EXPLORER mini collection look 3: GATHER

It's here at last- the details for Look 3 from my EXPLORER mini collection. You can find details for look 1 here, and look 2 here. EXPLORER look 3

As I've mentioned before, twirly is this girls go-to, so the Starlight City Dress was a no brainer. The fabric however was much harder, as I waited to select this one until I'd made my other two looks, and even had the vest fabric before choosing the dress fabric. I passed this butterfly knit at Joann several times before finally deciding that this was it. The pattern is made for woven so I worried a bit about that, but I'd already cut the pattern pieces and didn't want to reprint so I still made it in her usual size 3. This knit is a 2 way stretch- it only stretches across the body, not vertically. I could have sized down but I still think it works alright and will definitely last her a while! The only modifications I made were to lengthen the skirt by 1.5 inches and to taper the half sleeve, taking it in .5in at the bottom. Had the dress been made in woven I doubt I would have needed that sleeve modification but in knit the sleeves looked a bit baggy. I tried to find a link to the fabric on the Joann website but I'm unable to find it- sorry! They have a silky woven in the same print, but that seemed a bit too fancy for my daughter.

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The verdict on this one: It's an absolute hit! This is one of the first things she grabs out of the laundry. She bragged about it to everyone she met on the hotel elevator in DC last week. I love that the fabric is a bit sophisticated looking but the subject matter keeps it fresh and young, and it has plenty of fun colors in it while still reading as a bit of a neutral.

The vest is made of this quilted fabric, also from Joann. I used the Explorer vest from the Oliver + S book Little Things to Sew and sewed a size small. I altered the neckline to remove the front curve and drafted a collar. I also omitted the pockets from the pattern and drafted my own slanted pocket with a small pleat detail to add some volume for extra gathering. I planned to add a front zipper but once I had it all bound I decided I liked how easy it was to take on and off and I'm leaving it as is. I'd originally bound the entire thing in gold bias tape and as soon as I finished realized I'd made a huge mistake. This was the last piece to be completed so I had finished binding it the night before the photo shoot was supposed to take place. When I woke up in the morning I couldn't handle how "Bollywood" it felt with gold all over so I did the sensible thing (ha!) and cut all the trim off and re-bound it in a matching narrow bias tape. I almost regret it now because GOLD, but I think it fits with everything much better now.

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The vest has been relegated to the dress up bin as it's getting worn several times a week for brief periods of gathering and exploring. As for the accessories, the purse is thrifted from a few years back. I KNOW. it's amazing, and at least partially real leather.

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The shoes were both mentioned in previous posts, but the boots are Clarks Kids, a model from last year, and the shoes are Sun San Sweetheart by Hoy Shoes (the maker of Saltwaters).

There you have it, the final details on my EXPLORER mini collection! Which look was your favorite?