Friday, August 24, 2012

Brilliant basics: sizing

It's naptime here on Granny Lane, so while Nicole is sleeping, I'd like to talk about something I see people frequently asking questions about on the 'net--pattern sizes.

Pattern sizing and RTW sizing aren't related.  I can see the skeptical looks now, but it's true.  Just because they're in 24 month clothing doesn't mean they're in pattern size 2, and it does not equate to 2T.  The same follows for pretty much every pattern size!  For example, my sister, Sarah, is a size 4 in RTW, but a size 8 in patterns.  Grace is in 5T and starting to get into 6 in RTW, but she's a pattern 3 on the cusp of getting into 4s.  Ready-to-wear sizing differs by company and while to a certain extent, this is true in pattern sizing, due to the fact that patterns are all about measurements, it's slightly closer to universal. The Big 4 patterns are fairly standardized, and many independent companies use the same system for convenience. 

Last year, Oliver + S released measurement charts.  (Available for free download here.)  I'm only posting these because they do show some basic measurements--but I find them incomplete.  Especially if you're using a vintage pattern.

My first vintage pattern had me laughing at the instructions.  Grace was barely 2 at the time, and hated being measured.  And they recommended a tissue fitting.  Riiight.  Like that's gonna happen!  At that age, measuring her usually involved tantrums.  Nicole is better about it, but that's because I learned from Gracie and started measuring her when she was tiny, so she's used to it! Another common instruction is "fit the sleeve to the child's arm" because in vintage at least, cuffs were meant to be custom cut and often don't have a separate pattern piece.

Let's talk about what these charts have listed.  We'll skip the name, though if you have more than one kid, it probably needs labeled! ;)  Height isn't really useful.  Instead of height, I'd recommend measuring the child's torso--that is, neck to crotch, neck to knee, and neck to ankleChest, waist, hip, outseam, and inseam are all useful, as is arm length.  However, if you're doing short sleeves, you also need shoulder to elbow and if you want to make sure that it fits in the shoulders, you need neck to shoulder, and shoulder to shoulder.  To be thorough, you need the front and the back because as kids grow, their back gets a bit bigger than the front.  It's why "child" patterns are an inch or so bigger in back than they are in front.   For babies, weight is useful, because like RTW, sizing is all done by weight.  However, that doesn't mean that you don't need measurements for them, too!  Because of elastic, you'll need an upper thigh measurement, a waist measurement, and an upper arm measurement.  If it's long sleeved, you also need a wrist measurement and if you're making a hat, a head measurement as well!

It all depends on what you're making.  For shorts and skirts, it's incredibly useful (and necessary) to know waist to knee (or hip to knee depending on where your child wears it.)   Neck is a good measurement to have too, especially if you're sewing vintage!  Shoes size, well, if you're making slippers, I suppose it's good to know, but for the most part, unnecessary. 

What to look for in pattern measurements

Most patterns have finished measurements on the envelope.  These are very important for length!  You have to know how long something is going to be to know if it's too long or too short for your intended recipient.  I tend to follow the carpenter's rule--measure twice and cut once!   

In vintage patterns, dresses were short.  Right now, Grace needs a minimum of 16 inches in a shirt.  Sixteen inches hits somewhere around her hip, which leaves a little bit of growth space.  Most vintage patterns in her size have a finished length of 17 inches.  Which means that if I made it without alteration, everybody would be able to see which pair of My Little Pony panties she wore that day!  Pattern alteration, however, is a topic for another day. 

If you're using an independent pattern company, the sizing may differ from Big 4 sizing.  That means that you might need to measure the pattern itself to make sure of fit.  For say, bodices and shirts, you measure the widest point and then subtract the seam allowances and 2" for wearing ease. Do it for the front and back, add them together, and you have a general idea if it'll fit.  While not perfect, it's your best bet for guessing sizes!  I would also recommend measuring shoulder seams and comparing them to shoulder measurement just in case they need adjustment, and to check things like cuffs and collars.  The shoulder seam measurement is something I do with Big 4 patterns, too. 

