Sometimes it is really difficult to sew for others. Getting the sizing right, getting the combination of fabric and pattern right, getting the fit right, and attempting to ensure that the finished product matches with the vision in the other person’s head. Sewing for Stella is no exception. She really does know what she likes, and is quite particular about how she wants things to fit. So I try to involve her in the sewing process as much as possible.
Stella chose the fabric and the pattern for this dress, and chose which elements of the pattern she wanted. It’s the Mix It Up dress by George and Ginger, and I was drawn to it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it starts with tween sizes. Hooray! It’s not easy to find patterns that work for Stella – she’s really shot up in height over the last year and is changing shape, but she’s still very slight and has narrow shoulders. We’ve had the frustration of trying to find clothes that fit to her specifications in the shops (although Pavement has proven to be successful, if anyone is looking to buy tween/teen clothes) so it really is handy that I sew. The other reason we liked the Mix It Up pattern is because it allows you to do exactly that – mix it up!
From the pattern website: The Mix It Up Dress is an all-in-one design that’s perfect for mixing and matching your favorite styles! Five front bodice, five back bodices, six sleeve lengths (including sleeveless) and five skirt versions–all interchangeable and ready to be customized just for you! PATTERN OPTIONS:
- Front Bodice – yoke, horseshoe, leaf, keyhole and asymmetric
- Back Bodice – yoke, square, diamond, keyhole and full closure
- Sleeves – sleeveless, cap, short, elbow, 3/4 and long
- Skirts – full circle (peplum, mini, dress), half circle (peplum, mini, dress), handkerchief (peplum, mini, dress), hi-lo tunic (short and long) AND fitted skirt to add to peplum, hi-lo or stand alone
Stella liked the look of the Leaf front bodice and Keyhole back bodice, with short sleeves and a Hi-Lo skirt. I started off by sewing a muslin in a lightweight stretch scuba type of fabric that was in my stash and had been rejected for other projects. Size wise I used Tween 12, the smallest size.
I was so glad that I’d done the muslin! I’ll start with the obvious issue – that hi-lo skirt isn’t a full length skirt – it’s for a tunic or to be used as a peplum in conjunction with a straight skirt! Clearly I failed to read that part of the pattern information properly. So this muslin is way too short as drafted. The second issue was the waist seam – it’s way too high. Stella’s circumferential measurements are much smaller than the corresponding size for her height. The armhole depth was okay, so I figured that if I added an inch and a half to the bottom of the bodice pieces that would get the waist seam into a better position.
Stella chose the fabric – it’s a very stretchy fabric from Spotlight, I have a vague recollection that it was labelled as a performance knit or similar. It’s a lighter weight fabric than my initial muslin, which made it very easy to do the keyhole and back ties, as well as getting a nice result on the ‘leaf’ front bodice. The bodice of this dress is fully lined, and easily constructed.
I added four inches all around to the length of the hi-low skirt. Why didn’t you just use the pattern pieces for the full circle skirt, I hear you ask? Two reasons – I’d already printed and taped the hi-lo piece, and I wanted to cut the skirt completely on the fold and have it seamless. I also moved the ‘hole’ template about an inch toward the skirt back to alter the degree of high compared to low so that it was slightly less dramatic. The skirt was hemmed with a simple straight stitch. It could do with another press.
She’s happy, and that’s what it’s all about! There’s every chance that this pattern will be used again – Clare has been eyeing it off too and suggesting combinations. Although the sizing starts at Tween 12, it goes up to Women’s size 26. Take a look at the pattern page or join the Facebook group to see some of the combinations that others have sewn. George and Ginger also have a YouTube channel with sewalongs etc. Excellent pattern support for those who prefer it.