Sunday, 12 August 2012

Bubble dresses

Recently Oliver + S's Bubble Dress became available as a digital pattern. It looked such a  summery and fun design and, since it could be bought with the click of a mouse, I could no longer resist!

So why am I sewing summer clothes in mid-winter? I don't know... I guess I am in winter denial, just waiting (impatiently) for warmer weather and more sunshine, and, of course, an end to all those times I stand shivering in the street or at the park while my children (who, of course, don't feel the cold) spend hours playing throwing things, building things and riding things.

The bubble dress is easy to sew, and it's satisfying to see the skirt bubble out at the bottom once the elastic is in. First I made the green dress in size 3, then realised I'd made it in the exact same fabric as this one that I'd admired in the Oliver + S Flickr group. When I saw that dress, and read that it was made from Spotlight's tana lawn, I was disappointed that the fabric was no longer available, as the tana lawn I'd bought was pretty but not quite as nice a shade of green. Then after I'd made the dress I looked through my Flickr favourites again and lo and behold - it was, in fact, the identical fabric, it was just that the colour looked deeper in Jennifer's photos (I hope she takes my imitation as the sincerest form of flattery). Anyway - this dress isn't the greatest fit on R. It's too wide around the chest, making the cap sleeves stick out more than they should. Hopefully it won't be too short in 16 months' time, because I don't think there's much hope of her chest expanding that much by this summer! 

Then I saw a stunning range of seersucker prints (also in Spotlight) and knew I had to make something out of the red flowery one (if not all of them, because I have a thing for seersucker and these are irresistible). This time I made the bodice in size 2 (as ridiculous as it felt to be sewing size 2 for a 4-year-old) and the skirt in size 3. A far better fit, and the seersucker is beautifully springy and bouncy, just right for the bubble effect.

With both dresses I used Five and Counting's fantastic and very detailed tutorial to make sure I was following the pattern correctly, as I'm prone to getting completely mixed up without photos to follow. I had the most trouble right at the beginning, when I had to put a strip of fusible interfacing on a bodice piece - it took several goes due to stupidly ironing it the wrong way up (twice), positioning it incorrectly (once) and fusing it to the wrong side of the fabric (once). After this inauspicious start I forged ahead, making a couple of changes as per Nicole's suggestions: I shortened the elastic by 2", and made the second dress using her top-stitching method to join the bodice to the skirt (I'm hopeless at hand-sewing and this adaptation makes a lot of sense). Sewing self-esteem restored!

Today's cold weather made me feel bad about having R put the smaller dress on so I could photograph it, but we caught a little morning sunshine before the day degenerated into the usual chilly, damp greyness of winter, so it wasn't too traumatic - plus I bribed her.

Now can I have my chocolate biscuit?


  1. Success! Hurrah,very very sweet!
    I am so glad my tute was helpful,I like photos for directions myself.
    I really like Jen's dress too.
    Remember,it is 'complimenting' not copying!
    x N

    1. Thank you. And I have to say, I actually prefer the look of the topstitched bodice - so thanks again for that! Now bring on summer so these dresses can see some action...