children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

sunday best

You Sew Girl!  Best Dresses

Lucky me! I was one of the final testers of Nicole Mallalieu‘s Best Dress pattern. And it definitely is one of the Best Dress patterns I’ve used! I inserted my best invisible zips EVER. On both dresses! And that is saying something! Check this out!

You Sew Girl "Best Dress" for Clare

And look at the finish on the inside:

You Sew Girl "Best Dress" for Clare

To prove it’s not a fluke, here it is on Stella’s dress – from the outside:

You Sew Girl! Best Dress for Stella

And showing the inside:

You Sew Girl! Best Dress for Stella

This is a divine little pattern. It is for sizes 5 to 10. I made size 5 for Stella and size 8 for Clare. Both my girls are slim, but because of the bow tied at the back (there is also a half-belt option) it still fits them perfectly. It would fit girls of pretty much any level of slimness or chubbiness. And there are plenty of options that you can mix and match. There is a flat set in cap sleeve – which I used on Clare’s dress – and there is a little ruffled cap sleeve, which I used on Stella’s.

You Sew Girl! Best Dress for Stella

The skirt can be gathered – as with Stella’s dress above – or flared and eased in, as with Clare’s (below). Once you get to the larger sizes in the flared skirt, you need to divide the skirt to fit it onto 115cm wide fabric. The pattern goes through everything that you need to do to accommodate this, and the extra seam lines are a brilliant place to add top-stitching, piping, or as I did, ric-rac!

You Sew Girl! Best Dress for Clare

Both skirt options have the required amount of twirl. There are also bodice variations. V-neck with pin-tucks (used on Clare’s dress) or round neck with a flat front (used on Stella’s).

You Sew Girl!  Best Dresses

I decided that since we were heading into winter, I would make the dresses in pinwale corduroy (from Spotlight a season or two ago) so that they could be worn as pinafores. They worked beautifully and the girls loved wearing them today. Clare wants me to make her one for next summer too. I’m sure that I can accommodate that request!

You Sew Girl! Best Dress for Stella

As with all of Nikki‘s patterns, these are like a class in a packet. Lots of instructions and photographs. Advanced beginners could definitely give this a go. It’s not super quick to make, but it’s not hard to make and the instructions really do guide you through it beautifully. As always, I picked up new tips and techniques (oh, those invisible zips!) that make my sewing look that little bit better. The time and effort that Nikki puts into her patterns really is apparent in the finished product.

You Sew Girl! Best Dress for Clare

There is some more information about the pattern here, and it’s available for sale online at the CurlyPops Shop and at other retailers (check out Nikki’s stockists page to find out who is near you). I highly recommend it – and not just because Nikki is my friend! I recommend this pattern because it is great – and my girls love it.

You Sew Girl!  Best Dresses


15 thoughts on “sunday best

  1. Beautiful, Lara. I love that you’ve shown off all of the options. I think Niamh would very much appreciate a Best Dress, if I can bring myself to ignore all of my unfinished projects and other plans! 🙂

  2. can’t wait for my pattern to arrive now! I was thinking I’d have to wait till summer…. hang on I will – my little one isn’t yet 4! oh well – I’m sure I’ll find someone to make it for!

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