Catching sight of my yellow Colette Laurel dress my daughter begged me to make one just the same for her. It's the first time she's expressed envy at a piece of clothing I've worn, and even more remarkable as her current preferred items of clothing are two long sleeved boys tops (one with a medley of dinosaurs, the other a sea monster theme) and two pairs of H&M knee length boys shorts (one orange, one beige, both with lots of 'useful' pockets). I figured then that I should seize the moment and quickly make her a similar dress. Mindful that it may well end up neglected on a hanger in the back of her wardrobe along with the other dresses, skirts and kimonos I've sewn for her, I chose a boldy printed Michael Miller Dino Roars fabric that I knew she'd love to wear, and teamed it with the Lecien folklore cotton left over from my Laurel dress to use for the trim.
Making this dress gave me the opportunity to try out one of the patterns in Yoshiko Tsukiori's Girls Style Book - a collection of 24 pretty sewing patterns for girls aged 2-10. Unfortunately my daughter at 9 is towards the end of the size range for this book and as mentioned isn't currently a fan of more traditional styles of girls clothing. However, the book would be an investment for a dressmaker with younger girls to sew for and includes many lovely easy-to-sew designs.
Looking for something like the Colette Laurel, Dress H caught my eye with its nice clean lines and gentle A-line shape so I traced off the pattern in child size 10 for my tall girl and lengthened the sleeves to make it look Laurel-like. I cut the back out of a single piece of fabric, omitting the centre back seam so that the dress goes on over the head - I measured her head circumference before doing this to ensure it would slip on easily.
To recreate the winning Laurel effect I added a single patch pocket to the front (the right size to hold a couple of plastic dinosaur figurines) and made a ruffle cuff to finish the sleeve. I had just enough Lecien folklore fabric to make bias binding to edge the neckline. When fitting the dress was a bit too wide for my daughter's narrow shoulders so I added shoulder darts for a better fit. The dress body and cuffs are lined with a dotty cotton (again left over from my Laurel).
|Dinosaur details: patch pocket, contrast bias binding, shoulder darts, ruffle cuff|
The finished dress looks beautiful and is a real hit with my junior paleontologist! She wears it as a mini-dress with her green mock dinosaur skin socks, or as a tunic with leggings for playing in the park. It's a roomy easy fit which makes it perfect for climbing trees and swinging from monkey bars and hopefully will fit her through the next growth spurt and a beyond...