Grace won't wear clothing from vintage patterns unless I adjust the neck holes.  As time has passed, necklines on children's clothing has gotten to be looser instead of right up against the neck.  I think it must feel like it's choking her, because she'll tell you the whole thing is too tight if the neckline isn't adjusted. 

As a seamstress/sewist the first rule is to ignore everything you know about RTW sizing because chances are if you make a pattern in the same size as RTW, the wearer will drown in fabric!  Pattern sizing doesn't correlate with age, either--Nicole measures a size 1/2 (that's six months!) in patterns and she's almost 16 months old.  Gracie was in pattern 2s until she was 3 1/2, and it's looking like she'll stay in 3s until she's 4 1/2!  In short, it's the measurements that matter if you want your hard work to actually be useful clothing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Tonight or tomorrow, I'll start sewing together Nicole's dress.  It's been cut out since last weekend, but I've yet to sew a stitch.  In my defense, I'm sick--I got a scrape on the back of my worst leg and the whole leg is infected.  I've been spending my time when not taking care of the girls sleeping and choking down a couple monster antibiotics a day.  Just part of the joys of living with my condition.

Tomorrow, I'll be choosing the pattern for my next project.  Matching outfits again--  Bubble skirts out of the pink, glittery fabric, and pink knit tops with glitter wand patches on them front and center.  Hopefully, I'll have enough pink knit left for some leggings for Nikki.

I have some family news, but I don't have permission to share it yet.  And Joanna found a picture of a costume that she'd like me to make my own version of it!  I'd post the picture, but it's not of my child, so I won't.  It's an owl costume and luckily, there's a Simplicity pattern out this year that will make a good base.  I told her that I might enlist her help to cut out all the feathers! 

Grace is fairly adamant about wanting to be Little Red Riding Hood.  We'll see--Joanna got several costumes last year 90% off at Target, and she still has the Tangled dress.  Granted Tangled might not fit by Halloween anymore, but we're going to try and talk her into what we've already got.  If not, I have most of the materials, anyway!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A frustrating weekend

Do y'all remember Richard's frog? I'd located perfectly white and green coordinated fabric for it--the underside was white with green polka dots, and the top is green with white polka dots.  I over bought and thought I had enough left to make Nicole a new dress.

I knew I had to do something two-tone, so I went through my pattern collection and found McCalls 4424.  I'd fallen in love with it when Grace was a baby, but couldn't make it because she'd just outgrown the infant sizes.  I've been sitting on it for two and a half years, waiting until I had a baby to wear it!  So I started cutting it out Friday, only to discover that I didn't have enough fabric. 

Made a trip to the fabric store and bought just enough... of the wrong green.  Went back yesterday and finally got the right green and finished cutting it out.  And it only took me two days.  Being as it's Sunday, I haven't started sewing it together yet, but here's to hoping that it won't be as bad as cutting it out was!  (I also forgot to label the pieces.  Let's hope that I don't get them mixed up since so many are same-y and then have to redo the whole danged thing!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Totally Thrifted

Another Saturday in August, another (well 2) consignment sale down.  We have two left in my area--one in two weeks, and the last in the middle of September.  The thrift stores around here stink most of the time.  I read about other people's finds and drool because I never find things like fabric or vintage patterns in these parts!  Clothes used to be more fun, before the economy went into the crapper.  The South is historically the first hit, hardest hit, and last to recover from these things!  So anyway, consignment seasons--May and August--are my big time for thrifted clothes and toys for the kids.  I didn't manage pictures of the brand-new coat and two dresses we scored for Nicole on Thursday.  What can I say?  Cranky kids and really, I spent too much for what I go do to whiny kiddos and Gracie getting mad because I wouldn't buy her a little toy that she doesn't need!  I did garner some weird looks when I told her to want in one hand and spit in the other and see which one gets full first.   I was once again, "Mean Aunt Laura"--a title I hold with pride!  So anyway, let's go back to last week's finds.

