Flora and Fauna V neck dress

I'm at the beach. That has nothing to do with this post or this dress, but you guys. The beach! It's been a week with a cranky teething baby and the beach is the only remedy. We went and collected shells before dinner, and I tell you, the ocean worked her magic on my sweet Caroline, because for that half of an hour, she was filled with delight. I miss delighted (and delightful) Caroline. Before we left I did two more projects for Kids Clothes Week. One is to-be-photographed still- a beachy bonnet for my babe, and the other, this dress.

The pattern is from the Japanese pattern book Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids. Meg- theeee Meg from Elsie Marley and creator of Kid's Clothes Week highly recommended it. My mom, who knows me so, bought it for me for my birthday back in January. She's good to me:) Somehow I hadn't yet sewn anything from it until now. A travesty!! This pattern is j. V-neck dress, and I've known for months that would be my first make from this book. It was my first experience with Japanese diagram patterns, and while I really loved it, I do think it would be tricky for a beginner to use. They assume a lot of knowledge about seam finishing, pressing, and other technique, and if you didn't have a good base in those things the finished result would be pretty unpolished.

I'm super duper wishing I'd sized down, as its a bit big on my skinny gal. I'm planning to layer it with this stripy Bimaa and some leggings with red boots in the fall (yes, I have it planned, and no, she probably won't approve) so I didn't want it to be too snug and her measurements were borderline for a 2/4, but I'm confident a size 2 would have fit just fine.

The fabric. I have this thing about buying fabric online- I rarely do it. Actually I've only purchased fabric online like...twice? I looooove all the fabulous designer prints, but a. I'm always on the hunt for a deal, and b. I just like to feel stuff. I have a hard time buying without knowing what it feels like. I also have this thing about quilting cotton for clothing- I don't like wrinkles, or ironing. But nice designer quilting cotton doesn't wrinkle like the cheaper stuff does, but it also is mostly sold online... so yeah. I've got issues. BUT, turns out they carry a line of Cloud 9 organic quilting cotton at JoAnn, which meant I could feel it AND use a coupon. This fabric looked so fabulously summery with the grasses, cats, and birds, and also could easily transition to fall with the darker palette. Long story long (again) I bought it. And then I made this dress:)

Things I loved:

  • the illustrations are beautiful (the directions are almost entirely diagrams- no words!)
  • the illustrations make it easy to see several steps at once, without having to read through a bunch of stuff
  • the diagrams also helped me visualize the garment as a whole, and how each step helps bring the final piece together
  • the trim was easy to apply and made for a quick way to finish the arm and neck.
  • no buttonholes or zippers made it a quick sew
Things I changed:
  • shortened the hem by several inches
  • used French seams to finish the side seams of the skirt
Things I'll change, next time:
  • when in doubt, size down a bit
  • lengthen back yoke to match the front yoke length (it feels a little hospital gown-ish from the back)
Fabric & Notions:
Despite the size issue, this dress is perfectly summery. Cats, birds, mice, grasses and all manner of flora. What more could a girl want?
So, has anyone else sewn with Japanese patterns? What was your experience? Or anyone logging some beach time this weekend? Wish you were here!