If you read French then here's the blog post that I am wholesale plagiarising: Comme des enfants
If not, then read on, and I'll explain...
I also fell for this fabric back in 2011 when it came out. It is, of course, Children At Play - On Parade, by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics. I bought maybe 2.5 yards of it, knowing that I would have to compulsively pattern match any seams, then stashed it away and thought too much about how to use it.
Meanwhile two things happened. Firstly I started to completely move away from sewing with quilting cottons. Secondly I saw versions of this fabric everywhere. Like really, everywhere. Some treatments of the dress were nice, others were just too frou frou for me.
And so, I started to look down my nose at this overly girly, childish quilting cotton...
When I saw Nanou's Library dress and read her blog (which I'm now quoting back at you!) I figured I too had to face up to cutting this fabric before my daughter was too grown up to consider wearing it.
I also knew, that while she might not like the Bubble Dress I'd just made, she would love this party dress. We were planning a little surprise birthday party for her, and I figured this would be the dress that she could spill cake on and play in without me getting all uptight!
So, I was given the pattern inspiration on a plate, but of course I had to complicate things...
Firstly, I wanted to cut the skirt as one piece to avoid having to match side seams. Also I cut it as a straight rectangle without the pattern's slightly curved hem. It loses a little bit of it's gentle shape, but it's the only way to treat a border print.
Of course, if there was only going to be one seam, at the back, it would have to be pattern matched:
So, my rectangle skirt was cut to an arbitrary length in order to match the print. That meant I had to increase the depth of each pleat by about 3/8 of an inch. I wrote the maths down, but I forget the exact numbers now.
I couldn't decide between the orange/white spots or the aqua/pink spots for the belt, so without thinking through the consequences I decided to do the bias flat piping in order to use both...
In my head I was going to sew the bodice side seams then attach the skirt. That would have been easy but for the need to have that little bit of flat piping facing down. I muddled through, and while I can hardly describe how, here are a few in progress pictures in case someone else is attempting the same thing (don't would be the best advice!)
The buttons were chosen by A herself when we were in the backrooms of Buttonmania at one of their Monday sale days. Nice and sparkly for a party dress!
The pattern is the Library Dress by Oliver + S. It was my first time sewing this dress and if only I hadn't over complicated it, I'd be able to say it's a delight to sew.
With the exception of the fuller skirt it's basically a straight size 5 and I love the fit and the bodice. Such a gorgeous shaped dress.
Both kids enjoyed looking in detail at the border print and chose their favourite character. Curiously, they both picked the same one; a little red haired girl.
Since I was so careful to cut my fabric to avoid any seams I'm afraid I have quite a lot left over. In hindsight I should have just chopped it so that I had seams, matched the print and left nothing behind. Maybe I need to take up quilting, or perhaps just give it away and be done with it.
Apart from not messing with patterns I have learnt my lesson not to be swayed by public enthusiasm for fabrics that really just aren't my thing.
Or maybe not, 'cause she does really like it...
Pattern: Library Dress - Oliver + S
Fabric: Children at Play and quilting cottons to match from GJ's
Buttons: Clear plastic with silver dots Buttonmania