April 10, 2012

Juniper's first Easter dress

Juniper's first Easter- 6 weeks old

You didn't think that I would let Juniper's first major dress-up holiday pass without a bit of sewing, did you? I actually almost did, but at the last minute I decided that I just had to whip something up for the occasion. I turned to my stash, where I have been squirreling away bits and pieces scored on the cheap from the remnant bin specifically with baby girl dresses in mind. I selected a piece of eyelet and some coordinating seersucker that felt "Eastery" and dug through my patterns for some inspiration. I landed on the Puppet Show tunic/dress and bloomer shorts pattern by Oliver + S. It wasn't exactly my first choice, but it's the only one I had that is sized down to 0-3 months and I didn't have time to fuss with adjusting another pattern to fit.

As always, this pattern came together beautifully. I love, love, love Oliver + S patterns! The designs are not only adorable, but the instructions are well-written and the end result with all the attention to finishing and detail is superior. The Puppet Show pattern is rated 3 out of 4 scissors on their difficulty scale, and I totally agree. It's not super-difficult to assemble, but especially in the smallest size like I was making, it can be tough to even get to some of the seams to finish them accurately. Those tiny cuffs, for example, whoooo boy! Let's just say there was a bit of cursing and I almost sewed my finger a couple of times trying to hold things out of the way of my needle to do that edgestitching.

Because the eyelet has holes (as eyelet does), and the seersucker is so lightweight (as seersucker is), I decided to underline the entire dress with a lightweight cotton that I happened to have in a coordinating color (of course I did). Underlining involves cutting out your pattern pieces once in the fashion fabric and once in the underlining material, and then holding them together and working them as one piece. The Puppet Show pattern already has a lined bodice, and I cut the lining as well as the underlining, meaning that the bodice has three layers and no exposed seams. Sarai's tutorial about underlining the Clovers was filed away in the back of my brain, and that was what inspired my use of it here. Coincidentally, I was somehow led to Tasia's bodice underlining tutorial yesterday, and will make use of her dart treatment if I ever underline something for myself. With the tiny darts in Juniper's dress, it wasn't necessary, but I can see that extra reinforcement being useful on a larger item.

I cut the 0-3 months size in tunic length, and it was mostly a perfect fit for 6-week old, 12 pound Juniper. The cuffs are too short to button over her chubby little arms, but they looked fine unbuttoned, I thought. As you can see, the tunic length is long enough to pass for a dress, and I think it might get more wear over pants or shorts this summer if she still fits in it than a longer dress would. I had originally planned for her to wear her dress over white tights with black patent leather shoes, in classic Easter dress fashion, but the smallest tights I could find were way too big, and the shoes didn't look right over bare feet. At least she had her coordinating headband!

I also made up the bloomer shorts, but I didn't get them done by Easter (see procrastination tendencies above) and I think they look much cuter as a stand-alone item anyway on a baby this small. I can definitely see the whole outfit on a standing (or even crawling) Juniper, but at this blobby-stage of just lying around, the effect is kind of lost.

I used the eyelet for the body and pockets of the shorts, and they are also fully underlined with the coordinating cotton. The waistband, pocket trim, and leg trim are yellow striped cotton by Lecian that matches the seersucker perfectly. I also used this cotton on the cuffs and hem facing of the tunic, as it's a more stable material than the seersucker and I thought that it would be better suited to these trim applications.

I just noticed that the bias stripes on the left legband are slanting the wrong way! I purposefully applied them to the pockets so they were slanting in toward each other, and I meant to do the legs the same way but totally forgot when it came time to sew. Oops! I'm sure no one but me will notice in real life.

So anyway, lest you think I'm being totally unfair- here's some pictures of my other baby too, who didn't get a new Easter outfit this year (again, procrastination) but was happy to run around the backyard in his PJ pants and a sweatshirt to find the Easter Bunny's offerings.

And, since all the candy he scored will likely rot those tiny little baby teeth right out of his head, here's one last look at that adorable toothy grin before it disintegrates:

And lastly, my favorite recent photo of the two of them. Lincoln saw me with the camera and said "Mom, mom! Take our picture! Please!!" This is just one of many that he insisted I take:

You can just see the love, can't you? So sweet. 

And as usual, there are more photos in the Flickr stream if you're so inclined. And official Pattern Review here.