This is a size 6 sweater for Gracie.  She has a bad track record with sweaters because she usually deems them too "itchy" to wear.  But this one is incredibly soft, so we have hopes.  :) And for $1.50, what do we have to lose?

This is a size 5 Carriage Boutique dress.  It didn't photograph extremely well, but it's a cute brown corduroy jumper with rosebuds embroidered on it, and the shirt is pink with brown polka dots.  This one was expensive at $10, but they weren't going to mark it down, was it was a matter of buying it then or waiting for it to disappear!  (And, well, I know the brand and it's an expensive one!)

Our last and best find was a Zero Xposur coat for Grace.  It's a 5/6 and looks barely worn--which, considering the lack of last winter, isn't really surprising!  I piddled around the internet and located it.  It was an $80 coat. 

Originally, it came with fleece mittens and a scarf.  Now the mittens weren't there, but it's a warm looking coat and in Grace's favorite colors--purple and pink.

And for $10, there wasn't a chance of leaving it behind! 

Y'all have seen Nikki's new dress and coat, so all that's left is the lightweight jacket that had jeans with it.  It's huge compared to her now, but, well, babies grow.

And while we're mainly working with what handmedowns we have from Grace, this was one of the cute things that followed me home.  ;) At least this year we've got the handmedowns--last year we didn't because they were ruined in the 2009 flood! 

I've got more to share with y'all, but as there aren't any sales next week, I figure that I can take a bit of time.  Happy thrifting!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Horsehair braid (CRIN)

This week, I finally got around to a project that I've been planning for a year--Simplicity 1703 from the 50s.  I loved the idea of a pinafore dress that could double as a sundress, and Grace has been asking for an "apron dress" since around last year, too.  In fact, I had to locate a size 3 when Bit suddenly grew because all I had was a 2.  (I'm looking for a 4 now.  ;) We like this pattern!)

I paired it with turquoise cotton/poly batiste for the pinafore/sundress and Moda Girlie Girl stripes for the dress itself.

IRL, the colors are more vibrant than this picture.  We love the drama!  And so, I bought extra fabric because the stripes run vertically down the fabric, but the pattern should be horizontal.

I know that you're not "supposed" to use quilting fabric for apparel, but I've found that the so-called "designer" brands are good quality fabrics with just as good hand and drape as "apparel" fabrics.  I did my standard adjustments--widening the neckline and lengthening the dress.

I heard about horsehair braid from Gertie.  And well, this is a typical 50s dress in that it has a wiiiidddeee skirt.  Horsehair braid used to be just that--horse hair in a complicated braid that was used to stiffen hemlines of skirts so you didn't have to wear as many petticoats underneath.  Now it's made from polyester, but it serves the same purpose.  The wider the braid, the more dramatic the effect.  I used 2" braid on this dress. From what I've hear, it works extremely well on full-circle skirts, but it worked pretty well here, too.

I didn't spread the skirts out here--they're doing it all by themselves.  While it's recommended to topstitch the hems with this stuff, I didn't do it.  My mom could have actually worn this dress--she was born in 1945, and it came in a big enough size that my Grandmother could have made it for her!  Mom and Grandma were old school and taught me the sewing basics and they always said that a topstitched hem was a sign of cheaply made garbage and hand hems were a sign of quality, so I almost always hand hem things.  If you do that with horsehair braid, though, you need to go through the string that's woven in the CRIN.

The color is a little off here--my camera broke and I'm not used to the one I borrowed yet.  Gracie liked it as a sundress, which is good, since it's too hot still for her to wear both.  This is something of a transition dress--I expect it to fit until it gets cold and I finish winter dresses.

