There are the many thing to love about Kiki. But one of my favorites is her sense of commitment. Once she makes a decision, the kid sticks to it. Obviously, in a four-year old, this has its pluses and minuses. But as a life skill, I think it’s a pretty good thing.
One of the nuances of this particular characteristic of Kiki’s is that she does, after adhering to something for a good long while, occasionally change course — as one must inevitably do in life. Another good skill.
And so, one of these changes of course has occurred in our household over the past week or two. Kiki, the strictest wearer of skirts and tops only, has decided . . . get ready for this . . . to shed her previous identity and now is a Dress Wearer! Thanks be to the sewing gods! Dresses again!
I decided to mark the occasion with a new Kitschy Coo Skater Dress for every girl in the house under the age of five.
This is my first foray into the making of a Skater Dress. It seems silly to have waited so long. It’s a cute knit dress without closures, so kids can put it on unassisted. What more does one want?
I guess one reason for my hesitation was that whenever I’ve wanted to make a t-shirt style A-line dress for my girls, I’ve just hacked Made By Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee, as I did here. I didn’t see why I needed to shell out an extra few bucks for a pattern that helps me do what I’ve already been doing.
But then, I started seeing some really nice versions of the Skater pop up with gathered skirts and shortened bodices, especially Rachel’s from Stitched Together. So fab! I decided it was time to give the Skater a try with this variation. (I suppose I could have figured out how to do it using the Flashback Tee pattern, but isn’t it nice when someone else has already done the figuring for you?)
With my bodice cropping, skirt gathering scheme ready to go, the only remaining question was what size to make. For Kiki, I decided to go with a 3T/4T width and a 5T/6T length. Even though she’s closer to being five than she is to being three, she tends to need a narrower than usual bodice. But I’d like this dress to last a while, so extra length was in order.
You may be wondering why the skirt isn’t gathered. Funny thing . . . As I blissfully pictured a dress with a shortened bodice and gathered skirt, I cut the bodice pieces 1 3/8″ shorter than the pattern pieces. Then I cut the sleeves. But when it came time to cut the skirt 1 1/2 times wider than the pattern piece to allow for gathering, I ran out of fabric. How could this be? I started with a huge piece that was, like 52″ wide! This is what happens when one does not think things through before cutting. (Yes I am familiar with that old chestnut “measure twice, cut once,” although you wouldn’t have known it two nights ago in my dining room when the swearing began.)
Once I accepted that the gathered skirt was now just a pipe dream, I regrouped and decided to forge on and make a Skater dress with a regular skirt and shorter than normal bodice. Not the worst thing in the world. Luckily, I did have just enough fabric to cut the skirt in the normal proportions. And I did remember to add the 1 3/8″ I took off the bodice to the length of the skirt. One small victory.
This gorgeous fabric is interlock from Fabric Fairy. It’s hugely soft and thick — perfect for fall and winter. Kiki immediately fell in love with it when I took it out of the envelope the day it arrived. She was home sick that day and used it as a blanket all afternoon while lying on the couch watching Frozen. After I convinced her to hand it over so I could cut it into pieces and sew it up, she was thrilled with the dress.
When it came time to cut out Lulu’s dress, I was as savvy as could be as I layed out the pattern pieces to cut. Lo and behold, it all turned out fine. I ended up with the dress I had originally planned!
I love how this turned out, and so does Lulu. In fact, she’s had it on for the past 24 hours straight and plans to wear it all day again. We do have a rule around here about not being allowed to wear clothes the were actually slept in the night before. But, since today is Veteran’s Day and we’re home from school, I decided to let this one slide.
I played around with the sizing for Lulu. Because I am in love with these retro birds and I’d like to be able to see them for a good long while, I wanted to make this dress a little on the roomy side. I looked at her measurements and the sizing info in the pattern and decided on a 3T/4T bodice cut 2 3/8″ shorter than the pattern piece, and a 3T/4T skirt cut 1 1/2 times wider than the pattern piece to finally allow for the famous gathering. It is on the long side, but that’s how Lulu rolls right now. In the end, I would probably have done well to size down to a 18m/2T in the bodice. But that’s ok. She’ll be able to wear it next year too! Hooray!
The fabric is jersey (also from Fabric Fairy, but sold out now), so it’s much lighter than the interlock of Kiki’s dress, and the drape is just right. When I try this one again, I’ll be interested to see how a thicker, warmer knit works out.
For Kiki’s dress, I topstitched the neckline and hemmed with my double needle. But for Lulu’s, I went with a zig zag to up the retro factor.
Once everyone’s new dress was ready to go, we had a blast playing in the woods on what was perhaps the last warmish day we’ll have for a long, long while. Sigh.
As usual, Lulu didn’t disappoint in her choice of footwear.
Hooray for dresses!