children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

freshcut feliz!

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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.

Feliz in progress

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.

Stella's Feliz in progress

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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.

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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!

Feliz dresses for Christmas Day

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!


19 thoughts on “freshcut feliz!

  1. They are just adorable – the girls and the dresses! Oh and the colour-coordinated hair 🙂 I don’t know why I bothered to dress my kids nicely for Christmas day either because they were in my parents’ pool for most of it!

  2. Beautiful dresses and beautiful girls! Their pink hair looks great too. They are a labour of love for sure, but worth it. Don’t be afraid of the ruffler – it doesn’t take long to work out and boy it is so quick – they make a shocking racket though.

  3. Wow, those are beautiful. Reminds me of the one I made several years ago for Jaël, she wore it to my sisters wedding in 2008. I think she could wear it for 2 years before it became too small. Then Hadassa was wearing the dress a lot, again, a year or 2. And last year I cut of the top – Jaël is wearing it as a skirt now. A third life for a garment, that’s not bad, don’t you think? And I also made one for myself, a skirt, in black and white, because it is such a happy pattern! (If you want to take a look:

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