She also loved the pockets.  It was a mess to get them in the right place! The original placement was too high, and when I moved the down by the amount I lengthened the skirt, they were too low.  We finally had to try it on with them pinned in place to get it right.  And, of course, Grace pitched a fit because of the pins in it!  Didn't matter that it was finished except for the hem and pockets--it had pins in the pockets and was therefore evil!

She said it was comfy because of the wide skirt.  I made sure to lengthen it enough to keep away undies flashes.  And this one is definitely for church, not play!

Joanna loves the way they look together, and so do I. She says that it reminds her of Alice in Wonderland. I think the newer Johnny Depp version was more brightly colored than the original, and if Grace grows before Halloween, I'll offer to whip up an Alice costume. Can't let that blonde hair go to waste!

I'll probably go closer to the Disney version, though, and go more with the Tenniel illustrations with the Disney colors. 
  In the meantime, though, I think this one turned out very well, and Grace loves it!  Perhaps Nicole would like an "Apron dress" for winter, too!

One detail that I thought was fun was the sash on the back of the pinafore.   I slimmed down the darting a bit  and there's room to move the buttons over to give her a bit more space, but right now it fits very, very well!

The bows I had laying around and kept just for this because they're a perfect match to the pinafore, and the trim is jacquard ribbon that I sourced from ebay.  I'll probably be sending the tights and shoes home soon because she's starting to get into size 11 shoes.  *sigh* My baby girl is growing up so fast.....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tutorial: chemically set pleats

Some may have noticed that I've been doing lots of pleated things lately.  It started with the first skirt for Skirting the Issue, and then while I was at it, I made Grace's first day of school dress and I just finished Nicole's latest outfit.  While it's not--exactly--possible to have no maintenance pleats with natural fibers, it is possible to make them easy to reset after washing.  Most commercially pleated garments--those with permanent pleats that don't require maintenance--are made from polyesters and other artificial materials.  Cotton, linen, and rayon are fairly easy to set pleats into, but they will require the pleats being "reset" when you iron them before wearing.  However, if you simply iron the pleats after washing, the pleat lines will be gone and make it very hard to reset them correctly.

I know of two methods of setting in the pleats.  1)There is a commercially available product.  I'm told it's a special chemically-treated press cloth.  2)Use what's in your kitchen!  Bear with me, and I'll explain. 

I always use #2 because, well, I'm cheap.  Why should I go and spend money when I have the equivalent in my kitchen cupboards?  Okay, your first step is to mark the pleat lines, fold the fabric into pleats, and pin it.  One hint--this is a lot easier if your fabric has a regular pattern, like stripes and dots--you have straight lines already practically in front of you, making it easy to get your pleats straight.

Next, start basting.  I prefer doing this by hand, as it's both easier to pull out, and less likely to leave marks on the fabric.  Once you've basted the front, turn the fabric over.

Baste the back.  This will keep your pleat lines from slipping as we press them.  Remember, our goal here is clean, crisp pleat lines. 

Here we are with it all basted.  The next step requires what's in your kitchen cupboards. 

Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of plain tap water and soak a press cloth in it.  I use a cloth napkin.

Wring out the press cloth until it's not drippy.

Lay the cloth over your first pleat and press it--don't move the iron.  Steam should rise from it.  When the cloth is barely damp, remove it, and put it back in your vinegar/water solution. 

Iron the pleat dry.  Now, repeat the process on the rest of the pleats.  Finish sewing the garment, leaving the hem for the last.  Once you have it sewn together, remove the basting stitches and hem.  Now you're going to have to reset the pleats during the final ironing.  This will put the lines into the hem, and I count it as extra insurance. 

Simply lay the garment on your ironing board and lay the pleats in place before repeating.  You really only have to do this on the bottom, but as I said--it's insurance.  The pleat lines will now hold up without help through three-four washings, but since if you're like me, I have to iron cotton things to get the wrinkles out, you'll want to press your pleats after washing.  The vinegar part doesn't have to be redone.

