Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Completed: Small Girl Dress - Selfless Sewing!

I actually finished this before my Fall for Cotton blouse, but didn't get round to posting it at the time. This one was a little longer in the making. Other than my sew-fest the other Friday, I've been really only sewing at my class for a couple of hours a week recently. But this was enough to have managed to complete this dress for my niece's birthday at the end of September.

I made Butterick B4176, and yes, again I made it in Liberty Tana Lawn. This is becoming a bit of an obsession.

I made view B, which is the pink dress above with the cap sleeves.

 Isn't it cute?! As the tana lawn is fairly lightweight and we are headed into autumn, I underlined it with black cotton voile. Black wasn't my preferred choice, but it was all they had and actually it looks OK now that it's made up. The double layer of fabric made the pleats a bit bulky but with a bit of pressing and some steam they flattened themselves down and behaved nicely.

As you can see, I used little turquoise buttons - those at the front are decorative and there is one with a fabric loop, made from bias binding, for fastening at the back neck. The pattern suggested a thread loop but I felt that would be too fiddly when trying to get a wriggly 2 year old dressed in the morning.

The dress was really straightforward in it's construction. Nothing difficult at all. I French seamed the insides, and overlock stitched the sleeves. I hand stitched the hem and also the turned back seams at the back opening.  The neckline is faced with bias binding and the sleeves finished with a turned up seam encasing elastic. This part proved problematic, as the pattern instructions called for me to measure the arm to gauge the length of elastic required. Straightforward yes, but not if you are making this dress as a surprise! Small Boy was called into action as a stand in. Although he is over a year older, I figured their arms wouldn't be too different, and I was right!

The buttons were flat, but I decided to give the one at the back a thread shank, just to help with looping that fabric loop over. I hadn't done this before, but found a kirby grip (bobby pin?) a great help!

 As this wasn't for me, I took extra care - why do we do that? Are we not good enough for our "best" sewing? - and as a result am really pleased with the dress. Unfortunately I kind of usurped Gran's present! My niece arrived at my parents (same day as I wore my Fall for Cotton blouse) wearing her present from Gran - a lovely Boden dress - which lasted until we arrived, our present was opened and Auntie Helen's dress was duly tried on. And stayed on for the rest of the day! So, obviously it was a success!

So, making small clothes versus making adult clothes? Less fabric is nice. It was cheaper (I only used about 70cm of each fabric), and I was able to cut it out on the table, instead of the floor, which was wonderful. It was quicker to make due the smaller seams. But on the downside, it was more fiddly. I found setting the sleeves in much harder because there was less room to manoeuvre. The pattern had me set in the sleeves last, but if I were to make this again, I would leave the back seam to last. I think this would make setting the sleeves that bit easier.

As a parting shot, here is the little lady herself, modelling it.



  1. Gah! This is adorable!!!!!!!!

  2. So cute! I love how little fabric the little sizes use!

  3. So cute! I made the top version of this dress in the summer for my daughter, unfortunately she refuses to wear it but it is really sweet on the hanger...!


  4. Absolutely adorable! Makes me wish I had a little girl to sew for.

  5. Cute little dress and what a wonderful model!

  6. Glad she liked it. I've been nervous of sewing for my daughter she is almost 1.5 years because of the fiddly-ness you described re: sleeves, collars etc. But so cute think I may have to give it a go.

    1. It is more fiddly, but it's also a much quicker make. You should give it a go (maybe just with some cheap fabric first!).

  7. What a lovely gift! I'm not surprised it stayed on the rest of the day :) You've got me all nostalgic for little girl sewing now!

  8. That's a lovely dress, tana lawn is so nice to work with isn't it? :)

    1. Yes it's gorgeous to work with. I love it!


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