The girls with the twirly skirts

Hi there!

My latest Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post goes live today and, in a change from my usual selfish sewing, I decided to make something for my children this time around.  Clearly that meant making two dresses, rather than selecting a favourite child!

They’re both at an age where skirts need to twirl and comfort is king, so a jersey dress a piece was the way forward (also, speed sewing FTW!)  I was originally going to make them both another Hey June Handmade “Kensington” dress, but then at the GBSB live, I met Pecia’s lovely daughters, who were wearing Spin dresses (which they’d made for each other for their 5th birthdays! Serious skills!)

The Spin dress appealed because I’m still not a fan of the elastic waist approach to jersey dresses.  I find that the clear elastic used to gather the skirt is prone to snapping which really irritates me. And I really liked the clean, modern look of this pattern; no frilly girly patterns here, thank you!

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I found when I downloaded it that the teen version of the pattern came free, which is fantastic news.  With the girls being so tall, I’m already finding that a lot of children’s patterns just aren’t long enough for my (just turned) 7 year old, and that a lot of teen patterns are just, well, too old for her.  So to have sizing that goes up so high in exactly the same style is just superb.

I found the layout of the pdf really well thought out, with a minimum of wasted paper.  The measurements are really clear, and it came up true to size, which is always a bonus!  This is one of their “no frills” patterns, so there are just 10, brief instructions which basically give you an order of construction, rather than details of how to perform that construction.  Whilst definitely not suited to a beginner to jersey makes, I found it refreshing to have simple things like, “close the pocket bags” as an instruction; I’ve done enough jersey sewing now that, unless you’re going to do things in a different way, I just don’t need that much hand holding.

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And there are pockets, which is always a winner!

Because I hadn’t initially intended to make this pattern, I’d only requested 1m of each jersey (and we’re going to skim over the major fight that ensued when both my children wanted the panda print….)  This dress has a full circle skirt, so I wasn’t convinced I would get the full thing out of the fabric available.

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I settled down with my Burda tracing sheets (never buy the Hemline stuff, it’s massively inferior) for a spot of pattern tetris, and managed to JUST squeeze the larger sized dress in.  Beth, my 7 year old, measured a size 6 in the chest but a size 9 for her 131cm height, so I compromised and cut the size 7 skirt (she likes shorter skirts…. this is going to give me nightmares in a few years…) and took the size 8 bodice but graded to size 7 at the waist.  With mere shreds of fabric left, I got the long sleeves AND the pockets out.

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And I love this pattern.  It sews up so easily, and it fits so well! The skirt is to die for; check out that twirl!

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Katie, my 4 year old, fit the size 6 sizing much more closely so I didn’t bother with any grading.  I set out with my cutting with much more confidence, only to find that no way no how was I getting the long sleeves out of this.  Both pieces of fabric started out the same size, so I can only assume the swans shrank a little more in the prewash (ALWAYS prewash the fabric!) With rather a bad grace, I cut the short sleeves in the end.

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Shrinkage aside, the fabric was lovely to work with; both jerseys feel really high quality and it behaved really well when sewing and pressing.  And the girls are THRILLED with their new dresses!

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For more details on the fabric, etc, check out my Minerva post here.

Becca x

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