When Annie from The Village Haberdashery asked me if I'd be up for teaching the Geranium dress pattern by Made By Rae as a class again (on Saturday 25th June, there's still a couple of places left BTW!), it reminded me just how awesome this sewing pattern is. Seeing as Dolores has recently developed a very specific girly dress sense, I thought I'd make her another Geranium to try and create something she would be happy to wear, whilst boning up on the construction method before I teach the class.
This sewing pattern is seriously good value because of all the different style options it includes. With three different necklines, three different shoulder/sleeve versions, two skirt styles, two length variations AND optional pockets, you could make this heaps of times using different combinations and you'd feel like you'd made a selection of unique garments. For this version, I opted for the plain neckline, flutter sleeves, gathered skirt, dress length WITH pockets. Phew.
Size-wise, I went for the size 2 (Dolores is currently 2 years 8 months) but added 4cm to the length of the hem. I felt pretty confident that it would work out ok, because she can still just about fit into her previous two versions (#1 and #2), both of which were made using the 18-24 month size. She's a fairly slender child, and as you can see from these pics, she can comfortably wear a T-shirt underneath the size 2 at the moment, so I'm hoping this dress will last for next summer too.
Do a google image search for Geranium dress and you'll find a real variety of overall looks, spanning from traditional to contemporary, which seems largely dependent on the fabric choice. As you know, I was firmly aiming for GIRLY with this version so had a rummage in Le Stash to see what I had to hand. I've had this Topshop dress in there for about five years, with the intention of turning it into a summer top for myself. I got it from my former employment, the textile recycling charity TRAID, to whom it had been donated with a lot of other Topshop seconds because its zip was busted. My job was to work on a clothing range made from donated textiles that couldn't be sold in their current form, and when we came across something that we liked that we wouldn't be using for the range, we'd make a donation to the charity and take it home. This dress was made from a beautifully fine cotton with a vintage-y floral print that always felt quite 30's/40's tea dress-esque to me.
I knew I wanted to include both the flutter sleeves as well as the pockets, and I really wanted to play around with the linear print, so cutting out the pattern pieces was a little challenging. I cut the front bodice in two pieces on the bias and seamed it to get a chevron effect. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough fabric for me to also cut the back pieces on the bias, so I opted for vertical stripes to contrast with the horizontal stripes of the skirt. I also cut the patch pockets with the stripes running vertically in the hope that that they wouldn't get too lost in the busy print.
She likes it!!! I kept taking it off her at various points today (during meal times and at her messy play sensory class) in an attempt to prevent it getting wrecked, and each time she reminded me that she wanted it back on. I doubt she'll hold it with the same regard that she holds the ratty synthetic sparkly princess dress with peeling off sequins, but at least it's an outfit option that hopefully we won't fight over!
As for me, I'm super happy with it. I'm so pleased to have finally used the fabric from this dress as I've loved it for years but never quite felt it was 'me'. I also took my time with the construction, using french seams for the skirt for example. And although there are a couple of small flaws with this dress that aren't worth pointing out here, I'm very happy with the finish and I think she looks so sweet in it.
Pattern: £0 (I got to use it for free as prep for the class, but it can be bought for $10 as a PDF from here and £13 as a paper pattern from here)
Outer fabric: approx. £2 donation for the dress
Bodice lining fabric: £0 from stash that I got for free
Buttons: £0 sent to me with some fabric from Sewbox.co.uk