September 5, 2014

The Firefly by Boo Designs

I've got an absolute ripper of a party dress that I'm reviewing today. It's from Boo Designs and it was recently released in the 4th and latest addition of One Thimble Magazine. Here's the cover picture.
Isn't it adorable? I love it! Just the right amount of frills, a gathered skirt, the perfect length sash and all those delightful square shapes and angles to work with. I was fortunate enough to pattern test for this one. I have to say it was the most inspiring and intimidating pattern testing group I have been part of. There are so many wonderful versions of this dress to check out from the testing group. I'm not quite sure where they have been posted at the moment, but definitely join the Boo Designs Pattern Club on facebook to see all the cute versions of this people are sewing here.

Anyway, here was my first sew of the dress.
I wasn't entirely happy with my fabric choice here, but I don't generally cut into my most favourite fabrics for a first sew of something when I am testing. Zoe is getting another one of these for Summer, but it will be much prettier fabrics. I've been meaning to sew it, but she is growing fast at the moment and I suspect that she is going to grow right out of size 2 before the warm weather hits in a couple of months. So sad!

Anyway, this dress is just such a flattering dress. It has clearly been designed by a woman who understands little girls bodies. We are dealing with quite the pot belly with Zoe - I know she will grow out of it at some point in the next few years because my boys were both very chubby at Zoe's age, but I do find some dress styles just don't suit her chubby little tummy. This one is perfect - the sash through the middle provides some prettiness and breaks up her torso nicely, and the skirt falls beautifully in just the right place without any tweaking.

I am not an overly ruffly girl, partially because I am not keen on ironing, but also because I do prefer simple lines. This dress has just the right amount of ruffle factor - enough to look pretty and girly and keep all the girly types out there happy, but not too much. Ruffles often drive me nuts to sew, but the instructions for these ones are simple and straightforward.

Anyway, the dress itself is definitely the trickiest to sew of the Boo Patterns I've sewn, and it is not something that can be whipped up in an hour. Don't be disheartened by that though, the instructions are very thorough and full of great pictures and once you have sewn it once, it is far more straightforward second time around. I generally find Kirstie's (the pattern designer behind Boo designs) constuction techniques quite unique and have to carefully read her patterns, rather than just rush ahead. I did not learn to sew from pdf patterns, rather I learnt from a dressmaking course and experience, but I found that this pattern, even though there are a few more steps in the bodice than other patterns, intuitively made sense to me and followed traditional dressmaking more than some of the other Boo patterns I have sewn. So even though it is a tricker sew, second time around it came together quite quickly, with very little need to follow instructions.

Anyway, all my above photos were taken in Fiji during our holiday in July. Sadly it seems like a far distant memory now and I do feel like I will never feel warm weather again after the last couple of freezing days we have hads. The cherry blossoms are giving me great hope that the beautiful warm spring days will arrive shortly. When I took these ones, a storm was coming in quickly and the light was fading very very fast, so they are not great shots. As I mentioned before, the pattern testing group was full of some of the most fabulous dresses. Here are a few, just to show you how different this dress looks in different fabrics.

This one is from my friend Brooke from Bug and Miss. I am pretty sure Brooke was born capable of sewing in straight lines. Her work is always immaculate, and she knows a ridiculous amount about photography.

This next one is from Tina Martin-Nims. I love this fabric choice. So unique and it really suits her daughter.

And how divine does Kerry's little girl look in her firefy? Kerry blogged about the firefly here, pop on over to see more pictures. I actually really like Kerry's blog sutures and sandpaper. She sews some really cool stuff.
As part of our testing process, Kristie asked us to "pimp" our second dress.

I loved this idea - it really showed of the versatility of the pattern. My pimp was fairly simple. I left the ruffles off and added piping. I added a small ruffle to the top of zoe's shoulders because she has such fair skin and I do like them covered, but kept it squared off to mix in with the square shapes of the pattern. I love being able to see the square shapes once the frills are gone. The square shapes are my favourote part of this pattern - so unusual, but they look great. I also added a ruffle to the bottom. It got the tick of approval from Zoe because it has pink in it.

I get loads of compliments when she wears this dress, and she really loves wearing it.

Don't you LOVE the back!

The hardest part of the firefly is the neckline. Quilters who sew mitered corners with their eyes closed would probably get it perfect first time, but it did take me a bit of practice to finish it off well. You have to be very precise where you place the stitches, and I would recommend practicing this on a scrap before you much up your beautiful dress. Allow plenty of time for this the first time you sew the firefly, and if it is frustrating you, put it down and come back to it later when you are more calm. I wasn't totally happy with my finish second time around, but third time around, it was much better.

I took it a step further and made a long legged romper for Zoe that she can wear during the Spring. I foolishly made it from this awesome rayon I got from Tessuti, which made it far more fiddly, but I love the drape the rayon gives. I am yet to get some decent shots. We have an inside shot before bed one night.

And then when I took her outiside, this was the best she was giving me


And then that scooter. She would not get off that scooter.

So sometimes you just have to cut your losses and work with what you've got. Anyway, if you have a little girl....chances are both of you would love this dress. I certainly do. and don't forget to check out what else is in the latest edition of One Thimble Magazine. I think its the best edition yet.
If you want to read my review on please click here.

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