Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Even though I didn't finish last weekend, once I got past the tricky French seams on those tiny little arms, the rest of it came together nicely. However, we have so little good light these days, I had a hard time getting some nice pictures. Please excuse the bad lighting. I hope to do a better job with that soon.

So here it is: the Oliver + S Playdate Dress in a chambray from Robert Kaufmann with facings in a quilting cotton  from my scrap bin. I think the chambray gives the dress a more casual feel than it would otherwise have, but the little bit of floral peeking out keeps it delicate. I was quite pleased with my fabric choices and halfway through cutting out when I saw that actually, Liesl had done exactly that already, which I must have known and copied without realizing it. Oh, well, if Liesl chose it, it must be in good taste. I took her suggestion to cut the ruffles on the bias and let them fray naturally. I also took several inches off the total length, but for different reasons. I expect baby will be wearing this while learning to crawl, so I didn't want it to be too long and interfere with her movement.

Here is a peek at the lovely hem facing.

And the matching hem facing.

  Matching bloomers and two bibs complete the ensemble. Bibs are a necessary evil. Babies drool and get wet and uncomfortable. And my princess is a champion spitter, so the bibs are definately necessary. Big box stores sell only tacky utilitarian ones and nice stores don't always sell matching bibs. A beneft of a custom wardrobe is that baby gets cute and servicable.
The bloomers are from the Tea Party Sundress pattern and go together very easily. I thought about making the Puppet Show shorts like many in the Flickr groups have done, but opted for quicker. After all, the baby doesn't really need pockets just yet. The bloomers are economical in their layout, so I was able to eek them out of scraps, though I had to finish with store bought bias. I used all French seams to finish the bloomers and it worked well.

Note that the pattern piece for the leg opening bias trim is generous. For the 6-12month size bloomer, I needed only 16" of trim for each opening.
This is the first time I've made the playdate dress, but not my first Oliver + S pattern. They are, of course, known for their attention to detail and their helpful instructions. This design is as charming as the others, though there are fewer suggestions for neat seam finishes than some Oliver + S patterns. I wasn't sure what to do with the inside yoke seam, for example. After giving the yoke itself so much attention and finishing it with the floral facing, I of course didn't want the raw edges of the dress bodice sticking out. One option might have been binding that seam.  There is some bulk in that area, though, especially if you added the optional flat piping, so you would need a very fine material for binding. In the end, I opted for a quicker fix and simply folded the raw edge under and stitched it to itself.

The many details - the yoke, the hem facing, the ruffles, the piping, the sweet pleats at the cuffs and in front - keep this from being a simple pattern. However, those details are precisely what make the dress so charming. Also, as you can see, I streamlined the design somewhat by skipping the piping and buttons and simplifying the ruffles and don't think I sacrificed on charm. I would love to do this again in a more formal fabric with all details included. I recommend a fabric with drape rather than a quilting cotton. Lawn, voile or linen would be lovely. Also, pressing this small size, with the pleats and gathered sleeves is a tricky business. A fabric that looks nice rumpled or that doesn't need much pressing would be a good idea.

Next up in my spring sewing pile is a pair of Ice Cream tunics, with either bloomers or shorts.

[edited to add: Be absolutely sure to try the yoke on your child before finishing the center back. The head opening is very tight and you may need to make adjustments.]
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1 comment:

  1. I really really love this dress! It's simplicity is what makes it so lovely - well done!