Enjoy your garment!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

One more summer dress for Nikki

I chose the pattern for this based on the amount of fabric I had!  It really wasn't my intention to do another pleated dress at first, but I needed a dress for Nikki that only took a yard of fabric and included a diaper cover. 

So I went through my collection, checking every pattern I had in Nikki's size for one that fit my requirements, and stumbled across Butterick 3782.  The construction is simple--even with pleats and the zipper in the back!

I did make a change--I decided to bind off the hem, neckhole, and armhole in self-made bias tape instead of following the pattern instructions.

 To be honest, the finished result is a tad big on Nikki, but I was worried that it might be, as she's at the bottom end of the sizing spectrum.  It's why I decided that the knit jacket was a must--this way, she can wear it into fall as she grows into it.  Funnily enough, the worst part was finding the embroidered appliques for the jacket.  They simply don't make them in blue anymore and pink would have looked badly out of place on a blue, white, and green dress.  But blue is Nikki's color--she looks great in it!  I ended up locating them on Etsy.  They're from 1963, according to the packaging, and they're attached to the paper with little metal ringey-thingies that I couldn't get off, so they're sewn permanently into the garment.

The ruffle is a little hard to see here, but it's my SIL's favorite feature.  I actually had to unpick it once, because I'd managed to sew it on crooked and thus had to fix it later.  I also added some blue and white whipstitch piping to the waist because it looked like it needed it to me.  :)

 I don't think the original pattern meant the pleats to be pressed-in, but I figure if I'm going to the trouble to have pleats, I might as well press 'em in!  I'm planning on doing a tutorial on that tomorrow because there's a trick to making the pleat lines stay in so you can see where they are to reset them when you iron natural-fiber garments.

The thing I wasn't really happy about with this one was the fact that it has a zipper.  I hate setting in zippers with a vengeance.  In times past, I've got to extraordinary lengths to avoid doing them.  But I didn't have the fabric to do that this time, so putting in the zipper was a necessary evil.  I also sewed a hook and eye at the top binding over the zipper to hook the neckline in place. 

I missed taking pictures on Nikki in it, but she loves the jacket and actually willingly put it on.  And as anyone else with a fifteen-month-old child can attest to, clothing and getting dresses is tantamount to torture!  They'd much rather run around naked then allow you to dress them!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Skirting the Issue

I've been meaning to post about these.  When I heard about Skirting the Issue, I wanted to participate--my uncle was a foster child, you see, so it was important to me that I make up a couple skirts and send them in.  When they asked for skirts for older girls, especially, I knew exactly the pattern I wanted to use.  It's Butterick 4593.  I simply lengthened it to knee length according to the provided size charts and let Grace choose the fabric.  She was insistent that it have pink on it somewhere, and we managed to talk her into a fabric that was a bit more grownup than the fabric she picked first.

I have to admit that it was also the start of my pleat kick!  You might recognize the ribbon from Gracie's scalloped sundress, and the fabric from last year's entry into the vintage contest.  I overbought last year, and used up the leftovers in this project.  The organza from the bottom was bought out of the $1.95 section on sometime last year to avoid paying shipping.  Anything $35 and over ships for free, and I will always choose fabric over shipping costs!  I wanted something that was both pretty and feminine, and this was the result.  The pattern reviews were mixed on this one, with most claiming that it was a difficult pattern.  I have to say that I didn't find it to be that way at all--it went together smoothly and easily even for me, who hates installing zippers!

