Tiny and Handmade
November 12, 2011
Last month I attended a baby shower for a friend who is having her 5th baby, but her very first girl. I had picked up a little white knit sweater from the Goodwill over the summer, but I promised her that I was also making something 'tiny and handmade' for her little girl. Her due date was a week ago, so I decided to finally get down in my basement and sew something.
Usually when I feel like sewing, I don't have a specific vision in mind of what I want to make. I'll often start by looking through my piles of fabric to see if anything jumps out at me. And if I'm sewing for someone else, I try and think if any of my fabric reminds me of the person I'm giving the gift to. I don't have a cute sewing room or anything, but I do have a lot of fabric. Most of it came from the thrift store (sometimes as sheets, but mostly as yardage that was donated), but there are also a couple big bags of clothing that is waiting for a new life. I do buy fabric from regular stores sometimes, but since it's usually a lot more expensive than my other sources, I try and limit myself.
I like making this style of dress for baby girls because after it gets too short to be a dress, it can be worn as a shirt or tunic. It's nice to give things that will last a little longer than 1 month. The pattern that I used for this dress is Butterick 3846, but I modified it. I used the front piece for the cross over pinafore, and then cut the back the same except with a higher neckline and less curved armholes. I also added tabs to the shoulders on the back piece so that they could button in the front. Instead of completely lining the dress, I lined just the top (bodice) and made a hem facing out of some vintage floral fabric that I thought coordinated nicely.
Here is the 'fabric' that I started with. Recognize this skirt Emily? I didn't have a large enough piece to cut out the front and back on the fold, so I added a seam down the middle and topstitched along the seam to add interest, but also to finish the seam nicely on the inside. Courdoroy frays like crazy, so I am really careful to enclose all my seams when I use it (I used french seams on the sides and for the center seam I pressed it open and turned each side under before topstitching it down).
The hem facing was stitched at the top edge by hand, because when I tried to do it on my machine it looked horrible. So I picked it out and sat down with a thread and needle to finish it up. Mr. Carlee helped me select these buttons from my stash of metal buttons. I found a whole bunch at the Salvation Army a few months ago (I plan to show them all to you soon), and these were the perfect finishing touch.
I hope my friend loves this little dress as much as I do. It's certainly nothing fancy, but I love making simple clothing out of high quality fabric and spending time on the details.
I've actually been having a really hard time sewing for this baby that will be coming to my house soon, because I've been feeling the pressure to create perfect and stylish garments that are part of a well planned wardrobe. It's a little ridiculous, I know, but I think I might make a little jumper similar to this one for her, since I love how this turned out so much.