Saturday, September 5, 2015

Purple party dress for Bug- First Day Dress (MADE)

I FINALLY got some great pics of the dress I made for Little Bug to wear to the wedding we attended this summer. She's getting to that age where she isn't always excited to be in front of the camera. In fact, I had to entice her with the promise of letting her use the camera... which actually worked out great, she took some really fantastic pictures of Leo and me.

But, back to the topic of the dress! This is the First Day Dress by MADE. The fabric is quilting cotton from Joanne's-- a floral for the main fabric, and a solid purple for the lining. The dress sewed up super-fast-- I didn't even muslin, I just took a guess from the pattern measurements. The only change I made before cutting was to lower the front neckline a bit, it looked high to me. Overall, it fit pretty well except that it was too long and the waist was also low, so I just sewed the waist seam with an extra inch of seam allowance which served to both raise the waistline and shorten the dress in one fell swoop.

The construction of this pattern is super simple. The full lining acts as a neck and armhole facing, and also gives the inside a clean finish. Instead of fussy closures, the back is closed with a single button with an elastic loop rather than a buttonhole. The big rhinestone button came from Joannes, and the round elastic cord was in my stash.

There are a couple of unusual construction choices in the directions. The back slit is cut after you've sewn the shoulder seams, which is weird, but works just fine. Also, the directions for the armholes have you clip the curves in the seam allowances and press them in place, then topstitch them closed. I can see why it is done this way-- most methods of clean finishing dress linings require that you leave three seams unsewn, and there are only two seams on the bodice. In any case, it worked beautifully.

The lining. It looks less blue and more purple in real life! Also, I didn't bother to iron after the last wash, sorry!
To add a little more poof to the skirt, I added a layer of gathered tulle sewn to the lining. The lining and the tulle are the same length, and they are 1 inch longer than the outer fabric so you get a little pop of purple at the bottom. The lining is hemmed with the hem facing out, like a lining should be... but it belatedly occurred to me that if I was going to make the hem stick out by an inch, it should be hemmed with the hem facing in. At least the tulle makes that little detail less apparent.

I just love the pattern. Sewing a dress was the last item on the agenda for the wedding we attended this summer-- quite honestly, Bug has tons of dresses since Grandma just loves to shop for her, so she didn't really need a dress. Of course I had to make a dress for myself, and Little Lion needed something if he wasn't going to go in his PJs. But I do love sewing something special for my little girl, so I figured if I finished my other agenda items, I would make up something quick for her.

I know from experience that the other little girl patterns in my stash would take me a week to sew-- all that muslin-ing of crazy big-4 pattern sizes and fussiness everywhere. I almost just drew up something myself, which I've certainly done before, but working out all the details of a self-drafted pattern can take some time. When I saw the First Day Dress I knew it was perfect-- a simple, classic shaped dress that someone else has taken the time to think out and test thoroughly. It came together in only a couple hours!

Little Bug loves the dress! These pictures were also difficult to take because it was hard to get the dress on her in a clean state-- every time I wash it, it gets pulled out and worn again almost immediately. 


  1. I just discovered you. Great job on your sewing!

  2. We had our youngest daughter's wedding at this place. Everything at NYC wedding venues was spot-on perfect, the venue, the food, the view, the service and fortunately even the weather. Cannot recommend the manager and his staff more!!!