I wasn't so lucky with my second skirt.  This is the main picture for McCall's 6598.  While the circle skirt might be fine, and the leggings pattern certainly is, the tiered skirts pattern is awful!  I wanted to do a tiered skirt, because I've seen a lot of different versions both on kids and in stores lately.  I decided on doing a three-tier skirt in little girl sizes and was disappointed.  Notice how all the tiers look even.  This is just not so in the real pattern.  And as I label all my pattern pieces when they look alike as a matter of course, this isn't seamstress error, either.  (I checked when it didn't work, and I'd cut out the right pieces, too)

On any sort of tiered skirt, the bottom ruffle(s) attach to a top "stay".  On most patterns, they go together without issue but not so on this one!  The circumference of the bottom of the stay is wider than the circumference of the top of the bottom ruffle pieces.  If I make this in Gracie's size, I might try eliminating the stay piece all together because I'm fairly sure it would look closer to the pattern if I did!  The instructions insist you need it, but the finished result just doesn't look like it should.  It's not that it isn't attractive--it's just not what I wanted!

Gracie helped choose fabric for this one, too.  She desperately wanted to help, because she was shocked at the idea of little girls who didn't have families like she has.  My family and my sister-in-law's family have both made the effort to stay close, so Gracie and Nikki have a large extended family around them, too.  And the idea of someone who didn't have that made her want to cry.  So that she could help, we made picture "books" entitled "The Story of Your Skirt".  I know it's really too young for the recipients, but it satisfied my four-year-old and will hopefully make the girls feel more special.

Today is the last day for submissions for the Skirting the Issue project and the Elizabeths have collected triple their goal for skirt donations.  Part of me hopes that this will be an annual event like Make and Mend.  (Which I did participate in, but didn't post about because  nobody wants to see my mended undies!)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Totally Thrifted Thursday.

It's consignment season here in Georgia again. For those who don't know, about twice a year, preschools and consignment organizations hold sales where you can get new and gently used kids' clothes for a fraction of their retail prices. They usually run Thursday-Saturday, and it's standard for Saturday to be 1/2 price day. It's worth it, though to go the first day, because you can miss some fantastic deals otherwise. And if there's something you're specifically looking for, like coats, you have to go the first day, because that sort of thing disappears quickly. The best I ever found was a pair of jeans and six tops for Gracie for $1.50. Yeah, they're second hand, but so what? Wash 'em and they're good as new. You do have to be picky (which I am), but it's possible to get beautiful clothing that's barely worn this way. For the next few weeks, anyway, I'll be sharing my finds--preferably on Thursdays when I'm child-free!

This is a three piece set--a diaper cover, sleeveless dress, and a coat.  Great for church on Sunday, and it looks like it was hung in a closet and never actually worn.  Yay consignment!  If I went to Macy's, I'm pretty sure I could find something like this, but I'd sure pay more for it there than the $1 I paid for it at the consignment sale!  Can't make 'em for that!

The coat is actually collarless and  it's a four-button coat.  The collar we can see is from the dress:

Consignment sales are actually better for baby clothes than any other size, so in a way this wasn't a surprising find, though the price was!  This is 18-24 months, so it's a little big for Nikki right now, but hey, kiddos grow, and I just couldn't pass it up!

Now this isn't the only purchase I made today, but I figure to only share one at a time...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sewing lessons

I don't remember a time when I couldn't sew.  When I was three, my grandmother stuck a needle in my hand and started teaching me to make stitches via chicken scratch embroidery.  (Example to the right.)  There are advantages to learning this way--the stitches are a regular size and have to be consistent to get a nice-looking result.  From there, I moved on to regular embroidery, then cross stitch, and from there, sewing clothing.  Like Gracie, I was gathering up scrap fabric and begging for help in making doll clothes from them.  By the time I was a teenager, I was making some of my own clothes.  Not many, mind you, because we simply didn't have the disposable income to spend on fabric store trips.  But by the time I was seventeen, I could competently make both pants and dresses, as long as the pants were looser-fitting.  (It was the 90s, anyway, and baggy pants were no problem!)

I didn't sew much in college because I had a lack of access to a machine.  I made a few rag dolls and tied quilts as presents, but didn't really start sewing until necessity drove me to it.  I mean, I couldn't buy pants that fit over my lower legs anymore, so I had to start making them!  Then we got kiddos and I started sewing for them.   And now Gracie, who has watched me make things for her and her sister and cousins her entire life, wants to learn.

