Now, I want to share a recent project that I'm calling the "Tulip dress." I made it for the GB, with inspiration from Janette, of the blog The Green Dragonfly, who made a dress she calls Beautiful Red Dress for her own daughter. I came across this project on Ravelry a while back, and it led me to Janette's blog, which is lovely and full of inspiring crochet- and sewing-related projects. I especially love her creations for little girls. I had already been planning to sew some dresses for the GB to wear this summer, and those are still in process. But when I saw the Beautiful Red Dress, with its crocheted yoke and straps, I wanted to try my hand at a combined sewing-and-crochet dress too. It didn't go as planned and I'm not thrilled with my finished product, but I did enjoy making it and I think it's important to share the duds as well as the successes.
Voila, my Tulip dress. I call it that because of the tulip pattern on the fabric, which is really my favorite part of the whole thing. I found it at Hancock Fabrics, in the cotton calicos section. But it looks like anything but a basic floral calico to me. It almost reminds me of a Scandinavian housewares design, say Marimekko or similar. The pattern is called "Mod Tulips" and it's made by Absolutely Cotton.
Isn't it pretty? I really love the colors. It doesn't photograph exactly true; the background is a purple-blue, iris-like. The stems and leaves are two shades of pale green, the lightest of which looks white here. I bought this fabric quite aimlessly, I had no plan for it, but I had to have a yard of it, especially because the cotton fabrics were on sale. I just couldn't walk away without it. What, me, a fabric-hoarding problem? Pshaw!
Sewing, I'm pretty good at. I wanted the dress to be fairly long, so I measured to below the GB's knee. I hemmed the top and bottom edges and then joined the sides, making a tube. Then I pinned it inside the crocheted yoke, easing it around to make gentle gathers. I like the look of a puffy dress, which is also good for rampant twirling. Because I could already tell that my yoke was not very good, I felt I had little to lose by machine-stitching the skirt and yoke together (Janette hand-stitched hers). After everything was sewn in place, I helped the GB try on her new dress.
The poor child was engulfed by her summer sundress. The straps had stretched so much that the skirt ended nearly at her ankles. The crocheted bodice is so low that she can't possibly wear this dress without a shirt underneath, which sort of defeats the purpose of a breezy summertime dress. The straps barely stay on her shoulders because they're so far apart; I think the shirt is actually helping to keep them up, by friction alone. I felt like apologizing to her, because she knew I was making a dress for her and she was excited. Then I produced this thing.
Unexpectedly, she loves it! She pronounced it "very pretty" and she wore it for awhile, telling me she "always wanted a long dress, like you wear." I do wear long skirts sometimes ("maxi skirts," if you're fashionable); I guess I've made an impression. The dress is much too big for her, barely staying on her shoulders, but she's happy. I think we'll put it away and see if it fits better in a year or two. This dress could have been great, if I'd paid closer attention to the stretching and strap-misplacement and skirt length...hey, there were a lot of mistakes here. I could fix them, or let them be. I haven't decided yet. I do know that her happiness makes me happy, and this dress makes her happy - surprisingly so. She only knows that her mom made her a new dress, she doesn't see the mistakes. She makes me want to heap pretty, handmade things on her. Not to the point of spoiling her, you see, but because she inspires me to try new crafty, girly things - sort of a crafting muse. I felt sorry for myself for a little while - this should have been easy! - but it passed. This may be a crafting "fail," but I learned a few things and I liked working on it, so I'm feeling happy too.