Shakespeare and Sundresses

It’s that time again.  Time to put away the sundresses (or at least think about putting a sweater over them) and get out the Mary Janes.  School has started.  Yes, Kiki is now officially a Kindergartner.

Don’t worry, all’s well.  She loves her school and her teacher and all her pals.  But I’m not ready to talk too much about that yet.  We still have summer dresses to think about! Specifically, we have dresses to wear while flitting around the backyard in the style of A Midsummer Night’s Dream . . .

Figgy's Zephyr Sundress Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsThe lovely Lulu is in a modified Zephyr Sundress from Figgy’s, and the enchanting Kiki is in Dress J from the much loved Japanese pattern book  Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids — both in Nani Iro Pocho double gauze.

To be honest, the inspiration for both these dresses is our annual family photo shoot coming up soon.  We’re planning to be captured on film frolicking on the beach in the late afternoon.  What could go wrong???  At the very least the girls will have appropriately flowy dresses in which to frolic, should they choose to do so on the appointed day.

Let’s start with Kiki . . .

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsHer dress was a no brainer for me.  I’ve been wanting to try this V neck dress from Happy Homemade for more than a year.  When I saw Laura’s version in Nani Iro, I knew what I had to do.

I looked at the modifications that both Laura and Rachel made to their versions of this dress and got to thinking.  I liked their idea of lining the bodice, as the pattern instructions have you just zig zag the edges and then sew trim on top of that to finish — which does seem a little skimpy when you’re using double gauze (ie, the good stuff).

In the end, I decided to go with Rachel’s method to add that bodice lining.  She suggests that you follow the instructions for the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress bodice and lining.  Brilliant idea!  The tops of these two dresses are constructed in a very similar way, and the Oliver + S instructions take all the guess work out of it.  This worked like a charm, and I highly recommend to anyone else making the dress with a lining to follow Rachel’s lead.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids(For the record, the flowers were 100% Kiki’s idea.  In fact, she made backyard flower picking and bouquet creation a condition for her participation in photo taking.)

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsWho doesn’t love double gauze?  It can be a little bit of a pain to sew, and the weave is pretty loose, making it easy for things to unravel and get a bit stretched out when stitching.  But hey, it’s totally worth it.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsA little round pink button seemed to be the thing to do for the closure — with metallic pink dots on the fabric and all.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsI think I made her a size 4 with added length (it’s been a few weeks).  The fit is very nice, with a bit of room to grow — which is a good thing since gauzy dress wearing days are numbered around here at this point.  It’ll be nice to see this one again next year.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsAfter Kiki’s dress was done and hidden in the closet to await family photo shoot day, I had to think long and hard about what to do for Lulu.

If you’ve stopped by here before, you may know that Lulu will not wear any kind of skirt or dress that doesn’t “spread around.” It has to twirl, and twirl big.  No negotiations on this one.  Pattern choices are a little limited with this requirement.  I really wanted something flowy and beachy — not a fitted bodice and circle skirt.

After much searching, I decided on using the top of Figgy’s Zephyr Sundress, with its truly fab braided straps and buttons, and adding on a very full skirt.

Figgy's Zephyr SundressThe top is made with leftover Nani Iro from Kiki’s dress, and the skirt is that crinkly cotton gauze you can find at the fabric store for, like, $3 a yard.

I made the top of the dress as directed.  For the skirt, I decided how long I wanted it to be, and then cut two pieces that length from the crinkle gauze from selvage to selvage.  I sewed them together, gathered the top and attached it to the bodice.  That’s it!

Figgy's Zephyr SundressI was hesitant to press up the bottom of the skirt for the hem, since I had no idea what that would do the the crinkle factor.  So, I just zig zagged it and called it a day.

Aren’t the braided straps neat?

Figgy's Zephyr SundressI found the pink transparent buttons at an antique store a while back.  Don’t they look kind of like beach glass?

Figgy's Zephyr SundressAnd now for the moment of truth . . . does this dress have enough twirl for the discriminating Lulu?

Figgy's Zephyr SundressWhy yes, it does!

Enjoy the last days of summer!