The Ileana has tons of options, so you can make a whole bunch of unique dresses from this one pattern. There’s a full or half circle skirt, a raglan or regular bodice, cap or short sleeves (or sleeveless, of course), different faux placket options, three different collars and three different pockets in there! And, the best thing about it, I think, is that you can mix and match sleeves and skirts from Compagnie M’s other patterns. That means you can use Lotta, Mara or Louisa parts with the Ileana to create just about anything. I’ve already made three of these dresses, one of which is a Lotta/Ileana hybrid (which I’ll show you later). Whoopeeeeee!
This solves some problems for me, as I’d like to make Lulu as many dresses as I make for her big sister Kiki, but her very strict “circle skirts only” policy makes it tricky to keep sewing without getting bored with just one style.
On to Lulu’s Ileana #1 — which she loves so much, she slept in it the night she tried it on the first time just because she didn’t want to take it off. I hadn’t even gotten the buttons on yet! She also reserved it for the first day of preschool this week.
Behold . . .
Lulu chose the fabric herself on a recent trip to Joann’s, and she now refers this dress as her “Owl Dress”. It’s quilting cotton, which works well for this pattern. I think it needs some structure, and the slightly heavier weight of the quilting cotton is perfect.
The collar, placket, pocket detail and hem tape are all a solid red Kona cotton.
The hem is finished with single fold bias tape, since it would be just about impossible to press up and hem a circle skirt. But when I was about half way through attaching the bias tape here (which takes a while, as the circle is pretty big), I realized I was accidentally sewing it on backwards, so that the tape would show on the outside, rather than on the inside of the skirt. I couldn’t face the prospect of taking it all off and starting again (especially after taking the time to make my own bias tape to match), so I decided to leave it as is and have the tape show on the outside. I think it turned out great this way!
This pocket design is awesome, and surprisingly easy to do — even easier then invisible side seam pockets. I did make one change, which was to stitch around the entire perimeter of the pockets on the front of the skirt on the inside, so that they don’t flop around while twirling and won’t get all bunched up in the drier. This was a good move.
I did my best on the zipper pattern matching. I hadn’t done it in a while and had to consult my own blog post about it to remember just what to do. Haha!
The only problem I had was turning the bodice right side out and getting it to press flat where the bodice meets the sleeves. I trimmed the seam allowance in there as much as I could, and it still doesn’t press perfectly smooth. But hey, let’s not obsess on the trivial. However, I do now know from recent experience that the regular bodice/cap sleeve option is easier and eliminates this problem, so I’ll probably stick with that plan in the future.
And now, for the ultimate test — twirlability . . .
Stay tuned for Ileana #2 . . .