A Lulu in Gingham

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalThe Lulu Dress pattern from Craftiness In Not Optional is one of my faves.  This is the fourth one I’ve made for Kiki, and they are all the most worn garments in her closet — which is saying a lot, because this little lady is picky.  The first three were made last September, and she’s worn them all year long.  Now that I’m thinking about clothes for Kindergarten (what???), she clearly needs a new set of Lulus.

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalThis particular Lulu was made with the Fourth of July in mind.  Here you can see it in action at the local parade . . .

Gingham Lulu 12Perfect, right?

The blue gingham knit is from Girl Charlee, and the red trim was cut from an old t-shirt of mine.  I’m not always delighted with the quality of fabric from Girl Charlee, but this one is holding up great.  It’s been through the wash at least a half a dozen times already, with no sign of wear & tear.

Because this dress is all knit, it travels great and always looks good — even if it’s just been pulled out of the bottom of the beach bag.  Plus, Kiki can easily put it on and take it off herself.  Big win.

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalBecause her last set of Lulus still fit well on top, this time I cut a 4T width and 5T length on both the bodice and the skirt.  The longer length really makes her look so grown up. She wore it to her preschool day camp last week, and one of the teachers said that she looks like a real Kindergartner in it.  I agree.  Can’t believe it!

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalThese pockets have been filled with all manner of treasures already.  Rocks, feathers, shells, you name it.  I have to check them carefully before tossing this baby into the washer.  Wouldn’t want to lose anything precious!

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalOnce I finished this dress and saw it on Kiki, I almost wished I had added a faux placket on the bodice, which is one of the options included in the pattern.  I’ll definitely try that out on another version soon.

Lulu Dress Craftiness Is Not OptionalHooray for the perfect little dress to take us from summer to fall!

Lulupalooza!

It’s as if a package was delivered to me straight from heaven — the Lulu Dress from Craftiness Is Not Optional.

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I didn’t fully grasp the awesomeness of this pattern when it first came out.  It’s pretty simple and straightforward.  But you see, when you have a four year old who will wear nothing but tops and skirts (despite the myriad of lovely dress choices in her closet, hand-crafted by her loving mother), you can bet your bottom dollar that said four year old will never choose a combination that comes at all close to matching, or even vaguely coordinating.  (I’m sure it goes without saying that she also has many well thought out top/skirt combinations that were also hand-crafted by the same loving mother.)  It’s like she puts on a blindfold, opens her drawer and picks at random.  Suggestions of the perfect combination are met with dismissiveness and borderline hostility.  Most of the time it’s pretty hilarious. But, I have to admit that it can at times be frustrating for her own personal stylist and clothing creator.

I get it.  I really do.  She’s asserting her independence and exploring her own sense of style.  These are things to be respected and encouraged.  I for sure don’t want to be the one to rain on her creativity parade.

Enter the Lulu Dress.  I show Kiki the gorgeous photos online of Jess’s darling girls wearing their Lulus and say “Look Kiki — it’s a skirt and top . . . but they’re attached to each other!  Wouldn’t you love to wear that??”  “Yeah, I definitely would!” she replies. Holy Mother of all Good Things, she totally bought it!  Kiki might actually wear something that matches head to toe!!  (Although, I can make no guarantees on the choice of shoes, as you can see.)

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So, needless to say, I made three of them.  Right away.

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The first one was made with the first day of school in mind.  It’s Heather Rose Briar Rose strawberry knit on top and chambray from the Imagine Gnats shop on the bottom.

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If this dress looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s a total knock-off of At Luce Ends’ terrific version of the Lulu Dress.  Seeing Stacy’s take on this dress is what really made me want to give it a whirl, i.e. try to convince Kiki to wear one 🙂  So, I made one (almost) just like hers!

Craftiness Is Not Optional Lulu Dress

I was tickled pink when Kiki insisted on wearing this dress as many days in a row as we could manage it without washing.  It did appear on day one of preschool, and again the next day.  Hallelujah!

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Don’t you love the pockets?  They’re so easy to do!  And chances are, you’ll have just enough coordinating solid cotton sitting in your stash for these cool pockets just like I did.

The only thing that I found to be tricky was pinning that binding around the neckline and armholes, and sewing it down evenly.  It’s definitely not at all impossible — you just have to take your time.  Other than that, this dress whips up in a flash.

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Lulu #2 is Heather Ross Briar Rose again, this time with woven strawberries in green on the bottom and an old Ann Taylor Loft t-shirt of mine on top.

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Since I buy most of my knits online, I was apprehensive about finding the right shade of pink for the top.  So I was pleased as could be when I found the perfect match in my own closet.

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This one was worn again and again as well.  Yeah, baby!

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The third and final Lulu is Girl Charlee jersey on top and random quilting cotton from Joann’s a million years ago on the bottom.

20140924_173129After Lulu #3, I have to admit that the thrill was gone for Kiki and the Lulu Dress.  Maybe I overdid it.  Maybe my enthusiasm for her actually wearing the stuff I made her was a little too much, a little too annoying for a four year old.  And, sadly, these three dresses have languished in the closet ever since.  Maybe she’ll come around again.  But if not, it was still totally worth it to see her so jazzed about these “attached skirt & tops” (not dresses, please) while it lasted.

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Maybe I can figure out how to make a long sleeved version for winter and quietly slip one into her closet to see what happens . . .