Monday, May 7, 2012

Oliver & S Tea Party Dress and (Slightly Modified) Playsuit

It is hard to beat the Oliver & S Tea Party pattern for a cute little sundress for a tiny girl.  The pattern is only available digitally now, as it is out of print.  As always, the directions are absolutely impeccable and are basically like a personal sewing lesson from Liesl.

Here is a close-up of the finished product:

I love how this pattern calls for a contrast facing under the hem, and bias tape finish for the elastic casing on the bloomers.  I also really like the piping to call attention to the flared princess seams.

The pattern also includes a playsuit.  I wanted it to be a little more girly, so I made the hem curved and added a pleated trim.

The straps are supposed to be button closure, but I was worried that my little girl would not be able to undress herself to go potty.  So I made a faux button closure with velcro underneath.

Directions for added curved hem and pleated trim

1.  Cut all fabric pieces as directed in the pattern.  Also cut 2 strips of fabric that are 2.5 inches tall and the width of the fabric.  These pieces are for the pleated trim. 

2.  Fold the trim pieces in half lengthwise wrong sides together and press.

3.  Assemble the bodice as directed in the pattern.

4.  Use a plate as a template to trim the bottom of the playsuit into a curved pattern at the outer edge.

5.  Place the front and back of one leg right sides together.  Sew the inseam together.

Then press and topstitch this seam.

6.  Finish the bottom hem edge, including the curves, by serging or zigzagging over it. Also serge the raw edge of the trim pieces.

7.  With raw edges together, right sides facing, sew the trim piece to the curved hem edge of the shorts.  Use your fingers to create little pleats as you feed the fabric under your presser foot.

8.  Press the hem well.  Then topstitch.

9.  Now it is time to sew the outer leg seam.  With the front leg and back leg pieces right sides together, and the raw outer leg edges lined up, serge the seam (or sew with your sewing machine and then zigzag over the raw edge).

Please be careful with this step that you make sure you don't leave the thread tail hanging, as it would show.  Sew just one stitch so that the needle is in the fabric.  Then pull the fabric tail around from the back of the presser foot, around the left side of the presser foot, and back in front of the presser foot and the knife.  Then continue sewing.  This will completely catch the thread tail in the seam, like so:

10.  Press the seam well and topstitch.  It should look like this now:

11.  Repeat steps 5 - 10 for the other leg.  Really, it is much easier and faster than it sounds when I write it all out like this!

12.  Follow the directions in the pattern to sew the crotch seam (the rise seam) by placing one leg inside the other.  (Personally, I like to serge this seam and then press and topstitch it, rather than sewing two lines of stitching on the sewing machine and then finishing the raw edges.)

13.  Then follow the directions in the pattern to attach the bodice to the shorts and finish by attaching buttons or velcro to the straps.

Then put the outfit on your little one and tell her to smile at the camera. 

Then give up and tell her to run and play while madly trying to snap pictures of her that aren't entirely blurry.

Playsuits are for playing, right?

Good thing she is wearing matching bloomers!

Modeling for pictures is sooo hard!
Thanks for reading!  If you have questions, or need a step explained, please, please make a comment and let me know!


  1. Very cute. Love the pleats and the hidden velcro.

    1. Thanks! Buttons are SOOOO far beyond my daughter's abilities at this point that it would have been crazy to just do buttons.


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