Kid’s Clothes Week is rapidly coming to an end and I’m afraid I haven’t done nearly as much sewing as I anticipated. The kids have been off school, the sun’s been shining, there’s been al fresco dining, walks in the woods, visits to local attractions and even a day trip to Paris, but, alas, not enough sewing.
I did manage, however, to get this dress done for Perfect Pattern Parcel (read more about PPP here) – and I am so glad I did! The pattern, the fabric, the whole process in fact just confirmed my love of sewing. I sew a lot – some projects tick along as you would expect, some are unmitigated disasters, and others go above and beyond your expectations. I’m so pleased to say that sewing this dress was firmly in the final category.
This is the Hanami Dress and Top by An of Straightgrain Patterns. It’s a great versatile pattern that includes options for the neckline (collar or no collar), sleeves (flutter or tulip), length (top or dress), and back closure (zip or cross-over). With so many options you could easily make this multiple times and it would still look fresh. Also, it comes in a huge range of sizes from 12 months to 10 years.
What I did
To choose which size to make for this dress you have to do things a bit differently. Instead of comparing your kid’s measurements to a chart, you only have the finished garment measurements to work with. This stumped me at first (I even emailed An asking for my ‘missing’ chart) but now that I get it I think it’s a great idea. Basically, An wants you to decide how fitted or loose the bodice should be so you simply compare the measurements of an existing dress to the chart and make your decision that way. Perhaps not ideal if you’re making this for a gift but I do think they pretty much run to what you would expect – I made a size 6 for my 6-year-old and the fit is perfect.
The options I chose for my version were:
- Dress length – I did hem it slightly more than instructed as I liked the shorter look and can always let it down as she grows.
- Cross-over back – I’d never tried this cross-over technique so decided to give this a go (plus I love the pop of neon with the button holes).
- No collar – as much as I LOVE the collar, it’s not possible to combine it with the cross-over back so I left it off. It’s going on next time though!
- Tulip sleeves – just because they are lovely!
The one only other changes I made were adding neon piping to the sleeve edges and waistline. It’s no secret that I’m nutty for piping and this neon version has had me fall in love all over again. I know I’m a little late to this fluoro party (and, tbh, I thought I wouldn’t join it at all) but I think this flash of colour is just perfect! In my head I’m adding it to every new project! Do you ever do that – learn a new technique or find a new notion that you just can’t stop using?? I was the same with fabric covered buttons a couple of years ago…and bias-binding before that. What’s your go-to notion to personalise your sewing? Sorry, I’m getting off track…
The fabric is from Ditto – a treasure trove of a fabric shop that I stumbled upon in Brighton, UK a few months ago. It’s one of those shops where the beauty doesn’t necessarily jump out at you (like it does at Ray Stitch, The Village Haberdashery or de Stoffenkamer, for example) – you have to shuffle and re-arrange a bit to find a gem…but when you do it really is like finding treasure. This fabric was in a tiny room upstairs – rolled up and almost out of sight. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more!
The piping I found locally in Belgium – at the chain store Veritas that sells everything from sewing supplies, to tights and underpants, to handbags, hair clips, and knitting supplies. It’s a strange concept for a shop but ask any Belgian sewist – you also couldn’t live without it for the essentials.
I honestly cannot say enough good things about this pattern. With so many options available there is a tiny pain barrier to get through in terms of choosing which bit of the pattern and instructions are relevant to your project but, hey!, that’s a small price to pay for all this versatility. With its combination of photos and illustrations the whole process went smoothly and, dare I say it?, effortlessly. My only added tip or trick would be to use dental floss when gathering the sleeves and waistline for more glide (but pay attention to An’s tips for getting that waistband gathered evenly). Check out this photo for a visual of how dental floss helps with gathering.
This is one pattern that I’m sure to make again! What about you – have you tried the Hanami yet? Have you purchased your Perfect Pattern Parcel so you can get this as well as four other fabulous girl patterns?? I’ve gotta try those Hosh Pants. With Kid’s Clothes Week and Perfect Pattern Parcel in full swing – the inspiration is almost overwhelming! Once we all come down from that, who’s gonna join me in Selfish Sewing Week and Me Made May?? I just wish there were more hours in the day…
Thanks for reading,