Sooo, today I would like to say a massive Happy Third Birthday to my cheeky honorary niece Pippa. This is the little girl who my Pippa dresses are named after, the latest of which can be found in my shop here.
Now, I think I have started a tradition of a new dress for her birthday each year, as this is this year's birthday present:
This is the Marjorie dress from Violette Field Threads, and I knew that I had to find a small child to make this dress for as soon as it was released, as my Grandma (the one who knows I'm busy, love, and is never cross at me, when she doesn't see me for a week or two due to said business) is a Marjorie, although she hates that name. She is to be known as Grandma by anyone under the age of 40 (seriously, all our friends just refer to her as Grandma), or Madge to everyone else. She hates the name Marjorie so much only family dare call her it, and my little sis has decided that should she ever have a little girl, she will call her Marjorie, because that's the kind of family we are and we show our love for each other by trying to annoy each other as much as possible . . . If I'm mean and sarcastic to you, it means I like you. If I'm nice to you . . . worry!
Anyway, I ummed and ahhhed about who I could make this dress for, and as Katie (honorary sister and mother of Pippa pointed out) Pippa would look so sweet in this dress, thereby belying her true personality of little terror, but I love her for that because I don't have to deal with her as a parent and I find it hilarious (rather than embarrassing) that she describes 'apricot' as 'achey cock'. Oh, we could write a book on the things that girl says. Then we could write another book on the antics of her brother, who is just as bad! His birthday is next week and I will have another post on his present then.
Right, so, back to the dress instead of the antics of my niece and nephew. I decided to not go too girly for the fabric and went for some turquoise roses cotton, which was in my stash to make a dress, but has been there for over a year, so the dress was looking very unlikely. And then I spent aaaages thinking what would go with it for the collar and belt. I raided my large scraps stash and found some yellow gingham, which I decided would be perfect. I don't know why, I just love this combination of colours. Anyway, mind set on the gingham, I discovered I was about 10cm too short. Not really a problem, as I just tootled myself down to the shop at the end of my street and bought some more (it's not like half a metre of gingham will break the bank!). Then I started looking for some buttons to go avec. I couldn't find any in my stash, none in the shop at the end of the road, then I had a brainwave . . . I had a quick search on eBay and found some yellow gingham buttons. They came in a large pack with some yellow flower buttons, but I decided they were perfect, and you can never have too many buttons anyway as far as I'm concerned.
While I was waiting for those to arrive, I got a cutting-out and making up the main body fo the dress. The pattern was a PDF so I had to print and stick that together, then I traced off a size 3. I know I could have just cut it out and then cut and stuck again for another size, but that to me is the worst part of PDF patterns. I much prefer those that come with a copy shop version and I get that printed near work, but if I am going to have to cut and stick, I will only do it once.
I did this one Saturday evening whilst catching up on some televisual, and then I cut out the fabric. I used the blue roses for the dress main, some blue cotton from my stash to line the bodice and then the gingham for the collar, belt, bow and belt loops.
Then I set about sewing. I started with the bodice, carefully following the instructions, which are very clear and detailed, with lots of pics. This turned out to be pretty easy. The instructions would have you do a lot of topstitching once seams are sewn, but I decided I don't really like the look of that, so I have skipped it on this particular dress. I have other versions planned that I may do the topstitching on - I shall see.
Anyway, bodice was pretty straight forward. The collar seemed massive, until I realise that it folds down. I can be a proper blonde sometimes, although as the eldest niece points out, now that I am letting the bleach grow out, the top of my hair is brown - I keep telling her it is dark blonde, and then refusing to speak to her until she agrees, like a proper grown up!
The skirt, however, which you would think would be the easiest bit, caused me a bit of a headache. Its the pleats. i still haven't got them right, but decided that they were right enough for me! When I used the pleat guides as I thought correct, the skirt was then too long for the bodice and there were gaps between the pleats, so I re-did them with no gaps between the pleats and this made it too short for the bodice. So I tried once again, following the pleat guide, but in a slightly different way. The skirt is now the correct length for the bodice, but there are only two box pleats in the front and two in the back. Personally though, I think it looks good so I have left it that way. My sister saw it hung up and approved it too, so I decided to go with it.
I then had to wait for the buttons to arrive, which they did a couple of days later, and I got on with the buttonholes and adding the buttons. This is where I made a big boo-boo. I did 6 buttonholes (two lots of three) as per the illustration in the instructions. I now know with hindsight that, certainly on this smaller size, I should only have done 3 buttonholes, as there is not enough overlap on the bodice for the extra three buttonholes. Anyway, I realised this too late (i.e. after I had cut the buttonholes) but I did have a solution. I have simply sewn them back up and added a button over the top to make it look as though there are extra buttonholes.
The pattern instructions then have you add some sew-on snaps, which I hid under the pleats, and sew up part of the back seam, again, which I have hidden under a pleat.
Adding the belt loops was pretty straight forward, although I did them backwards to the instructions, as I thought it looked neater. I have a plan for the next one to make them look even neater.
The belt and bow are also pretty straightforward. The belt is once again fastened with sew on snaps, the stitching for which I decided to hide with some of the flower buttons that came with the gingham buttons, so I think that was a stroke of luck. The bow is not tied, but simply folded through the loop to make it into a bow.
Anyway, I have great plans for further Marjorie dresses, and I might even put some in the HolzMolzPolz shop. As always, I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I used the leftover roses fabric to cut out something for Pippa's brother's birthday present, which is next week, and a quick gathered skirt for myself. I think I still have enough left over for a Pippa dress too . . .