Thursday, February 2, 2012


This is Lizzy, a new pattern from Bonnie Blue Designs.
I used a raspberry and pink floral from Fabric Finders.
While I love this fabric, it does make the design features of the pattern a little more difficult to discern in the photographs.  They are more visible in real life!

This is the dress with sleeves version.  I love the little gathered cap sleeves!

There is also a sleeveless version that may be worn as a jumper or dress.

I planned on using white pique for the yoke.
However, by the time I cut it out, I must have forgotten!
When I finally made it to my sewing machine with the pieces, I had cut them all from the floral fabric.  So, I plowed ahead!

Beneath the narrow yoke, is a center box pleat with two more pleats on either side.  These are all topstitched for a few inches, before releasing into soft gathers.
Again, the busier floral print does not allow all the details to be seen.
This style is great for those who are not crazy about full gathered skirts.
The pattern is sized to 8 years, and the pleated skirt is a more contemporary silhouette the older girls would probably like.

The dress buttons down the full length of the back, making it very simple to sew.
There are two pleats, repeating those of the front, on each side of the back.
I used floral shaped raspberry buttons, which seem to almost disappear in these photographs.

When I am sewing a pattern for the first time, I tend to sew it as the pattern shows.
In my personal sewing, that is probably not what I would do.  I would be adding my own mark to it with favorite techniques or embellishments.
However, many of my customers will stitch it as the pattern shows.
I believe I must have had that experience also, in order to better assist them.
As I was constructing this little dress, I thought of things I would probably do differently.

I do believe the addition of piping along the yoke and skirt seam would help to create a more finished look.  With this type of print, it would also help to break some of the busy floral design.
I might also add piping to highlight the square neckline.
As part of the general instructions included in most Bonnie Blue Designs patterns, there are excellent instructions on how to make and apply piping.  So it is something that any seamstress could easily attempt with this pattern.

The pattern illustration does show ribbon applied across the yoke of the jumper, with a bow at center front.  That would be another option for adding embellishment and a dressmaker touch.
However, in the smaller sizes, the yoke is 2" or less.
Adding ribbon to this size 2, seemed to take too much room on the yoke and throw things a little out of proportion.  I think piping or another small trim along the seamline would be better for the smallest sizes.
When using a light to medium weight fabric, I would also add a lightweight interfacing to the yoke.  The interfacing might not be as necessary if corduroy, denim or a heavier twill was used.

I did topstitch around the neckline.  I felt it would help reinforce the square corners and the overall finished look.

I do really love the sleeve!
This style is also a little more contemporary, and may appeal to more people than a traditional puffed sleeve.
I also appreciate the fact that it is lined, lending to a very finished look.

One fun thing, which the pattern suggests, is using a coordinating print for the lining. 
With so much white background in this print, the ginghams, plaids or stripes that I auditioned for lining shadowed through too much.  So, I just used white broadcloth.

By the time I was constructing the sleeves, I did decide the dress needed a little something extra.  So, I added green rick rack at the edge of the sleeves.

The pattern instructions have the sleeves applied flat, before stitching the underarm and sides seams.  I prefer to attach my sleeves in the round.
After applying the rick rack, and stitching the lining and outer sleeve together along the bottom edge, I flattened the lining and outer sleeve.  The underarm seam was stitched in one pass, beginning at the lining underarm seam and ending at the outer sleeve underarm seam.  I then folded the lining to the inside, exposing the rick rack and pressed.  Gathering stitches were stitched along the upper edges and the sleeve was applied to the dress in the round, with the skirt side seams already finished in tiny french seams.  This results in no visible raw edges of the underam seam within the sleeve.  With the french seams in the skirt, there are no exposed raw edges there, either.  Especially since the sleeve is lined, I feel this step makes them look even better.

Overall, I really like this pattern.  Next time, I will probably add piping and maybe a few other touches to add even more to the sweet design features.  I also think it would be fun to try an all white heirloom version, maybe with softly gathered lace around the neck and armholes.  It could be sweet for Easter or summer beach portraits! 

Linking to Sew Darn Crafty at Sew Many Ways!

Fabric, pattern and trim available at BessieMary.


Kellie said...

Adorable! Love this!

Joan said...

Looks like a cute pattern, and I love your commentary to say nothing of the dress! Perfect application of the rick rack. Thanks!

Debbie B said...

That pattern is on my "Gotta Have" list for the grandgirl! I like the range of sizes in one pattern and also agree with all of your observations on construction alterations. I would probably make those changes, too. Hoping to have enough time to make it for this spring or summer.

Kris C. said...

Jan: Cute dress and well written review. I like your construction methods and suggestions for the next time you make it.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to make this little dress! Love your version - so precious!!

DawnB said...

I really like that, cute as can be!! I'm with you, there needs to be piping. Great to see you sewing again.

Jan Conwell said...

The rickrack is the perfect touch. Well done!

Unknown said...

I think this is an adorable dress. What is its smallest size? I always have trouble with rick rack application. What is the secret to getting it on there? How wide was the rick rack you used? Would you ever consider putting up a tutorial on rick rack application?

Janice said...

I love the pattern and really appreciate your review and discussion of construction.

Mary said...

This dress is so cute there aren't words! I'm curious, though, why you prefer to attach sleeves in the round rather than flat. The rickrack on the sleeves really gives it a nice touch and the print is perfect for a little girl.

ShirleyC said...

The dress is just darling! I've used Bonnie Blue patterns too, and I've been looking at this one.
Thanks for sharing.

Bumblebee and Sophie said...

Very cute dress, I love the pattern, I have not heard of Bonnie Blue Designs before, will have to look for them.

Taly said...

Such a sweet dress.

Rettabug said...

What a Caaaauuuute dress, Jan! I think the addition of bright spring green ric rac was a wonderful idea & I like your explanation of how you did the sleeve. I've often wondered about the reasons for flat vs round insertion.

I wish they made a fusible ric rac...I even called the Wrights company & asked them to do so! I think it would make positioning it so much easier & also the points wouldn't curl over either. Of course, it wouldn't work for your application.
They say "find a need & fill it" Work on that, will ya'? LOL


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