Lila & The LLK Kensington Dress

I did a bit of Christmas sewing, making microwavable bowl cozies for my Mom, siblings and family, and adult children, making a total of (I think) 22 cozies by the time I was done.

bowl cozies

We use our cozies all the time, whether cooking broccoli or oatmeal, or keeping our fingers from freezing while eating a banana split.  Not that we do that often, really! 😉

bowl micro

I also sewed a few things for Lila. ❤  I thought the Little Lizard King Kensington would be a cute dress, but I had to make a couple of alterations.  My daughter dislikes buttons.  She has disliked them since childhood.  Which presented quite a challenge when trying to find the collared shirts required at their elementary school!  (I didn’t have time to do much sewing back then).  So, she didn’t want Lila’s dress to have buttons.  Which meant I had to alter the pattern to use a zipper.  It wasn’t really hard to do.  I just found the center point of the back overlap, and instead of using the button placket, I reduced the width of the bodice back to just having a 1/2″ seam allowance.  I had cut only one skirt panel the width of my 45″ fabric, and put the seam at center back.

This meant that rather than following the pattern tutorial, after attaching the collar and bodice lining at the neckline, the skirt had to be gathered and sewn to the bodice.  The zipper was installed (ending about 3″ down into the skirt).  Then the bodice lining, (which I had pulled up out of the way while installing the zipper) was sewn down into place.

LLK porch

The most challenging part of the pattern was the scalloped collar.  It wasn’t that it was hard to do, just very time consuming.  The scallops on a size 2 are rather tiny!  I took my time, and very carefully trimmed and clipped each scallop so that it would lay neatly when it was turned and pressed.

Another important consideration when using a fabric with an obvious pattern to it, like this Art Gallery Fabrics Evanescence Blackout, is to take your time when laying out your pattern pieces.  For a professional finished product, the design needs to line up and be evenly spaced.  Notice that the darker “stripe” going across the collar is the same on the left and right?  I also took care when cutting the skirt and bodice to ensure that the almost plaid-like design was evenly spaced where they meet at the waistline.  The print doesn’t have perfectly straight lines forming an even plaid.  It’s more of a pretty graphic design and loosely drawn and wavy grid pattern.  Although I tried to get the sleeves as perfectly aligned, the right sleeve lines up better than the left.  Oh well, perfection escapes me again!  Hahahahahaha!

At least my granddaughter is perfect, and perfectly adorable! 🙂

LLK yard full

And a bit of advice for photographing toddlers: always bring snacks.  Everybody is much happier when there is food in their tummy!

banana

Lila also got a rayon spandex dress, trimmed in stretch lace, hacked from the Ellie & Mac Grow With Me Pajamas.

LLK flat lay

I cut a strip of the stretch lace to half the width, and added it at the bodice to skirt seam line.  I shortened the skirt to make it dress length, and gently curved the hem so that it would hang nicely when on the body.  After gathering the lace (about 2-1/2″ yards worth), I zigzagged it onto the hem.  Lila likes the orchid color, and the soft, breezy comfort of the dress.

EM grow pj

It’s such a comfortable play dress, that she just didn’t want to stop swinging for photographs.

swing

It didn’t take long to whip up a couple of Made For Mermaids Hadley Hand-Tied Bows, and attach them to hair clips for a finishing touch.  Maybe I’ll make one of the larger bow sizes next time.  After all, Lila is a little southern belle!  😉

Hadley bow

She is also fun to sew for, and pretty much looks adorable in everything I make for her!  Now I need to sew up a couple more patterns for this sweet girl. ❤

The bowl cozies (link to tutorial here), Kensington dress, and bow, were all made with Art Gallery Fabrics 100% cotton purchased from Phee Fabrics.  The 13oz. rayon spandex was also purchased at Phee Fabrics.

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, and pattern hacking. ❤

The Wonderful Woven Washi Dress

High quality fabric and quality finishes truly make the garment!

When Phee Fabrics started stocking Art Gallery Fabrics in 100% premium cotton OEKO-TEX certified fabric, I knew it was time to search for a new pattern.  I have a couple of woven dress patterns that I like, (blogged here and here) but they are quite similar, and I wanted something with a little more detail to showcase the pretty fabric.

