I must admitt that I'm finally breaking out of a sewing slump I've been in lately. The warm weather has kept me from wanting to sit at my machine. I've been embroidering and doing very small hand sewing projects - mostly things that can be done while I sit with my kids in the back yard. But a few things came together to inspire me to sew a proper garment - a summer dress for my daughter in cotton voile with a raw hem, hand quilting and flower charms for the back closure.
My first inspiration was a book I purchased last month called Carefree Clothes For Girls: 20 Patterns for Outdoor Frocks, Play Date Dresses and More, by Junko Okawa. There is a gorgeous dress in the book made from double gauze with raw edges and a hand quilted bodice.
It is so pretty - I knew right away that I wanted to make a garment for my daughter that would be inspired by that dress. However the patterns in the dress are way too big for her at this point so I would need to get creative with the pattern.
The next inspiration was Anna Maria Horner's recent post showcasing her new line of fibers. I think it was beautiful and you can see for yourself here. I loved the way she put such emphasis on hand embroidery as a component of her sample garments. Really pretty stuff.
The final straw was Gertie's Stitch-Along on the STC Craft Blog. I love reading Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing and Gertie is doing some guest posts on the STC Craft Blog right now. Her post for this week was on quilting techniques used in garment sewing. She recently posted some very inspirational pictures of beautiful quilted garments. Just the thing I needed finally get me to tackle the dress with a quilted bodice I had been dreaming up for my daughter.
I used the bodice pieces from the O + S Music Class Jumper pattern and just sewed a simple gathered skirt to the bottom edge of the bodice. The bodice is made of 2 different colors of AMH cotton voile with an interlining of white cotton flannel and then a lining of ivory cotton. The skirt was made from a single rectangle of AMH cotton voile with a french seem at one side to form a tube. Then I just gathered it enough to fit the bodice and tacked it on.
For the hand quilting I started by followed the pastry cutter lines of the voile pattern and then added additional "stripes" at random intervals until I was happy with the balance of the lines. I used 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss for the quilting.
I machine stitched the "skirt" to the bodice with the raw edge facing out so that it creates a little raw-edge ruffle effect. I also left a raw hem which feels a little like cheating but it is in keeping with the rough feel I wanted for this dress. The back bodice closure is done with sew on snaps and then on top of the snap I've tacked a couple of hand made flower charms.
She seems to like it and so do I...