When I was at Sewjourn in December Anna made a beautiful dress for her daughter using the Caila Made Desert Rose Dress pattern. Although the pattern appears to be designed for younger children, I thought that it would translate well to a tunic top for my tween girl.
I think that I succeeded! By choosing chambray for the bodice, and making the skirt tunic length, this dress has become a lovely fitted top for Clare. The skirt and neckline ruffle are in lawn from Spotlight, I think a couple of seasons ago. Tiny trees and houses! It’s so pretty!
Making this tunic wasn’t without its dramas. I decided to make size 6 but with size 8 length for Clare, as that corresponded well to her measurements. She has just turned 12, but is 5th percentile for both height and weight, so making such a small size is more appropriate in terms of fit. What I failed to do however was to account for the armhole depth that she would need. The size 6 armholes were just too high and made wearing the top uncomfortable. If only I had asked her to try it on during the sewing process rather than after it was all finished!
The bodice is fully lined, and topstitched in place. The armholes and neckline are also topstitched. So after unpicking all the topstitching, I was able to restitch the armholes and scoop them down lower. After that was done I remembered to get Clare to try it on before re-topstitching the bodice lining in place and re-topstitching around the armholes. It was painful to do, but I’m glad that I did it. Luckily I remembered to get Stella to try it on before I lowered the armholes, and now I know that the size 6 armholes will be good on her but with size 4 width. Always worth trying on as you go!
The pattern description from the website is as follows: The Desert Rose Dress features an empire waist with a scooped neckline and button closure in the front. The full skirt includes optional in-seam pockets and hits at the knee. Full step-by-step instructions with clear photos and illustrations are included. There are some very pretty versions of this on the internet. The ruffle at the front neckline is optional.
The edge of the ruffle is finished with a fine zig-zag. You could also use the rolled hem setting on your overlocker. Next time I make this I will actually cut the ruffle double on the fold, with the fold on the straight edge. Then no edge finishing will be needed and since it is cut on the bias, it should still ruffle nicely. I’m not 100% thrilled with the finish of the ruffle on this tunic.
All in all, this is a very pretty top on Clare. The pattern is well written and the pieces fit together perfectly. Although it is simple in some ways, it has been drafted with just the right proportions. Stella will definitely be getting a dress version, although in a different fabric.