September 20, 2012

Fancy Dress

As promised, I'm back to share the kiddos' wedding outfits that I couldn't help but make for my Sister-in-law's recent wedding. Unfortunately, due to the wiggly nature of the toddler involved, I didn't manage to get many photos of them both together so you can fully appreciate the coordination that was happening. This one below (with my attractive ladylike stance) is the only one that I have to share. 


That's my dapper Father-in-Law there on the left, and we're standing in front of the beautiful St. Joseph Catholic Church in Seattle. It was really a lovely location for a wedding, and a beautiful end of summer day. Also please note that I rather selfishly selected fabric for the kid's outfits to complement my own wedding attire. A brilliant move if I do say so myself. Especially since the little one isn't walking, so I knew I would be holding her a lot. Didn't want to clash with my baby!


There we are a little closer up. Juniper's dressed in mama-made gear from head to toe. Her dress is the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress, which was conveniently released the week of the wedding. I snapped up the PDF version as soon as I could, as it was exactly the shape that I had envisioned for the little one's dress.

Her headband is just a tube that I stitched a tunnel down the middle of to insert a narrow piece of elastic. Then I hand-gathered a long bias strip of the fabric to make a rosette and just stitched it on with a couple of quick tack stitches. Easy. And you can't see them, but she's also wearing a pair of matching bloomers that I made from the pattern included in the Oliver + S Tea Party sundress. And for reference, Juniper is six months old, about 17.5 pounds, and I made her the 6 month size in both the dress and bloomers with no fit alterations.


And there's the boy, wearing a mama-made Franco Vest over a basic pair of pants and a button up shirt from Carter's. Franco and Fiona is a pattern from the beloved but no longer in print Patterns by Figgy's. The pattern includes both the asymmetrical vest I made for Lincoln and a coordinating pinafore for girls. It's an adorable combo, and if Juniper was bigger I absolutely would have made both pieces. Probably still will for some future torture of the matching ensemble variety.


I actually didn't intend for their outfits to be made from the same fabric initially, and hadn't planned to use this fabric at all. I had first fully sewn up another Franco vest for Lincoln out of one of David's old blue dress shirts with a fuchsia lining. I took his measurements beforehand and based on those I made the 2/3, but the finished product was a little tight on his cute little pot belly and I didn't want him to be uncomfortable. Sadly, there wasn't enough of the shirt material to start again, so I moved on to Juniper's dress instead to await inspiration.

I have some pretty burgundy chiffon that I had planned to make Juniper's dress out of, but when I started thinking about all the interlining I would have to do, and how fiddly chiffon is to work with, I talked myself out of it.

I have TONS of this border print and the colors worked so well with my dress, I decided to use it for both outfits instead. The full width of the fabric has the border on one selvedge, and a gradient that goes from the darker navy to a light purple shade on the other selvedge. The print is a shimmery coppery gold.



I decided that the border would be perfect for the skirt, but wanted to make Juniper's dress mostly purple and use the navy for Lincoln's vest so they would be coordinated but not exactly matching. Also I didn't think David would appreciate me putting Lincoln in a purple vest. Especially not a purple vest with a floral motif on it. I was right. Turns out even the navy vest with flowers was pushing the limits!

I did make just a couple of modifications to the dress pattern. I omitted the collar and scooped out about an inch or so of the front neckline. I don't know if Juniper has a big neck, but I noticed before with her Puppet Show Easter Dress that the neckline was a little restrictive, so I just eyeballed it and stitched down a little lower when I attached the lining at the neckline.


I also made one long sash by cutting the sash pattern piece on a fold instead of in two pieces as instructed. The pattern has the ties attached at the side seams, but since I was putting the dark navy of the border print up against the much lighter purple from the other end of the gradient, I wanted to use the middle bluish-purple section on the sash to make the transition more gradual. I think it worked out well and helped blend the colors. I hand tacked the sash in place at the side seams to keep it from spinning around or riding up too much.


This was actually my first invisible zipper insertion, and it went brilliantly. Liesl has such a knack for explaining things and adding in little tips to make sure you have a successful time sewing her patterns. I just can't recommend them enough! I happened to have this bronze colored zipper on hand in the right length, so I decided to use it and save myself a trip to the fabric store for a more appropriately colored blue or purple one. It picked up the metallic print and it is, after all, invisible (except for the pull) so I was fine with stashbusting.


And thanks to the magical wonders that are my fabric stash, I didn't even have to buy tulle for the skirt lining! There was a chunk of tulle in a giant lot of vintage fabrics that I bought a couple years back, and it was just sitting in a bin waiting to be put to use. Yup, that's another win for hoarding! 

I also have to mention that Liesl very brilliantly has you sandwich the tulle layer between the lining and the overskirt, so you avoid any potential scratchiness from the tulle and can still benefit from the pouf. She's a genius. Truly!


On Lincoln's vest, I decided to use the clever slot seams to showcase the lighter purple from Juniper's dress. I love this effect, and am completely impressed by how the brilliant ladies of Patterns by Figgy's managed to take a very simple vest pattern and elevate it with the details. The slot seams and the asymmetrical styling are just enough to kick it up from basic and boring to distinguished. I love it!


My cute little kid mannequin is definitely not a 4T, so the vest looks a little strange here, but you can see the slot seams clearly, as well as how the gradient wraps around the back.


I'm very happy with how their outfits turned out, and both of these patterns get two big thumbs up from me. We received many compliments that day, or at least we did until Lincoln decided to strip off all of his clothes in the middle of the reception hall out of nowhere. He wasn't complaining about anything being hot or restrictive, I just found him all of a sudden taking off his shoes and his pants and basically demanding in that adorable three-year-old way that I find him something else to wear. Fortunately, we had a bright red Manchester United jersey and some cut-off sweat pants in the diaper bag that made for perfect back-up wedding attire. Ahh, toddlers. Delightful little creatures, aren't they?


I tease, but the truth is that they really are. I can't even count how many times Lincoln ran up to his cousin Fiona to give her a big hug that day. He's a sweetheart, for sure. Congratulations to Michelle and Dave, and thanks for getting married! It was the perfect excuse to stitch up some fancy duds for the kiddos.

The question now is, what to do with them? These are obviously not clothes of the everyday variety. What do you all do with tiny fancy outfits that will never be worn again? It seems like such a waste to stuff them up in a box never to see the light of day, but I also don't know if I could part with all my hard work to someone who might not appreciate the time and effort that went into them! Thoughts?