Back in early December when we were at the "big" WalMart I was tickled to find a lovely print of soft cotton fabric on clearance. I purchased all that was left on the bolt, just under 7.5 yards, I liked it that much and knew it would make really cute little girl clothes. (I mentioned finding it here.) Susannah expressed that she liked it, but after we got it home and it had been sitting upstairs in my sewing corner for a while she more frequently mentioned how much she liked the pink fabric. I had in mind to make something for her with it anyway, and knowing how much she liked the fabric helped.
Earlier last fall I purchased a couple of girls dress patterns to make clothes for Susannah. I looked through my collection and settled on using Simplicity's New Look 6884 as my base. I wanted to make her a shirt and knew that if I could easily shorten the bodice and skirt to the lengths I wanted, it would be exactly what I was looking for without having to try and find another pattern.
I spent one Sunday afternoon cutting out the pattern pieces (the paper part). Oh my goodness. That was a headache and I wasn't sure I wanted to keep going with this pattern but I stuck with it. I can
understand why some people get frustrated or just don't like sewing. The pattern is for 4
styles, each in 6 sizes, and finding the pieces I need among four different, big
sheets of pattern paper was like trying to find Waldo. THEN (my biggest
frustration!) only a very few of the pieces have the pattern sizes
marked where the pattern piece is labeled, so I had to unfold and hunt
on the cutting edge to see the size of most pieces just to find the
piece in the size I need. I am convinced that patterns are not printed
as easily to decipher as they used to be. Or maybe I'm just not that familiar with little girl clothes patterns?
Over the next few afternoons and nights I cut out the fabric. It was a little tricky because not only was I shortening the bodice and skirt, but I also wanted to make it long-sleeved. This pattern doesn't have a long-sleeved option. I ended up using another pattern's long-sleeve pattern as a gauge for length and width. (I saw patterns for dresses with long sleeves that I liked the sleeve but not the dress, and vice-versa. Is it not possible these days to find one pattern that has everything? Maybe not.)
Once I had the fabric cut out I was so eager to start sewing! I like gathers well enough, but I fell in love with the box pleats for the skirt. They are so easy to make and look so lovely!
It didn't take me very many nap-times and nights to get the main part put together. It was very exciting and motivating (and fed my "addiction!") to have it go together so quickly, easily and turning out beautifully.
Then I got to the parts that were new territory for me. Interfacing and the collar. I purchased fusible interfacing from WalMart, and after carefully reading the directions I tried fusing it to the fabric. It would not fuse no matter what I tried. I eventually went to the manufacturer's website and facebook page and saw that someone else had the same problem with their product purchased at WalMart (but the same brand from a fabric/craft store worked great). A sweet friend offered to pick up some interfacing for me since she was already making a trip to JoAnn's. That saved me from having to wait until a town trip AND from having to go into a fabric store with 2 little girls.
After that, it all went fairly well. There's a few things I would do a little differently next time, but nothing big or major. It was a learning experience working with the interfacing and I'm glad it turned out well. :)
One thing that I discovered about this pattern is that the collar and bodice do not match, size-wise. I cut both for size 4, but when I went to attach the collar to the bodice, the points that were supposed to match up did not (the collar was shy of each point by about 1/2"). Not sure how it would or would not effect the finished product, and knowing that sometimes points shift/move with sewing, I put the collar on anyway.
After I got the facing put in for the neck and front opening, I realized that the collar was not going to meet in the middle over the buttons, but instead there was going to be about a 1 1/2" gap. Since it still looks cute and I didn't really feel like ripping that much of the shirt apart to figure out how to cut a longer collar, etc., I opted to leave it. My guess is that most people will not even notice it, but I wanted to make that note. I am hoping to have a friend look at the pattern and the shirt and see if I made a mistake somewhere, or give me advice on how to adjust the pattern for future uses.
When it was time for the buttons, I looked in my button stash and found these perfect, ivory-colored, glossy buttons that look so elegant with this fabric. At first I thought I would try to find pink buttons but I don't have any of a matching pink color. I love the subtle but sweet accent these ivory buttons add to the piece.
This morning I finished sewing the buttons on before the girls awoke. I had prewashed the fabric so as soon as I finished sewing it was ready to wear. Susannah saw it on the couch and asked if she could please wear it today. :) She loves it and I love seeing her in it! It fits her perfectly and is exactly how I pictured it in my mind. I do wish the elastic in the sleeves were a little tighter fitting, but I don't plan to change it at this point.
My next project is already in the works, a pair of pants for Susannah that I actually started before I started this shirt. They will pair with the shirt and I just need to do a little work to have them finished. I think I might be able to do that this week and she can have a whole new outfit to wear for our town trips next week!
** I do want to note that two people have cautioned me on the quality of fabric purchased at WalMart nowadays. I am anxious to see how well the colors of this fabric hold up as being quick to fade is one of the issues I have been cautioned about.