Monday, August 25, 2014

Little matryoshka dress


I've been pondering crochet-and-fabric dresses for awhile. It really started last fall when I was finishing the GB's Mina Dress. This is a crocheted dress designed by the talented Alicia Paulson, for sale on Ravelry and in her shop. I liked this dress, though I had trouble with the lower bodice and skirt portions because I didn't understand the instructions at first. But I loved creating the yoke and upper bodice of the dress. I liked the shaping process. I also liked the way it fit the GB, especially because it created sort of a cap-sleeve effect on her upper arms. I wanted to try a dress with a crocheted bodice and fabric skirt next; I'd seen several on Ravelry and I liked the look. I tried one pattern, the Beautiful Red Dress from The Green Dragonfly blog. I called my version Tulip Dress because the fabric I used had funky, geometric tulip shapes on it. That dress was not a success. The bodice and straps were too large for the GB and I left the skirt fabric much too long. We've put it away and we'll try to wear it when she's bigger. But I wasn't done; I still thought about this kind of dress a lot and decided to try crocheting a bodice like the one on the Mina Dress, combined with a more carefully-designed fabric skirt. I made it just recently, in my new-found sewing time since school started.


I started with the crocheted bodice. I took inspiration from the Mina dress's yoke and bodice, adding stitches to accommodate the GB's size. I used I Love This Cotton yarn in Ivory. This yarn is a worsted weight but I sized down to an H hook to keep the stitches fairly tight, since cotton can stretch. I crocheted several rows beyond the yoke to lengthen it, continuing straight and leaving the back open. Later, I crocheted the back pieces together from the bottom to about halfway up, to leave a roomy head-opening, and added a button loop and a small button.



I made the skirt with a piece of fabric that was 42 inches wide (the whole width of the yard not including the selvages) by about 24 inches long, knowing I'd need to cut it shorter later on. (The fabric is Little Matryoshka by Riley Blake). I sewed a zigzag stitch all the way around the short sides and the top edge of the fabric to help prevent unraveling (one could also serge the edges but I don't have a serger). Then I sewed the short edges together with a 1/2-inch seam to make a tube, ironing open the seam. Next, I sewed a long basting stitch around the top edge and pulled the bobbin thread to gather the fabric. Then I turned the bodice inside out and put it inside the gathered edge of the skirt with the seam at one side, pinning it in place all the way around. I hand-stitched the skirt to the bodice with doubled thread, making sure the stitches went through the bottom row of crochet stitches (they were virtually invisible done this way with white thread).


After I finished hand-stitching, I trimmed off the top of the fabric a bit, especially under the armholes. This neatened it and made it more comfortable for the GB to wear, though I did go back and reinforce the side seam with a few hand-stitches after cutting. Then I turned the dress right side-out and had her try it on.



At this point, I also added a length of brown grosgrain ribbon as a sort of sash or belt. The dress was a little loose, especially under the arms. She didn't mind (I don't think she has developed many concerns about modesty yet, which is probably a good thing), and there's room for a shirt underneath. I'd been thinking about adding a ribbon embellishment anyway and this was extra motivation. I used a safety pin to thread one end of the ribbon through the crochet stitches all the way around, leaving long tails at the center back. I threaded the ribbon evenly, skipping three stitches and threading under two stitches. I liked the addition of the ribbon; it cinched the dress in just a bit, giving a little more shape.



I think the ribbon dresses it up. I love ribbon. Any excuse to put ribbon on a thing, I'm there.


While she had the dress on, I pinned the hem. I wanted the dress to be longish, so that it can be worn for awhile, and also I just really like the look of longer dresses on little ones, think sort of a tea-length. I think it gives them an old-fashioned look. I trimmed off about two inches and then made the hem by folding the bottom up half an inch and then another full inch, and machine-sewing it all the way around with small stitches. The finished skirt length is about 21 inches, after accounting for the gathered seam where it's sewn to the bodice. This length works well for the GB but she is small for her age; I think the skirt length is easy to modify as needed.



