your support, we really really appreciate it.

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