Tuesday, July 9, 2013

keeping my word

Years ago, I promised my friend Jo that I'd make something pretty for her daughter. Her daughter was two years old at the time. Now she's four, is starting to wear a size five, and I figured I'd better cut into this pale mint green raw silk before she got so big I no longer had the yardage to make her a dress!
This is Simplicity 2320, a Project Runway pattern. I wanted to make a pretty dress that felt like it belonged on a little girl in a Slavic fairy tale: just add a furry vest and some thick stockings and boots, and she's ready for adventure! I washed the raw silk, which roughs up the hand of the cloth, but I love the nubby softness of raw silk. It's like wearing a beloved childhood blanket or something. I also like the look of embroidery on fabrics with a more organic, home-spun feel; it just seems right. Pretty, without being too precious.
I cut a size six, in case anything happened and I got delayed in this project. I'm estimating little S. should be able to fit into this dress by late winter or early spring next year - and won't it be perfect for that time of year? As Cass said, when I first showed him the dress,  "Oh! It's more of a winter dress than a summer dress" (I think he was surprised)
I found this embroidery pattern via pinterest. Seriously, I love pinterest. it saves me the hassle of so many downloaded images, stored on my computer. I did these abstracted flowers up in straight stitch, french knots, and lazy daisy, with satin stitch for the leaves and stem stitch for the stems (there's a real surprise, eh?).

Even before I had figured out what I wanted to do with the yoke, I knew I wanted to embroider the sleeves. It just gives the dress that extra oomph! - don't you think? I cut the pattern with the wide three-quarter-length sleeve option, and simply turned the hem 1/8 inch and then 1/4 inch to make a narrow channel for some 1/8-inch braided elastic. Unlike the full-length sleeve option for this dress (which is also elasticized, at the wrist), this version doesn't have a ruffle below the elastic. I like this simpler silhouette - again, I think it's a nice contrast to the precious-ness of the embroidery.

The flowers here are done in lazy daisy, with French knot centers, and the leaves are all done in herringbone stitch. The stems are in stem stitch, again.

Well, now it goes into the mail and hopefully I'll get a picture of little miss S. in her fancy new dress in the months to come. It's definitely too hot to wear during the summer, but hopefully soon!

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