Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Little Dressmaking.

I have been desperate to share the fruits of my Saturday sewing binge, a binge which I turned over purely to the sewing of things for me and two of the children. Florence's recent posts about her dressmaking exploits have set the off the yearning to follow suit and I found myself itching to run up the sundresses and skirts which have been firmly pushed to the back of my mind thus far due to all sewing time being needed for work on my pipany business (which has been extremely busy with orders for quite a considerable time now - most heartening I must say!).

Saturday dawned and with Mr davey away on business, thus no family-type plans afoot, I decided to bring my beautiful Bernina into the kitchen were I could still be 'with' the girls even if merely in spirit: well, you know what it's like when you actually get to do the things you have been desperate to do for such a long time...conversation sort of slides to a slow, "mmm?" or "yes, of course you can have a drink/biscuits/crisps...". I'm sure you get the drift (please say it isn't only me who becomes the most inattentive parent in the world at such times!)

Unfortunately, dear Dave had taken the camera away with him and I have therefore had to wait until now to share the outcome. This meant a hurried photo session this morning in the garden with Isabella who was not keen and fidgets interminably while I yell - I mean softly ask her to keep still just a little longer. Anyhow, onto the details: first up is this little sundress made from a beautiful soft Liberty lawn fabric I was so kindly given a few years back by a sweet fellow blogger, Elizabethd, on one of her returns to Cornwall.

I was actually lucky enough to receive several huge pieces of gorgeous fabrics from Elizabeth, many of which were vintage Liberty lawns all in the most delicate shades and patterns. So very beautiful. This one has tiny carnation flower in gentle mauves and pinks, the whole just begging to be made into something for the little one.

I was so keen to get going that I didn't make any patterns for the three items I made and just winged it. Now this would usually spell disaster, but now and then there is a feel in the air that tells me I can get away with anything on the sewing front and today that feel was positively singing to me. I lay the fabric down, held a dress of Isabella's against it and cut away! Madness considering the utter beauty of this fabric and not something I would advise, but on Saturday it worked like a dream. I decided to shirr the top section, but not deeply enough to make a whole bodice. I wanted more of an empire line to the skirt and to make sure it has a fullness to it I cut the top part straight and swung out in a wide diagonal for the skirt before beginning the shirring(if that makes any sense?).

The result was slightly too wide at the top so I cut down a strip to make it right. These mistakes come in handy if you have the right frame of mind. For instance, the bit I cut off provided a ready made pocket complete with shirred top which I then shaped to give a curved bottom, the end result being a little like an old-fashioned gathered purse. I could have sewn two pieces the same together to make an actual purse with a long strap to go with it. I suppose I may well try this another time as my girls do love purses.

For the straps, I cut a long wide strip of fabric, turned each long edge under and sewed to hem, and then shirred down the length several times to make gathered strap which will hopefully grow with Isabella. At hte front of the dress I attached them quite far apart, but brought them closer at the back to add a little interest.

Honestly so easy to do and I really love the effect.

The whole dress took no time at all and thankfully Isabella loves it (though it is not the easiest for the climbing of frames, etc, at the park so she informed my friend who had kindly taken her for a treat).

So there is the first of the projects; hopefully the rest will follow one of which will be the dress I amde myself from this fabric and which includes little shrred bits to produce a sort of swagged effect. Oh, you'll see what I mean!

Just had to leave you with this bowl of tayberries all soft and velvety and scrumptious with loads more to come by the looks of it. The children, Dave and I scrumped our way around the garden in the early evening light, scoffing redcurrants, blackcurrants and these beauties which are almost perfumed in the rich oozing juices. Yum.

Bye for now xx


  1. What a delightful little model Issabella makes, so pretty.

    Yummy tayberries too, something I have never grown, must make up for this next year.

    Sue xx

  2. So pretty Pipany... even if it isn't designed for climbing!

  3. I think shirring lends itself so well to childrens' dresses and this one in that beautiful print is gorgeous. I'm not surprised Isabella loves it but I know what you mean about getting our young ladies to model, mine has to be bribed when it's her turn!!

    Thanks for popping by. Kate x

  4. It's beautiful Pipany and I love the fabric.

    I think our little girls are destined for a future infront of the camera, rather then behind! As I am just the same in my ever so irrate 'keep still' softly, softly stressed out kind of way.

    Nina xxxx

  5. Does life come any more perfectly brilliant than this? The dress is absolutely adorable and so is your little girl and her stuffed bunny. Pipany, it's make me sniff and get moist in the eye, it's so sweet. I can't wait to see what you did with the other fabric.

    Er, that is so funny about how focused you get and how your daughter fidgets and how you respond. It was something very similar in my latest post (4th of July) and the boys. I think we had fun in the end, though! Thanks for your confessions. I am so relieved that someone else is human, too! =]

    Love, Katy xo

  6. Absolutely lovely. I've caught the shirring bug too, and made shirred straps as well - a small person's special request! I did find them a bit annoying as they curled up like little caterpillars but they certainly work!

  7. What a pretty dress for your little girl. I love it. And brave you winging it. Its strange but the thought of making clothes for real people fill me with such fear. (all those measurement I suspect) but can relate to that rush of knowing that you have made something both pretty and practical for your loved ones. I did experience this a little at the begining of the year when making fleece hats for my two girls. I loved the practicalness(?) of the hats but knew I could indulge on the prettying side if I wanted.

    I have been eyeing up some sewing books on making clothes for children. (liking the mini sizing rather than the scary measurements for my own waistline). So who knows?

    Hope you get to do some more clothes sewing. and look forward to seeing your end results!

    Have a great week.

    MBB x

  8. Sooo, sooo PRETTY, Pipany... I would love a summer dress like Isabella's! It's been a while since I've done shirring... must revisit! ;o) Happy Summer Days ((HUGS))

  9. Pipany...that is a very pretty little dress. You did a lovely job. I would LOVE to make something like that for one of my grandgirlies!

  10. Love the dress, the fabric is beautiful and the pockets add such a great touch!!

  11. Cute dress! I especially like the pockets, very important feature. I completely understand the feeling that comes over you in a creative moment where you can get away with anything! I used to make most of my daughter's clothes, I miss that. Enjoy your blog and photos as always!

  12. The fabric is so pretty Pip and so is Isabella - she is growing so quickly and is a real little lady now. Those berries look delicious, we are picking some at a local farm this weekend. Karen X

  13. Very sweet dress - I remember when you posted somewhere - here or on the PC - about the fabric from Elizabethd.
    Tay Berries. These are new to me. The look like a cross between a blackberry and a rapberry.

  14. Such a lovely dress, the pockets are absolutely fabulous, just perfect for keeping those treasures from the garden safe.

    Florence has definitely got many of us hooked on giving shirring a whirl :)


  15. That is just gorgeous Pipany. I adore the pocket too. I have never tried shirring. Is it easy? The effect is lovely. I haven't made clothes for years but do quite a bit of sewing of cushions and curtains. You are making me wonder whether I shouldn't try again.

  16. so pretty - child and dress!!!!

  17. Looks fabulous! But having just made a 'really simple' shift dress I'm not convinced that your dress would be easy for me!

  18. I adore the fabric, the smocking, the dress, the model is just beautiful as is the photo.

  19. Very very pretty - the fabric, the dress, the little girl. I love it when things turn out right straight away. Well done you.