Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Habitat

A special girl in my life recently had her first birthday. Since I know her mama appreciates handmade things, I decided to whip up a fun little outfit that she could wear right now in the hottest and stickiest part of the year. But while Miss V is all cuteness and fun, she’s not really in to the pink frills like my Kitty. She has a sophisticated modern taste and her wardrobe reflects this. To attain the hip aesthetic needed here, I again turned to Habitat by Philly designer Jay McCarroll. 

As a rule, I don’t choose a very bold or large prints for baby clothes. But sometimes, an unexpected large scale can be interesting. And in small does, the effect can be striking. The Oliver andS Ruffled Halter is a canvas suitable for something larger in scale. The large ruffles are cut on the bias, which tempers the boldness of the rich fabric. The abstract nature of the print "drop cloth" makes the large scale more palatable on a small child.  Mostly, though, it’s the big personality of this little lady that makes the whole thing work.

Like all Oliver and S patterns, this one is clever and clear. Although it’s a free pattern, it lacks none of their trademark attention to detail. I made some very small changes. For one, I hemmed the edges of the ruffles using my narrow hem foot, rather than let them fray as the pattern suggests. Also, I used a solid cotton voile for the base layer of the top. It’s hot and sticky here and since this fabric is just a little thicker and stiffer than I would normally put on a small child, I wanted to reduce the overall bulk. The pattern came together quickly and easily. The construction is unusual, so don't adlib the instructions. With French seams at the sides, the entire thing is neatly finished inside and out. 

I paired the ruffled halter with the Puppet Show shorts in a natural linen from my stash. The linen picks up a minor color in the drop cloth print tones down the overall boldness of the outfit. This combination is perfect for a new toddler who still spends time crawling. Dresses – cute as they are – just get in the way right now. This pairing accommodates her activity, but doesn’t sacrifice in cuteness or girly charm. Also, I think she’ll be able to wear it under a little cardigan once the weather cools.

I’m pleased to report that the gift was a huge hit with both the birthday girl and her mama. I was very happy to receive these pictures demonstrating how perfectly this ensemble suits Miss V!  It’s such a great feeling when a project comes together like this.

photos (and model) by Amanda Hall Studios


  1. Thanks for visiting the blog Melanie. I love the ruffle top and also think the Habitat fabric is a master touch! (I've been thinking of using some of that myself for kiddy clothes, am glad you agree it works!)

  2. The design is a perfect match for Miss V - a very creative pairing, Melanie! I love how you finished off the ruffles and managed to make the top even more cool in this Philadelphia heat. Viv loves rocking this outfit in the big city :)

  3. Thank you! I'm so glad you all liked it.