For the holidays this year, I decided to make the girls quasi-matching dresses — knowing full well that they might not get worn much. That’s how is goes with holiday dresses around here. In order to make it worth the effort, I thought it best to take this as an opportunity to do a little experimenting.
For about two years, I’ve been itching to try out the Oliver + S Library Dress with an invisible zipper in the back instead of buttons. There’s a great tutorial on the O+S blog that takes you through it step by step.
I made a couple changes to the method in the tutorial. Firstly, I extended the zipper to be the full length of the bodice, cutting it off at the point where the skirt is sewn on — as it’s done in the Hanami Dress. It’s simpler and less fiddley that way. I also cut the back skirt in one piece on the fold, rather than in two pieces with a seam down the center back — no need to do that with a zipper that ends at the waist!
As you can see, I also added a sash at the back. As much as I love this pattern, it’s always bugged me that the waistband doesn’t extend to the back. It’s kind of a bummer.
I originally wanted to sew the back waistband into the dress just like the front. But in the end, I chickened out for fear that the bulk of the waistband seam allowances would muck up the zipper. So I took the easy way out and just sewed up two sash pieces and stitched them in at the side seams. I think the result is just fine.
When I was cutting the waistband and sash pieces for Kiki’s dress, I ran out of fabric — oops! I ended up piecing together one of the sash pieces from the remaining scraps. Luckily, it doesn’t show much with this print.
Kiki’s sash was also a bit longer originally. But for some reason, this caused great distress. So I ended up chopping off a couple of inches of sash and finishing the raw edges with a very narrow zig zag. Not ideal, but there was no way I was going to take the dress apart to restitch the ends of that sash. She was hugely relieved!
I sure do love the cuffs on this dress. It’s such a great detail.
The fabric for both dresses is Robert Kaufman 21 wale corduroy (in jade and red from Fabric.com) with quilting cotton contrast fabric from Hawthorne Threads, neither of which I can find on their site anymore.
As usual, my Fabric.com order got screwed up. About a week after I placed the order, I got an email saying that they didn’t have enough jade corduroy in stock and that they’d send only the red. I frantically searched for the jade elsewhere (it was not easy to find), and reordered it on Etsy. When the Fabric.com package arrived, the jade was in there, but in two pieces. There was more than enough for Lulu’s dress. Why did they not tell me that they’d send the jade in two pieces, saving me the trouble and expense of finding another piece??? Why???? (Will I never learn?)
Anyway, Kiki’s dress is 4T width and 5T length, and Kiki’s is a straight up 3T. If I had these to sew again, I’d add an inch or two in length.
(For the record, I’m not the meanest mom in the world. Taking our photos outside in the snow was totally Kiki and Lulu’s idea. I didn’t wear a jacket either!!)
After about 10 minutes, we were all ready to go inside.
I’ll leave you with Lulu wearing the perfect holiday accessory — Christmas ornaments as earrings . . .
Happy New Year!