One of my sewing friends who also likes dresses, suggested a few pattern companies to me.  She forewarned me that the patterns were not inexpensive, but felt that they were worth the money.  I scrolled through a few companies, and kept coming back to the Made By Rae Washi Dress.  The simple pleats, neck detail, and of course- pockets, spoke to me.

Whenever I get a new pattern (especially for wovens), I like to compare it to a pattern that I know fits me well, to see how similar or different the fit is.  Since wovens don’t have any give, making sure that you’ve got a good fit is very important!  Right away I could tell that this pattern was drafted for a much smaller cup size, so I knew I was going to have to do some work to get a perfect fit.  I traced the bodice and taped the dart together, and held it against my body to see how far off the fit was.  The dart ended up a couple of inches above my bust apex, and the bodice didn’t cover the bottom of my bust.  Sigh!

Washi bust

Since this is kind of a common issue for me with woven patterns, it wasn’t exactly unexpected.  I needed some length between the armscye and the dart, so the simple fix was slashing the bodice front and adding in a 1.5″ wide strip of waxed paper.  I also added 1.5″ length to the pattern back.

Washi pattern adj

I cut out a bodice front and the upper back of the pattern in some cheap fabric and basted it together to check my fit.  I decided another half inch added to the front at the shoulder seam would give me that extra little bit I needed, and cut into my good fabric.  I took some time with my pattern layout, because every sewist knows that if you’re working with a floral fabric, it’s nearly impossible to avoid having flowers on your bust.  And I wanted an intentional placement versus an awkward one! 🙂

The pattern tutorial suggests using interfacing on the front around the U-notch to help keep the corners laying smoothly.  Tracing around the stitch line gave me the perfect shape to iron on to the bodice front.

Washi interfacing

It also calls for facings at the front and back neckline, and bias trim along the armscyes. But a finished bodice lining is just so much nicer, and would also make it easy to stich a couple of lines 1/2″ apart across the back to make a casing for my elastic.  To make a bodice lining, cut another bodice front, and cut a bodice back by folding the pattern back 1/2″ below the bottom shirring line marking.  Sew the front and back linings together at the shoulder seams.  Sew the bodice front and dress back pieces together at the shoulder seams.  Place the lining over the dress, right sides together, and stitch around the neckline.  Clip the curves, turn right side out and press.

Then you will need to “burrito roll” the bodice to sew the armscyes.  If you’ve never done the “burrito roll” method, it’s almost magical how it works!  Basically you are rolling the garment up from one side, then flipping the opposite sides over and around (enclosing the rolled portion in the shoulder strap area) and stitching the armscye, then pulling it through.  There are plenty of video tutorials online if you are a visual learner.  Again you will clip the curves, turn the bodice right side out and press carefully.  Stitch the side seams and press.  Turn the bottom edge of the lining under 1/4″ and press.

You’re supposed to do 5 or 6 lines of shirring along the back, to give a nice fitted look.  Since shirring didn’t really sound fun, and wasn’t the look I was going for, I opted to use elastic in a casing.  Keeping your fabric smooth, stitch the bodice back lining to the dress back along the bottom two marked shirring lines.  This will give you the casing for the back elastic. To determine the proper length of elastic, measure your body around the bottom of the bodice.  Divide the measurement in two, and use 3/8″ wide cotton swimwear elastic, marked at that length.  Thread the elastic through, stitching it in place at both ends.  Then stitch the bodice front lining in place by stitching in the ditch along the front seam line.

The interior back bodice:

Washi int backThe interior front bodice:

Washi int front

Can you see why lining the bodice is worth the effort?  There is just something so satisfying about a garment that is as nicely finished on the inside as it is on the outside!  You can always feel proud about making a quality garment that will last!

Washi frontWashi back

I love my new dress!  And it has pockets!  It’s cool and comfortable, and can be layered under a jacket or cardigan for year round use.

Washi pocketsWashi down

Using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine was the only way to do the hem.  It’s a nice deep hem, folded under an inch, zigzagged and pressed, then folded under another two inches.  It reminds me of the type of sewing my beloved grandmother used to do. ❤  High quality fabrics, quality finishes, and a nice deep hem.

Now that I’ve got my pattern perfected, I need to decide on some more Art Gallery Fabric so that I can make another dress!

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my link.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern hacking. ❤