Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That: Coming Up With a Fall Dress

My older daughter is 10 years old now. That puts her in the "tween" age category. When trying to come up with sewing plans for her, I felt a bit stumped. This is new territory. Combining her preferences, my "guidelines" (leggings are not pants!), and this new age category in a successful way is a challenge. We talked through some options together and looked at fabrics together and we have a bit of a plan. This dress was the first part of the plan.

We had an idea of what the dress should look like and then combined a couple different Ottobre patterns to get what we wanted. There was a fair bit of basting and fitting as we went and in the end, we both think it was successful.

She picked out the fabric - a purple pique knit. It's pretty stretchy with very good recovery, so it wasn't too difficult to handle. The black trim is a cotton/lycra jersey. I added the keyhole at the front neckline for interest. The binding was done on my sewing machine with a double needle. First I zigzagged the binding to the neckline, then turned it to the back and topstitched with the double needle. I trimmed off the extra on the inside close to the stitching line. The zigzagging and double needle stitching both allow plenty of stretch for getting this on without a zipper or button closure.

My initial plan was to have this ruched waist piece sit on top of the dress and just be attached at the side seams. However, I made an error in tracing the skirt pattern and the front piece was two inches shorter than the back piece. I didn't want a short skirt on this dress, so I decided to insert the back piece to gain back some of the length. It worked well enough.

The bodice back piece is a bit too long and she gets some pooling above the inset piece. Not enough to make any changes on this dress, but it's something I might watch for in the future.

She would like for the skirt to be fuller. She's a big fan of the circle skirt. I'm not such a big fan of buying enough fabric for a circle skirt.

We're both happy with this dress and I think our first real foray into tween clothing was successful. The Oliver + S blog has been doing a series about tween style (specifically related to their patterns) and I've been enjoying following it and picking up some inspiration.


  1. Tween sewing is definitely tricky. Your daughter's dress looks great.

  2. Excellent! Love the look. I agree with Tracy . . . "tween" sewing is tricky.

  3. Cute dress, and very age appropriate. The color look wonderful on her