I didn't start her off with embroidery (she doesn't have the patience for it), but with working with a pattern and grainlines because she started begging when I was cutting out.  And truthfully, she wants to make clothes--just like Aunt Laura.  Every time I cut out when she's here , we go over how to pin (we're still working on that due to fine motor coordination!) and what the arrows on patterns need to line up with.  I've allowed her to help cut with my hand over hers, because, frankly, my sewing scissors are too heavy for her, and she's not an accurate cutter yet.  Last week, we learned how to make hand basting stitches because I was doing pleats (tutorial to come).  She's chosen both fabric and patterns for projects, and with her standing between my legs, she's sewn her own seams.  I have a small sewing machine that I bought at a yard sale that I'm keeping for when she gets a little older.  I figure I'll take it to my fixit guy for a tune up and then give it to her sometime next year.  Soon, we're going to start making clothes to fit her dolls together.  Maybe four is too young, but she wants to learn.  In the meantime, I'm keeping an eye out for vintage hand-crank toy machines.  Considering the fact that she's inherited mine, my mom's and her mom's lack of grace, I'm a little unwilling to let her just have at on a powered machine!

So what age do you start teaching a child to sew?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another summer dress

I've been meaning to post about this one for a week, but the back-to-school sewing (of which I'm not done with yet because Gracie could use some school clothes) got in the way!  I found this one sometime last winter and decided that Gracie had to have a scalloped shoulder-tie sundress.  And lucky, lucky me, I had the perfect fabric!  See, I'd fallen in love with the Robert Kaufman Vive La France fabric last February and had to wait, not-so-patiently until got it back in stock. I'd intended it for a sundress for Bit, anyway, but time got away with me. Due to Nikki's arrival, I wasn't really sewing much at all!  So this year, I knew I needed a different sundress pattern, and Simplicity 1149 was my answer.  It fit with my current scallop fascination,  and it had the shoulder ties that my favorite go-to simple sundress has. (Butterick 3477)

I added a band of contrasting fabric that coordinated with my ribbons, and did the scalloped pockets in the same fabric.  I was worried that the fit might be too tight, but it was actually a fairly nice fit on her--though that could be due to the fact that I slimmed down the darts! 

Unlike the modern Butterick pattern, this one buttons up the back instead of sliding over the head.  Makes it a lot easier to see which side is front!  I liked that this one had a sash, too.  And the way the belt carriers were handled was interesting--the raw edges were completely encased in the waist seam and then it was hand tacked in place. 

The most interesting part was in how the pattern handled the scallops.Instead of having a seperate pattern piece the way modern patterns would, they were all printed on the same pieces with instructions to trim away the excess after sewing through the pattern.

I didn't do that--instead I transferred the markings to the fabric, did the sewing, and then cut it away.  It had the added advantage of giving me a sewing line.  I also made the shrug, because it can get chilly in the church's building when the air is on high, as it often is in Georgia summers.  I omitted the collar because I didn't think Bit would want to wear it with one, and widened the neckline. 

She actually ran off with the jacket before it was done!  And she loved her new dress because, being pink, it's a favorite color.

Gracie is all little girl, too, so the ribbons on it made her extra happy!  Unfortunately, we didn't have a crinoline that day (it was at her house) so the skirt isn't as poofy as the pattern envelope would suggest.  I saw a complaint about that once--vintage pattern illustrations always show the skirts as being very full, and the results don't look like that.  I guess what most people don't realize the extent of the starched cotton and netting petticoats they wore underneath.  My mother grew up in the 40s and 50s and remembers having a race with her sister--whoever got up the earliest got the most petticoats!

Lately I've been noticing that most of Gracie's new dresses look better on her than on the hanger, and this is no exception!