Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hope of Spring

March is a difficult month for me. It's not spring, there is still too much winter left, and I never got to take a spring break trip. That's not exactly true since I did go to Florida on one spring break but that was 1997. The month of March is just a tease with warm days (summer!) and snowfall (still winter!) as we head into April showers and it's just too long until we see those May flowers. What's a girl to do? This March I made little girl dresses in spring colors and styles.

Since I don't have a little girl living in my house I need to find out if the dresses I make stand up to repeated washing and wearing. I do have a niece, several in fact, who have little girls just the right size so I got in touch with Carol in Texas to see if she would be a tester for my creations. Promises were made to let her girls wear them (no saving for Sunday only!) and wash with everything else to determine their durability. She is also going to report how they fit, anything she noticed in their construction or style, and comments from her girls.

Ellen is a size 4 and picked out this lively fabric from a photo I sent via Messenger. Using up my vast quantity of lace was in order so it got lace on the bottom flounce and at the arm opening:

Simplicity 1673 front
It was fun to make since I loved the fabric, and I've made it enough times that I know how to shape the circular yoke to it's a better curve, not "jagged" as can happen if you are not careful. I left the lace edges unattached next to the bodice:
but can just as easily attach them if thinking ahead. The back has only a two button closing so it's fairly easy for Ellen to get dressed by herself:
I know, back looks just like the front!
Here's the little added touch, just for Ellen:
her own little purse to match. Doesn't every little girl need to carry something in her little bag? It would be interesting to see what she puts in it: toys? tissue? lip balm?

With Ellen's dress done so quickly I turned to Ava's dress only to discover I couldn't find my book of dress patterns from a Japanese seamstress. I only had two patterns for a size 6 so I ended up using Simplicity 8029 from 1998. How could I update this pattern from almost 20 years ago? I went to my sewing friend, Ann, who suggested adding a ribbon at the waist, skipping the tie sash in the back, and no little jacket. She approved of the heart cotton lace trim and we discussed where to add it. Here's the result:
Simplicity 8029 in pink for Ava
Here's the detail of the bodice:
Hearts at the top edge with grosgrain ribbon at the waist.
The large repeating pattern of hearts meant I had to adjust the width of the top edge so it would come out even but the bottom edge took no finessing and no half hearts:
Note how the edge is shaped like the heart? I zigzagged the edge of each heart and cut away the fabric. How will it stand up to multiple washings? That's what Carol is going to tell me, I hope! Not to be outdone, my husband said if I made a purse for one I would have to make a purse for both. He's right so here's Ava's purse:
I bet Ava knows exactly what she's going to put in her bag and she's going to tell you all about it! All went in the mail on Friday morning while we had cold temps and a biting kind of rain shower. This morning I woke up to snow on the ground. Yup, I needed to think spring and put my hands on something that would suggest warmer days ahead. For Ava and Ellen, Texas should be much warmer so go ahead and wear those dresses, sending spring up north to Minnesota. I think your warm smiles are all I would need!

Since this is a blog about sewing machines I should tell you which ones I used. When straight and zigzag stitching was needed I relied on my Viking 1100 and for most of the seaming I used my new Bernina 1100DA serger. I like to serge the seams on anything that's going to get laundered repeatedly and the Bernina performed flawlessly. Yes, the Huskylock 1000L is going to be sold as the Bernina is my number one serger. Sorry, Viking, but you were just a little too fussy and your stitches were good but not spectacular. I will miss the electronic display, though, but the Bernina is just easier. Am I fickle? Probably, but isn't that just one of the perks of buying, restoring, and reselling these vintage sewing machines? You bet it is!

1 comment:

TJ said...

Love that you have test washers out there to check your durability!! Awesome...Love it.