Saturday, April 9, 2016

Summer Dress

This is another sweet pattern from Ottobre, summer 2008. The dress in the magazine is actually quite different. I used the basic bones as a starting place.

Granddaughter will turn 7 in a few weeks. She selected the fabric with a little input from me and her mother. I was able to steer her to some cotton lawn selections for the skirt, sleeves and binding. The bodice is quilt weight, but it works just fine for this portion of the dress. The cotton lawn was lovely to cut and sew. I think it will be great to wear too.

Gathering is easy, right? I've been doing it since I first began sewing as a pre-teen. But in the back of my mind, I could picture some pretty sloppy gathering in past projects, so I decided to aim a bit higher. I consulted a great resource on my sewing room shelf, Couture: The Fine Art of Sewing by Roberta Carr. I purchased this from Marla Kozell when she taught a class locally. It is a gold-mine of for great sewing techniques.

Indeed there was terrific instruction on how to get even gathers. I was surprised to learn that the suggested stitch length for gathering was 2.5 mm, just 0.1 mm larger than my normal stitch length. The first row is stitched just inside the seam line; the second one is 1/8 inch further inside the seam allowance. I pulled the bobbin threads and it worked just great!

As with so much sewing, careful pressing is key to success. I had not thought about pressing the even gathers before attaching to the bodice. I am really quite pleased with the result.

Even though the skirt is cotton lawn, it is not at all transparent so I chose to omit lining from that and from the bodice. It gets hot here is the southeast and this will be a light weight dress for the fast approaching summer months.

The original inspiration my granddaughter spotted had a bubble skirt. I had intended to bubble it, but decided that the flow of this skirt is just too sweet as is. And it's so hard to properly iron a bubble skirt. I did add a bias strip from the bodice fabric to give the hem a little weight.

Now I am anxious to make myself something new!


  1. That really is a sweet dress, Martha! She will love it!

  2. It's sort of a shame that children grow so quickly as I'm sure this dress will become a very firm favourite for your granddaughter. Lovely

  3. Such a pretty dress. I can see a golden summer's worth of wear for it. She'll love it!