The Child has just had a long awaited for growth spurt and when I cleared her wardrobe out after moving recently I realised that the total of her non school clothes consisted of a pair of shorts, a skirt, a top and a Chewbacca dress. She has even grown out of her pants! As it was my Granny's 90th birthday party yesterday a new dress had to be the first thing on my list of wardrobe replenishments.
I recently bought three new patterns from Compagnie M. - the Mara Blouse, the Lotta Dress and the Louisa Dress. If you buy more than one pattern from Compagnie M. there is a discount (if you buy 1 pattern it would be €16, 2 would be €15.20 each and 3 €14.40 each and it keeps going down) so naturally I bought three and with the pound being strong against the Euro at the moment this made excellent financial sense. Obviously.
I decided to start with the Mara blouse but the key is in the name. It is a blouse and not a dress. There is a tutorial for turning the blouse into an a-line dress, or a dress with a ruffle hem but I really wanted a mix between the Lotta dress and the Mara blouse. I started by tracing the blouse outline, laying the Lotta bodice underneath then matching up the armholes and tracing a new line for the side seam and waistline. The skirt is the Lotta skirt without any pockets (which are lovely and I can't wait to make them but I just felt would be lost in this print, or rather the print would be lost).
I then constructed the front using the blouse instructions and assembled the dress as I would normally do. The other change I made was to the sleeves. The pattern has three sleeve variations, none of which I felt were what I was looking for with this dress. I used the butterfly sleeve option but cut them on the fold so they don't have a split down the centre.
After I had finished the dress I hung it up and realised it did not look right. I hadn't taken enough width out of the front bodice and the waist seam was too low. I unpicked the waist seam, remeasured the side seams using one of her school dresses as a guide then reattached the skirt back on and was very relieved that it worked! I still have a few issues with the dress, for example the chambray I used is a bit on the lightweight side to be paired with a quilting cotton (but just about works) and when I made this mash up again I would consider leaving out the pin tucks and adding a back zip, but on the whole I am really pleased.
The main fabric I used for the dress is French Lessons by Dear Stella from The Village Haberdashery. My husband and I had our first date in Paris (not as romantic as it sounds but still quite cool!) just over ten years ago and he and the Child chose this fabric together which I thought was really sweet. I bought a metre and there is not a lot left over. I had just enough to make a matching hair tie using a free pattern from Oliver & S and I might see if I can squeeze out a little something for Edwina (her favourite bear). The chambray used for the bodice was an EBay buy and is really lightweight and drapey. I bought quite a lot of this and am intending to use the rest on a dress for me, at some point!
We had such a lovely day yesterday with my Granny and the rest of the family. It was really good to see everyone again and celebrate such an amazing and inspirational lady's 90th birthday - she taught me how to knit when I was five and now I'm hoping my Mum will teach my little lady.