KCW: Swingset Dresses X 2

I’ve been wanting to try out Oliver + S‘s Swingset Tunic for the longest time.  I recently gave it a whirl in its original tunic form with mixed results (due to my own brain farts, btw).  I’ll tell you more about that one later.  Right now, I’d like to show you two versions of this pattern, hot off the presses for Kids Clothes Week, lengthened into dresses.

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

First of all, I’d like to say that this may be my favorite Oliver + S pattern.  The details on the tunic are so sweet and simple.  It just says summer to me, loud and clear.  This little top seems so well suited to become the perfect summer sundress.

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

Just for reference, here’s a peek at this pattern at the original tunic length . . .

Oliver + S Swingset Tunic

Anyway, my first attempt at converting this into a dress was for Lulu.  All I did to lengthen it was to extend the skirt straight down to the length I wanted.  I was pretty pleased with the result at first, but after looking at it for a minute or two, the hem seemed pretty narrow. What do you think?  A little bit too tube-like?

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

It’s not tragic or anything — Lulu can still run around in it without feeling encumbered by a too narrow skirt.  But still, I wished I had thought of flaring the skirt out a bit.

Of course, I had already cut out the pattern pieces for the second Swingset Dress meant for Kiki.  But luckily, I had enough fabric left to re-cut the skirt pieces with a better shape.  To be sure I got it right the second time, I took a look at a couple of skirt widths on dresses in Kiki’s closet before proceeding.  The skirt on her Oliver & S Roller Skate Dress looked just about right, so I decided to copy the hemline from that pattern.

I pulled out the Roller Skate pattern and compared it with the Swingset pattern hem line.

Patterns 9

I drew in the hem line from that pattern onto my lengthened Swing Set skirt pattern piece and drew a diagonal line from the outside of the hemline of the skirt up to about 2 inches below the arm pit.

Patterns 3

I wanted to be sure that the bodice lining lined up properly with the skirt, so I made sure to start flaring out the skirt below where the bodice lining ends.  I you dive into this pattern, you’ll see what I mean, as the bodice lining sits below the top of the skirt on the sides.


Here’s the new pattern piece . . .

Patterns 8

I think the result is a success.  A nice, A-line dress.

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

(Don’t mind Kiki.  She thinks it’s totally hilarious to stick her tongue out in pictures these days.)

You may recognize the fabric on both of these dresses as different prints of the much beloved Briar Rose line from Heather Ross.  I know we’ve all been seeing these fabrics for a long while now, but I just can’t get enough.  I mean, check out the bees here!

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

Kiki’s dress is Nanny Bee in Green.  And Lulu’s is Cricket Clover in Pink.  Can you spot the crickets???

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

These are not the easiest fabrics to find nowadays, but I was able to snag both on Etsy.

If you haven’t tackled the Swing Set Tunic (or dress), there is a possibility that you may be ever so slightly confused when it comes to attaching the skirt to the back bodice.  There is a funky thing about separating the lining from the button placket.  Anyway, if you find yourself scratching your head, take a look at this very helpful tutorial on the O+S blog.  The photos will make it all come clear 🙂

My favorite part of sewing these little dresses was choosing the buttons.  For Lulu, I picked these really cool pink ones with a little white grid pattern which looks hand drawn — perfect for this fabric.

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

For Kiki, I chose yellow buttons that look like lemon drops.  Kiki calls them “bee hive buttons.”  I used the same ones last year on a Roly Poly Pinafore for Lulu, which was also made from bee themed Briar Rose fabric.  I say, if something works, stick with it!

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

Speaking of buttons, you may notice that I only used two here while the pattern calls for three.  I did use three on my very first attempt and found it difficult to get my machine to cooperate in sewing the bottom button hole.  Things got too thick and lopsided with the seam allowances from the skirt and layers of fabric and interfacing on the placket.  I found cutting it down to two buttons and situating the bottom button a little higher up on the placket made things a world easier.  And truthfully, I don’t even miss that third button.

Oliver + S Swing Set Tunic Dress

So that’s a wrap for project #2 during this Kids Clothes Week.  I’ll be popping up again with #3, just as soon as I can pull myself together . . .

7 responses

  1. Thank you for the lengthening and buttonhole tips! I finally got about to buying this pattern and the top and skirt are on my to-sew list for July. Your versions are wonderful! And I agree about the Heather Ross fabric, it’s lovely and perfect for these summer dresses.

    • Hi Elizabeth — I hope the tips save you some time 🙂 I can’t wait to see your version! What is it about those fabrics that make them so great??

  2. Pingback: A Mara Dress « Rosemary Mornings

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