Oh, Bearita. She looks very nice in her dress and it fits her well, much better than the ill-fated Tulip Dress did. She says it's comfortable and cool, which is good because it's still hot here. I went with cotton yarn to keep it cool to wear, but I do worry that the bodice will stretch too much. If I do it again, I might use a blend with acrylic. I'm also contemplating a winter version with a wool bodice and heavier skirt, maybe a woven wool plaid fabric. Hmm...Christmas dress? For now, I'm pacing myself with this first successful crochet-bodice creation. She wore it to school last week. I'm happy with it and I'm glad I persisted. And as always, I love to make unique things for her to wear.

59 comments:

  1. The dress is adorable, Jennifer! I love the crocheted bodice, and the matryoshka print is super cute! I think you were brilliant figuring out how to put this together, and a winter version is a great idea.

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  2. That dress is so adorable, Jennifer! The bodice turned out so cute, and I really like the little cap-sleeve just gracing the top of your little one's tanned shoulder.

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  3. That dress is absolutely stunning! Well done for persisting and getting it done. There are other ways you could make it - wool etc - and now you know how to do it the next time it will be easier. Would you be able to thread shirring elastic through the crocheted part to stop it stretching? Don't hang it on a hanger, for sure, as this will make it stretch.

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  4. Gosh, that dress is gorgeous! Well done you! And yes, the ribbon finishes it off very well.
    Caz xx

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  5. What a pretty dress! I love how you combined crochet and sewing! It looks perfect!
    Wonderful!
    Ingrid xx
    http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be/

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  6. It looks great Jennifer, and GB obviously is very happy with it too!! Well done for keeping going and working all this out for yourself. You did a great job and should be pleased with your growing skills. xx

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  7. It's really lovely, Jennifer. And I think the ribbon finishes the dress off nicely.

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  8. Such a beautiful dress. I love the combination of crochet and sewing. The ribbon really finishes it off beautifully. I'm sure the GB will love wearing it. It's so nice to have original things no one else does, I hope she gets lots of pleasure wearing it.

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  9. What a gorgeous little dress, and I love the addition of the brown ribbon too.

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  10. It's beautiful. Absolutely perfect. Oh how I wish I had learnt to crochet much sooner, when my girl was just a wee thing! J x

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  11. It turned out so cute! I really like the crochet and fabric together and the ribbon is a great addition!

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  12. Absolutely adorable! :) Jennifer, you did a wonderful job making this dress.

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  13. She looks lovely .
    What a cute little dress !
    Great job.

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  14. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous, I love it. Clever you :)
    Jillxo

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  15. She looks adorable! You are a smart cookie to figure out such a good pattern! The fabric you chose is very cute. It's fun to make pretty things for little girls.

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  16. What a gorgeous little dress, it looks so cool and easy to wear. I love matryoshka's too!

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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  17. Hello Jennifer,

    What a very attractive dress. A most interesting idea to combine the crochet and fabric in the one garment and you have effected the combination beautifully. Your daughter looks adorable in it and she must be thrilled to have a dress to wear that is completely unique.

    We are so impressed with your careful attention to every detail. The addition of the ribbon and the small button fastening make all the difference. Perfect. Simply perfect!

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  18. GB looks gorgeous in her new dress ! I agree with the comments above, how nicely did you combine crochet and fabric !! And the ribbon, of course, that is an absolute necessity on a girl's dress ;-)))

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  19. Very cute dress Jennifer, you did a fantastic job on it ☺☺

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  20. that matrioska fabric is so cuuute! and brown is one of my ,maybe MY, favorites colors...so I love this dress!

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  21. It's just lovely. You did a great job. The ribbon makes it and pulls the bodice and skirt together, and the LB looks adorable in it. You are flying with your crochet lately! Xx

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  22. Such a beautiful dress, I think the brown ribbon is a lovely touch xo

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  23. Wow - I'm so impressed, it's a really lovely, pretty dress, and your daughter looks gorgeous in it. :) x

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  24. What a pretty dress! The crochet top is beautiful and the fabric is a really lovely complement. Bee xx

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  25. Such a pretty dress, and love the fabric. Of course, it's all set off perfectly by your pretty daughter! That goes without saying, but I said it anyway!

