The Spanish word “feliz” translates as “happy” in English. Maybe that is why this is such a great design for a Christmas Day dress! I warn you now, this is going to be a very photo heavy blog post, because I love how these dresses look on my beautiful daughters.
The girls have been asking for Feliz dresses for a couple of years now. The fabric range that they are made from is Heather Bailey’s Freshcut reprint. Heather Bailey’s blog was the first one that I came across when I discovered craft blogs almost seven years ago. The Freshcut range was released at around that time, and was one of my favourite designs. And it still is – I bought up very quickly when the reprint came out, and am pleased that I did. Although it is a quilting cotton, it is finely woven enough to still be suitable for dresses such as these, and it is super easy to sew with.
Both Clare and Stella chose which fabrics they wanted in their dresses, and which would be for the over dress, the underdress, and the bottom frill and ties. The fabrics used for the back ruffles are the main three fabrics used for the other sister’s dress.
This is a dress that would have benefited greatly from the use of a ruffler foot. Although I own one, I haven’t yet worked out how to use it, and a couple of days before Christmas and the due completion date of the dresses was not the time to learn. So I did the usual thing of two rows of long straight stitches and hand gathering.
I used vintage grosgain ribbon from stash to trim the back ruffles, leaving a decent amount of the underdress fabric to show between each one. The bottoms of the ruffles were finished with rolled hems done on the overlocker.
Stella’s dress was trimmed with pre-gathered lace around the top neckline and around the bottom of the overskirt. Clare’s was also trimmed with broderie anglaise ribbon on the top of the neckline and coordinating pre-gathered broderie anglaise around the bottom of the overskirt.
These are time consuming dresses to make. Each one took around six hours of construction time. I estimate that cutting out time was also over an hour per dress, by the time I traced the pattern pieces and thought about which one was for which fabric. That said, they weren’t hard.
There are no zips or buttons in this dress. It pulls on over the head. There are two channels in the centre back of the underskirt with elastic through them and combined with the ties it gives some adjustability to the fit.
Apparently these dresses fit for a long time, just becoming shorter as the child grows. Thank goodness for that! And as you can see, they have plenty of twirlability.
As well as being available as a stand-alone pattern, the Feliz dress is included in Nancy Langdon’s book Sewing Clothes Kids Love. If you decide to make it I suggest that you google it first as there are some tutorials available as well as plenty of photographic inspiration of other people’s versions. The way that you embellish it is absolutely up to you – the overskirt and/or underskirt can be left plain, you can use lace, ribbons, ruffles, embroidery, whatever you like. Which does however require a little forethought and planning!
The Feliz dress is definitely a party dress, and now I am very glad that I managed to complete them in time for Christmas Day celebrations. Even though the girls spent most of the day in their bathers on the slip’n'slide!