I generally sew each of my daughters a dress for their birthday (and one for Christmas). They really enjoy having input into the fabric selection and into the pattern that is used. Last year Stella chose some fabric for the Clever Charlotte Olivine dress. I cut it out, but never sewed it up, as I was less than enamoured with her fabric choice. Since then she has hassled me on a regular basis to finish her birthday dress. Finally I acquiesced and it was finished just in time for her birthday this year!
It is a really pretty style. The contrasting pleats in the skirt and the radiating tucks in the bodice are so lovely! However, that fabric. You can see the issues – so incredibly awful to sew and to press in particular. Plus it shows every single crease. She had only had it on for about half an hour when these photos were taken – it looks like she’d been wearing it all day! It came from deep stash and was originally given to me from someone else’s stash – I have no idea of the composition.
Now that I have ranted about the fabric, some discussion of the pattern. It is a beautiful pattern, and everything fits together just as it should. The instructions are comprehensive. The description from the pattern says: Plenty of pleats make the Olivine Dress our fanciest look yet. She’ll look great at holidays, birthdays, even sashaying down the aisle as the scene-stealing flower girl. What fun color combo will you choose to show off the contrasting pleats and pockets on the skirt? The lined Dress has an A-line skirt with a center back zip and full, gathered sleeves.
Now, as far as I am concerned those sleeves aren’t gathered, but are eased. The sleeve cap has lovely fullness, but is quite smooth after the sleeves are set in. The centre back zip is an invisible zip. The dress is fully lined, in quilting cotton in this case. That’s what Stella chose!
This is a straight size 6, with no alterations. I should have understitched the bodice facing/lining around the neckline, as it is rolling to the outside a little. And I had a hell of a time getting the pleats and tucks to look decent where they met. The fabric completely worked against me, and the shine of it makes it all look a bit dodgy in that part.
We really do like the effect of the contrasting fabric in the skirt pleats, and it’s not difficult to do that part. I used the blind hem stitch and foot on the machine for the skirt and sleeve hems of both the dress and the lining. So overall, this wasn’t a quick sew, but it was satisfying. Just don’t use a slippery shiny fabric like this one if you want a happier time during the process!
Happy Birthday my gorgeous girl – the years are flying past almost a little too quickly! And finally you have your birthday dress.