Thursday, February 16, 2012

Favorite items...

I have been sewing regularly for a few years now, and most of my sewing is apparel for my children.  While I love seeing them in mama-made items, there is a downside, too.  Unfortunately, they eventually outgrow the clothes!  And then I have to figure out what to do with the poor, sad, outgrown clothes.  I hate to donate them to the thrift store, I think, because I remember how much time was put into their creation, and how much excitement my children expressed at their new clothes. 

This is all a long way of saying that I have some very favorite items of all the things I have sewed, and today I wanted to show pictures of one of them.  This is a dress I made for Hannah when she was six, and she wore it for two summers, but I think it will be too small by this summer.
Oh, she looks so little in this picture!

The pattern I used for this dress is the Feliz.  It is available as part of the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love.  It is not a pattern for beginner sewists, but it is not impossible, either.  It does require a LOT of yardage.  It has an underdress and overdress that are attached at the bodice.  The best part about this dress is that the many pattern pieces allow for lots of creative fabric mixing and fun embellishment.

Although the pattern doesn't call for this, many people add layers of ruffles at the back, like this:

The ruffles peek out between the panels of the overdress, especially when a little girl jumps and twirls.  And this dress is just made for twirling!

The fabrics I used for this were a mix of designer fabrics (by Anna Marie Horner) as well as some quilting cottons I got at JoAnn Fabrics that brought out the colors I wanted to emphasize.  I try to be really bold with my fabric choices when sewing for kids.  And then... I was lucky enough to find just the perfect ribbon in a bargain bin.  It was pink and turquoise and had birds on it -- all the elements of the dress pulled together by the ribbon!  I used the ribbon to define the bodice seam as well as to finish the hem of the overdress.  I also added a coordinating tag right in the center of the bodice.

If you sew a Feliz yourself, I have 3 recommendations.  First, check out this sewalong, as it is very helpful.  Second, place the straps closer together than indicated on the pattern, as the straps slip off the shoulders otherwise.  You might also want to lengthen it a bit, so your little girl can wear it for an extra year.  This dress looks great at various lengths, so you can get more than one year easily.

I will be so sad to pack this dress away.  It was time consuming, especially due to all the ruffles, and it was expensive, because I splurged on fabrics that I really love.  But, oh, it was worth it because Hannah just adored it! 

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