Friday, August 9, 2013

Charlotte's Web dress - Butterick B4718

The original plan was to make this Butterick dress for little P's birthday back in June. I had this cute blue and white gingham fabric with pink roses, which I thought would work perfectly with dress C but with the shorter length of dresses A and B.
I was toying with the idea of a Charlotte’s Web themed birthday party and I thought little P would make a great Dakota Fanning in her gingham dress. Okay I know the two dresses are totally different. It was more an inspired by than an actual copy of the dress below.
As a kid I longed for a proper big girl dress with a skirt that spun out when I twirled around and a waist around my middle and not up about my earholes. As far as I know little P doesn’t share this dress dream. But if there is a decent dose of pink thrown in, it’s all good in her book.
Back to the birthday - I had a mental picture of the garden full of hay bales, a petting zoo with piglets, spider's web-shaped climbing ropes hanging from the trees. It would have been amazing but in the end I didn't get the dress finished in time and the only nod to Charlotte was the pig-shaped cake. We all had a great time even without the extra Charlotte paraphernalia!
The reason the dress was only half cut out on the eve of her birthday was I ran out of fabric. I made a silly mistake early on and misread the layout instructions. I hadn’t understood that a piece which is shown half dotted half plain in the layout is actually one piece not two and you are supposed to cut it out last of all. Well I snipped it in two and was suddenly missing half my bodice.
There wasn't time to get more fabric - in fact the shop had completely run out - so I put the whole project to one side. When I came back to it recently, I realised if I lined it in a contrasting fabric and turned one of my back bodice pieces into a front piece it might just be salvageable. Luckily I'd cut out the back as one piece not two. I already had a bubblegum pink zip to go with the roses so I picked out a matching pink lining fabric. I really liked the little peek of pink at the neckline and armholes. In fact I was really proud of how the bodice turned out. Everything lined up and looked really neat.
The zip was more troublesome. I couldn't make sense of the instructions and wasn't even sure what sort of zip I was aiming for. After a fair amount of pinning and experimenting I figured out how to attach the zip to the outer fabric. I then sewed as close as I could to the zip teeth with my regular presser foot. It worked fine but I seem to have sent the thread tension out of whack ever since!
I was completely bamboozled about how to attach the lining fabric to the zip and hide the raw edges. I had already sewn up the side seams and attached the bodice to the skirt so there was no way of turning the fabric inside out. I really didn't want any raw edges along the zip so hand sewed the zip to the lining inside which looked okay. 
Sometimes dressmaking feels like figuring out a rubix cube. I think next time I would attach the zip to the bodice before sewing on the skirt so I could machine the inside. I would also tuck away all those raw edges where the skirt joins the top. Maybe I'd have to hand stitch all the way around the waist?
The finished dress looked great but initially the fit was terrible. I used age two sizing for the width and age three for the length as that matched little P’s measurements most closely. The length was fine but it was ridiculously large around the body. Rather than unpick the zip - I couldn’t face it - I snipped it out and bought a new one. It was only 40p. Then I took the whole thing in by a couple of inches around the back. I thought it might throw the armholes out of kilter but it worked just fine.
And here it is. It's pretty. It's comfy. It has a satisfyingly swirly skirt. It's great for a party or just playing out in.
She loves it! I love it and would definitely give this pattern another go.

No comments:

Post a Comment