I have been diligently working away at my fabric stash, as you may have noticed from recent posts! Quilts, aprons, maternity tops and skirts, pinafores -- even fabrics that I'm no longer enthusiastic about have been turned into pajama tops and bottoms for littles and mama alike, or used for mock-ups. I feel like I am always talking about cutting down on my stash, though -- and perhaps you would agree! It's not that I mind having a bit of a stash; on the contrary, having a stock of fabrics available is quite a boon as a seamstress. But I do feel that there is too much of a good thing, and it does seem that fabrics consigned to the stash have a tendency to stick around. Some of the yardage I have is at least a decade old, by my calculations! When I started sewing as a teen, limited funding led to a bit of a hoarding tendency with fabric. Circumstances and mindset have changed since then, and now I'd prefer to have minimal stock on hand (I'll always have my linen scraps, though!), and choose both projects and fabrics very purposefully.
So, with these ideas floating around in my mind, and with renewed purpose and determination to reduce my fabric "holdings," does it make any sense whatsoever to buy more fabric? Certainly not! Apparently, however, reason is not always the determining factor in my decision-making, because a yard of Doodles Birds Interlock came home with me on a recent trip to JoAnn's -- along with the fabric for the Climbing Roses dress! "But it was such a very Boden-ish fabric," I plead. If there is a technique to leaving Boden-ish fabric at the fabric store, I have not mastered it yet.
If the fabric had a Boden flair to it, I thought the garment ought to, as well. After browsing for ideas, I realized that I already had the perfect pattern: Teri's Izzy top from Climbing the Willow. Yes, I'm that predictable! Really, though, are you surprised? By my count, I've made nine versions of the Izzy in the past three years (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). I suppose you could say the Izzy has been a defining feature of Rosa's childhood!
Just as predictably, I made a few slight alterations to the pattern to suit the design (this also prevents the resulting "Izzies" from looking too similar, I hope). I drafted a Peter Pan collar from the same knit fabric I used to line the bodice (a grey gingham jersey from Girl Charlee, left over from Izzy #8), lining one set of collar pieces with a knit interfacing and adding a stretchy cotton lace trim for the edge. The stretch in the trim wasn't necessary, but it was the perfect size, color, and style -- plus, it was in my stash! I sewed the trim to one side of the collar, then followed those stitching lines when I sewed the collar pieces right-sides-together. The collar was incredibly simple, both to draft and to incorporate. I simply sewed it to the bodice pieces before attaching the bodice to the bodice lining. I was surprised just how well it draped.
I used a Kam snap for the closure in the back, but hid it inside the button tab so that all you see is a bird (not that you really see that, because it's under the collar!
I added a little contrast trim at the waist (a folded piece of the gingham, cut on the bias), and exchanged gathers for pleats in the skirt -- which I lengthened considerably and also widened by about three or four inches. I knew this would be a longer dress so that it will last Rosa a long time, so I though some extra wiggle room would help!
As a last nod to Boden, I added a simple robin applique with a pale pink jersey and a bit more of my grey gingham. Wonder-Under for the appliques and an iron-on tear-away backing made quick work of that step. My recent practice made this process much easier this go around! I hand embroidered a few details and machine zig-zagged the legs. I was worried I might be gilding the lily with the applique (the print is so busy already!), but I really like the result. It's subtle, but such a sweet detail.
It was a bit of a jolt cutting this pattern out -- I'm using the size 5 now, the biggest size in the first of the two Izzy patterns. Rosa is still in the first "half" of 4, but she's a little larger than average and I wanted this dress to last (and it's a bit large on her, so it should!). Even though I used a knit, I treated it like a woven. Well, I did use a slight zig-zag on the seams because they'll hold up better that way, but in every way I treated this as a "normal" dress -- lined bodice, back closure, etc. It was a bit of a gamble, especially since I'm more used to cotton spandex than I am to interlock. However, the results exceeded my expectations! The fabric was a bear to cut out because the birds are in "stripes" but the fabric was not perfectly in grain. I also nearly stymied myself by cutting out the skirt first and having to fudge a bit when cutting out the bodice, but as the dress came together, my fears and frustrations dwindled.
I sewed up a quick pair of leggings in the grey gingham, drafted from a pair that currently fits Rosa (again, the same as the pair for the Climbing Roses dress). Not an ideal fabric choice, because the gingham jersey has almost no stretch! But trimmed with some of the same white trim I used on the collar, they're just right (and they do fit, happily). Plus, with her current track record, the lack of stretch won't matter for long because they'll have holes in the knees in no time...
I'm not always in the mood to go the "extra mile" with details and finishes when sewing (especially children's clothing that will be worn out or outgrown relatively quickly!), but sometimes it's nice to slow down a bit. And in this case, I ended up with one of my favorite projects to date! I just wish all of my impulses had endings this happy... *wink*