Monday, February 18, 2013

Completed: Eliza's Birthday Dress

"Eliza's Birthday Dress" is a nice name for it.

Much better than "My Sewing Nemesis" or "The Dress that Made Me Question Everything" or "Is Sewing Really This Hard?" or "Eliza Will Never Have Another Mommy-Made Dress Again. Ever."

In theory, the second attempt at this dress should have been easier. It wasn't. I debated about how much to tell you. Of course I've decided to share it all.

First I'll let you get a good look at it.


It's too big on purpose -- her birthday is three months away, and I want this dress to fit all summer. Maybe even next summer.

It's hard to tell because of the size and patterned material, but it's the same style as my PR&P Signature Style piece. There are gathers beneath the scoop in the front and back. 

It's fully lined. Why does a 21-month-old baby need a fully lined dress? Because I was hankering for one more complication apparently.

see her dirty fingernail? very fitting for a dress-wearing little girl, no?



This time I opted for an invisible zipper. Again, because the button placket wasn't complicated enough. The good news is the zipper is truly invisible. 


So now the truth.

Fabric: Tilda
Pattern: Self-drafted
Details: Piping and invisible zipper. Fully lined with enclosed hem.

More Details:
You're looking at BODICE #3. That's right. I started over from scratch THREE times on the bodice. I ripped it at least half a dozen times before scrapping each one. So, that's a total of almost 20 rips. The piping, the shaping, getting the dots lined up, the gathering.

Eventually I ran out of store-bought piping for the bodice and had to make my own. Fortunately I had store-bought bias tape in the same color. (One of my first attempts at piping a year ago was much more successful for some reason.)

You're looking at front skirt #2. I re-did the gathering at least four times. All the ripping shortened the thing by six inches, so I had to start over.

The zipper took four tries to get things lined up.

I sewed the lining in twice before figuring out how to turn things around. (Thanks to this video tutorial, it finally happened. But I don't recommend doing things this way for kids' clothes -- it involves sewing the shoulders in a way that is nearly impossible when they're this small.) I did use Lindsay's trick for the hem, and it worked like a charm.

Normally I'd wax poetic and say it was worth the learning experience, the result is precious, and next time will be better.

Whatever. It'll be a while before I look at this dress and see anything but a scream of frustration.



I love this baby. So much.

Sigh. Maybe I'll make her another dress after all. (Read "softie" across my forehead.)

P.S. Thanks to my Instagram friends @emodette, @callajaire, and @francessuzanne for all the piping advice. It's part of my reSEWlution this year to become a piping pro.

26 comments:

  1. It turned out lovely! Seriously the piping looks great and those polka dots will be perfect for birthday. My girl was in polka dots last year and the pictures are just so festive! Great job!

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    1. Thank you! Polka dots do seem to be perfect for "happy birthday."

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  2. Oh my, Michelle!!! The dress is absolutely precious....and Eliza, well - she's a doll (but you already knew that, didn't you??)!! That dress style is precious: and one you should be pleased with....seriously! NO ONE would see a bit of your frustrations / pains if looking at it. Your honesty is endearing. We empathize, more often than not :)! You will indeed be a piping pro before the end of 2013...no doubt....

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    1. Thank you! Sewing sure is humbling for me, that's for sure.

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  3. What a sweet little dress. I think it is so much fun to sew for sweet children. Your little girl looks like she is enjoying your efforts.

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    1. Thanks! She really liked this one. Well, that and the sucker I offered her afterwards. ;)

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  4. The dress (and especially the little cute modell) is gorgeous, no doubt.
    On the other size, oh, how I know, what you are talking about. There are several little dresses (or bigger too) what morely remind me of suffering than the lovely end-result. :o)

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    1. Thank you! I'm trying to convince myself it's all about learning. . . and there wasn't TOO much wasted time, I guess. :)

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  5. This dress turned out great! I am so glad I am not the only one that ends up scraping things and starting over. Why can't the actual project work out just the way it does in our brain? It is great when you can hang in there and get a wonderful finished project. Your little girl is an adorable model.
    Donna @onceuponasewingmachine.com

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I can count on one hand the number of times it turned out the way I imagined. Maybe with more practice, the more likely it will be for that to happen. Still waiting. . . :)

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  6. Isn't it frustrating sometimes? Especially when the outcome is so stinkin' cute and no one will ever know just by looking at it that so much hard work went into it! The dress is adorable and she looks so sweet in it. I think it's a perfect birthday dress! I'm so impressed that you drafted this. Can't wait to see the next one! (I'm getting ready to make/sew with a lot of piping. Want me to take some pictures?)

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    1. If I ever created a perfect garment, I'd probably stop sewing. It's that pursuit that drives me a lot of the time.

      I found a piping tutorial on The Cottage Home site that describes in pictures exactly what you recommended. Tonight I did it-- inching ever so slightly closer to the piping with each pass. It worked!

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  7. Oh my goodness, I love this dress! Cute idea of the flat with the ruffles beneath. And I ADORE the piping and Polk-a-dots! I have a dress sitting in my sewing room that I have literally reworked 4 times. FRUSTRATING! I feel inspired to pull it out again... though I'm doing buttons! lol

    Your daughter is absolutely precious- they DO make all that work worth it, don't they?!

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  8. It's turned out really lovely so be proud! I feel your pain with driving yourself crazy with your own self-imposed design challenges. It does make you love it (and the hair pulling work that went into it) later on. And sharing that it isn't all smiles and singing birds when sewing helps remind everyone to appreciate what goes into a handmade item. My latest sewing project, a snowsuit, had me questioning my sanity in similar ways, so you are not alone! Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do:)

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  9. Another gorgeous dress!!! The shaped bodice is just perfect and I do like the gathers front and back.

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  10. The shaped yoke is so cute on these and I love the spotty fabric. I love what you've done with this pattern.

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  11. I really like this one the best of all of the recent sewing projects! It is so cute and classic! I think it needs a big lime green E embroidered in the yoke.

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  12. Wow, I'm so impressed that you stuck with it even though you redid so many parts! I would have given up at the beginning! It turned out beautiful and hopefully you can enjoy it when summer comes!
    Thanks for linking up!

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  13. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at www.SugarBeeCrafts.com - - you were featured today!! - Mandy, Sugar Bee Crafts

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  14. Awww... I love Eliza's birthday dress. So bright and fun. The dress is adorable and having a super cute model makes it look just that much better.

    I'd be thrilled if you'd link up at this week's Off the Hook!

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  15. The dress is beautiful! You are incredibly patient and determined! I totally can relate with the invisible zipper frustrations. i have been there many times when things just would not line up. Great job!

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  16. So pretty!!! I love everything about it! :) great job! Are you going to GNO?!

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    1. Thank you!! I entered the ticket giveaway, but otherwise I don't think we can swing the cost right now. :(

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  17. Looks great! I love the piping! I'd love for you to check out our Pattern Party! Only those with patterns are invited to link up. Check it out!
    http://getyourcraptogether.blogspot.com/search/label/Pattern%20Party

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  18. While you scream in frustration, pls allow me to squeal with delight :)

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