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  26. Amazing, a sheer delight. Beautiful dress and beautiful daughter....

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  27. It's beautiful, I love the fabric and the crocheted bodice is perfect with it. What a lovely job. Have a great week.
    Jane x

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  28. So beautiful, I am trying to make one for my little miss.
    And I love the fabric you choose.
    Miss.

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  29. Oh wow it's beautiful Jennifer and she looks so cute wearing it. :) xx

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  30. It's beautiful and it looks gorgeous on your wee girl.
    Marianne x

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  31. Oh Jennifer you are so clever ! I absolutely adore it - please could you make one in my size ?!
    Kate x

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  32. What a lovely dress, clever you! Your daughter looks so cute in it x

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  33. It's a beautiful dress. I really love the crocheted bodice and the clever use of ribbon to give it a better fit. Well done! x

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  34. You're very talented. I love the ribbon detail and the fabric - so sweet. I hope your little girl keeps it as an heirloom :)
    Sarah x

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  35. That's come out so well, Jennifer :) I've been thinking about dresses with crocheted bodices as well (I've made about 5 squares for the one I was going to make for DD2 - guess it'll be for next summer now!) and wondered about doing a Granny Stripe rectangle for the bodice, with lined straps so they don't stretch.

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  36. Bravo on designing your own frock for your adorable daughter! You should be very proud. I was glad to hear you used cotton on the top as it's so comfy next to the skin! I bet her friends thought she was very lucky to have a mom who would make something so nice for her. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  37. It's absolutely beautiful, a stunning creation. I love the ribbon too, so pretty.

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  38. Nicely done Jennifer. It's so pretty, and she looks lovely in it. The ribbon just makes it, I couldn't imagine it without.

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  39. Ahhhh. Buddy!!!!! It is beautiful!!! One of my favorites hands down!!! The top goes so nicely with the skirt of the dress and the ribbon and fabric are perfect!!! Inspiring!!! And she looks adorable!!! Happy creating to you this week! Nicole xoxo

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  40. What a darling little dress! It looks so cute on your daughter. The ribbon really completes it!

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  41. Well, since I missed your post yesterday, it seems I can declare today that it is unanimous: we love the dress you have created for GB, Jennifer :-) Thanks for taking the time to show us some of the how-you-made-it steps...another project for my want-to-try-to-make list! xx

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  42. Awe it's beautiful Jennifer and the ribbon is perfect! :)
    V x

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  43. that is adorable.. i want one too

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  44. Beautiful dress! It fits her perfectly.

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  45. Hi Jennifer,

    The dress is so very beautiful and your little daughter so sweet.
    Hope you are enjoying your week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  46. Oh my goodness, this is sooo adorable! What a lucky little girl to have such a talented mama. :-)

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  47. wow how so look preatty!! you are very good at crochet! :)
    now I add your blog and if you want follow and add my blog here is the link :) ciao!!
    That’s amore

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  48. That is really pretty and she looks gorgeous in it. Clever you!

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  49. I think you have made a well made dress and I think the ribbon finishes it well. Your girl looks beautiful in her new dress x

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  50. You made a lovely dress for your little one, I think it fits her perfectly.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  51. So pretty, Jennifer, and it looks lovely with her long, golden hair!

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  52. I love this, I would wear it myself if it came in my size x

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  53. Hey Jennifer,
    I'm catching up with your news since being away. As always I stand in awe of your creativity and skill. And oh, to have a wee little girl to make things for! It's just lovely. I like the ribbon too, it's a nice touch. And I'm with you all the way on old fashioned and girly. There would be no denim minis and cowboy boots in this house either.
    Leanne xx

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  54. How beautiful that dress is Jennifer and how proud would be your beautiful girl!

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  55. That dress is absolutely gorgeous. Wow. I'd love one of those for my girl. xxx

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  56. I love, love love this Jennifer! It looks perfect! I think the fabric you chose is beautiful, the crochet is so neat and the ribbon just adds that finishing touch. Just brilliant. :)

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  57. Oh my, that dress is beautiful Jennifer, I love the fabric, so cute and the little ribbon detail and how clever of you to adapt the Mina pattern! A lucky little GB! x

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