Our little knock off is complete. It has been very hectic here, lots of company and we went back to New York state to tie up some loose ends for a few days as well. I finished Lany's dress the minute I got home. This is the first child's garment I've done in some time. My piping skills were rusty. I threw out the first collar then reviewed my own tutorial to brush up on my skills. The second one came out fine and if there is a soon third, that one will hopefully be even better.
This was an easy sew. I tried to honor the details of the original but wanted to finesse it up a bit. I think I have done that. Rusty skills or not, this is much nicer quality than the treasured original which I posted about here. I know it will be greatly appreciated by Mom and her tiny new daughter to be.
I used the bodice and sleeves from McCalls 3063, a Christening gown pattern. It is a size "small" and the way the Big Four run in children's sizing, I would say a size one. The original dress was a three. The skirt is simply gathered. and connects to the bodice with a classic fold over placket. ( I really need to do a tute on those.) The sleeves on the pattern are VERY full, too full and too long in my opinion. I cut back the sleeves by reducing the top and bottom edges a 1/4 inch, so a total of half an inch out of the height. I didn't want to take a full half inch off one edge out of such a tiny garment and by balancing it out I think it gave me the results I envisioned.
This pattern has lots of different Christening gowns including a cute one I have used in the past for a boy. Other than the too large sleeves, which I think is a sign of the time of the pattern, ca 2007, it is fine.
This fabric was gifted to me by Kristine Balinski of Couture by Kristine. She has a great blog, BTW. Some time back when she saw a post about the original dress she let me know that she had leftover fabric from a project for her daughter that was almost the same and would I like it. Her generosity is so appreciated and without it I could not have pulled off this very special project. It is a near perfect match. Thanks so much Kristine. You just never know how what we do affects people. It is one of those shoulder taps that reminds what waves we make with just a little kindness.
The fabric is a 100% cotton. It is a white and very soft blue floral, so quite traditional. I may have a fuzzy memory but I think back when the original dress reigned, so did chintz. My own daughter's first prom gown at the time was chintz.
I did make a few changes particularly on the sleeves. The pattern shows long lace attached to the bottom of the sleeves giving a 3/4 length effect to the dress. Perhaps that is why the sleeve was so long. Whatever the reason, I cut back 1/4 inch on the top edge and 1/4 inch on the bottom edge of the sleeve where it hits the cuff. I also cut the cuff width by half. The pattern specs 4 cuffs be cut, two being facings. This would give you a cuff twice the width of what you see above, too much. Instead I threw out the facings and interfaced the remaining cuffs completely. The piping was then attached in a 3/8th inch seam and the cuff and piping were stitched to the gathered sleeve bottom. The bottom half of the cuff was folded to the inside and handstitched to the sleeve, encasing the bottom edge of the sleeve and giving a clean finish.
The most important thing I did to alter the appearance of the sleeve was to cut them on the true bias. There is nothing fluffing up the inside of the sleeves. I think because of the bias they fall in much softer gathers and truly doubt that I will cut one of these types of sleeves ever again on the straight. They have not been ironed either. The bias just lets them curve so sweetly. This was a lemonade out of lemons situation as I just did not have enough to cut the sleeves on the straight of grain but could accommodate the true bias, Yay!
The collar was changed. I struggled with the piping on the corners until I finally threw that out, too! I got out my trusty small Gutterman spool of thread and used it to trace a curve around the corners of the collar, much prettier than sharp corners. The original dress had a foofy little pink flower in the middle. My knock off has a pompom made of cherry colored silk charmeuse.
Back to the original---being from the eighties, the era of all things logo, the dress's tag was on the front of the skirt. I did the same with my Bunny tag. Normally on this type of garment it would have gone inside but again, just trying to mimic the original.
I am really pleased with the back placket as it falls perfectly and was made with no grief. The bodice is lined. The skirt gets a simple bound placket. If you've made these you know they are prone to puckers at the bottom or not lying flat and being hidden. Seems this was one of the skills my fingers didn't forget, unlike the collar. I think I may do a tute on that in the near future. ( I haven't forgotten the knit hem tute, either. )
I cut the hem extra long and actually did not need all the length. I removed about six inches and that still gave me enough to have a double turned 3 inch hem which I catchstitched in. I love those deep and heavy hems as they make the skirt stand away a bit yet hang nicely with all the weight. In other words, they don't look cheap like a 3/4 inch machine stitched hem would have. None of that for this sweet little girl!
The seams were French seams.
I hope you have read two posts back to the original "Lany's Dress" post. If not, there you can find the story behind this cutie and why it is so special. Mom is two days overdue and we are all waiting. Once she is settled in with her new daughter, I will visit and bring her both dresses. I have really enjoyed making a garment that has been in my thoughts for years. Thank you for letting me share it's story with you all......Bunny