For some of you who have been following my sewing adventures for awhile, this post may be old news. But in an effort to archive some of my older projects, I’m going to post it anyways. Over the summer, I got on a dress sewing kick. I suddenly had ideas for simple dresses and wanted to see if I could make them for my daughter, Yuki. I based them off of dresses I’d seen, or something similar that Yuki already owned, but I didn’t use a pattern so it was really trial and error sewing. I learned A LOT from each of these projects. So here they are and some of the lessons I’ve learned.
Dress #1: Earl Grey Summer Dress (Hideko named this one!)
I had actually bought this fabric to make my friends M&M some cloth napkins for their home.
I had some left over, so I decided to use it for a simple (and a little sophisticated) dress for Yuki. (I love how little fabric you need to make baby clothes!!)
Lesson #1: Make sure armholes are big enough. I had to squeeze her arms through from even the first time she tried it on, so she didn’t get to wear it very much.
Dress #2: Sailing Dress
I based this dress off of the popular elastic waist skirts and dresses I’ve seen around. I topped it with a stretchy striped knit.
Lesson #2: Be sure to measure your model before you cut and sew. The first time I put together the skirt part of the dress it was WAAAAAAY too big for Yuki. Instead of taking it apart to fix it, I decided to just sew it up in the back. But this meant having 3 seams instead of 2 or even 1. And the side seams were not even on the side anymore, they were pulled towards the back. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Luckily, you can only tell if you look real close.
Lesson #3: Knits are great if you know how to sew them. If you sew regular stitches on a stretchy material, it will either look bad, lose all of it’s stretchiness, or both. I had originally made this dress with a normal neckline in front and back, thinking it would just stretch over her head. But it did not stretch after I had sewn it. So it would not fit over her head. So I had to cut the back open and do more sloppy stitching and add a button.
Dress #3: Neapolitan Wrap Dress
Yuki had another wrap dress that we loved her in, so I thought I’d try and make her another one. The colors on this fabric remind me of neapolitan ice cream. Yummm!
Lesson #4: I don’t actually know what the lesson is here. All I know if that the dress doesn’t fit her too well on the top. I guess I just need to try things on Yuki as I sew instead of finishing the dress and then realizing that it doesn’t fit. The problem is, I only sew when she is asleep.
Dress #4: Birthday Dress
I wanted to make Yuki a special dress for her birthday. When I went to the fabric store I saw this beautiful material with the most precious print and soft feel. The shop owner told me it was double gauze from Japan. When I came home I read all about it here. It. is. dreamy. It’s really the only word I can think of to describe it. When I washed and dried it, it had gotten even softer!
Anyways, I’m not really one to dress my daughter in pink dresses with a bow, but I could not help it. I used a style very similar to the Earl Grey Summer Dress, but used a zipper in the back instead of buttons and added a waistband (that ended up being covered by the ribbon) AND made sure there was more room in the bodice to put the dress on easily (no more too small armholes)!
Lesson #5: Every time you make a mistake, make sure you learn how to avoid it next time.
This 4th dress was by far the easiest and least mistake ridden dress. I’m happy to say that I have learned so much about sewing and dress making from these projects and I’m very excited to make more! And I have some lovely polka dot double gauze waiting to be sewn up!
We love our napkins!! And LOVE all the dresses you have made for lil Yuki- she is one lucky lady!
Thanks!! I’m so glad you like them!
Your dresses are absolutely lovely!
Elizabeth! I’m star struck! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to look at my dresses and comment. I love your blog – it’s a huge inspiration to me.
So cute. I’m in your same boat with learning lessons every time! Thanks for sharing your tips.
Thank you, Stephanie. I imagine I’ll be in this boat for a loooooooooong time 🙂 But who wouldn’t want to be learning something new every time!? Good luck to you!
where did you get the fabric for the birthday dress? i’m headed up to SF for the long holiday weekend and would like to make a dress for my little girl too. and thanks for documenting your ups and downs with making clothes. i just started and you’ve been a great inspiration. thanks!
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