A Spring Tradition

Early to mid-Spring means birthday time in our family, especially so now with our two little granddaughters, who have birthdays in March and April.  Fortunately both little girls love dresses and love wearing them, so of course my Spring sewing agenda has to include making two “birthday dresses.”  (Last year’s dresses were a bit more elaborate than what I had planned for this year. In fact, I just lengthened the hems on these “strawberry” dresses so the girls can wear them for one more year!)

I found these Liberty fabrics last year on Fabric.com and immediately ordered yardage in two colors.  They stayed tucked away in my fabric closet until early March when I got serious about getting these dresses sewn.

All along I intended to pair each print with 16thinch coordinating cotton gingham, and then I set about finding a pattern which would accommodate this idea. I ended up using a Children’s Corner pattern (Louise) which turned out to be the perfect choice. View B showed a hem band and collar in contrasting fabric to the rest of the dress.

View B includes the Peter Pan collar and hem band.

These dresses are quite simple to make, and the pattern is precise.  I really, really like that this company gives you separate pattern pieces for each size in the envelope.  For example, this pattern included sizes 1 – 5.  So – there are full patterns for each size. I used size 3 and size 5, and it was such a pleasure not to have to trace a pattern for each dress. Mysteriously, the seam allowance allotted for the pattern pieces was only ¼”.  I increased it to a standard 5/8” as I am much happier sewing with a more substantial seam allowance.  The only other changes I made to the pattern were to make the back opening button on the left side rather than the right side, and to add three decorative buttons to the bodice.

I needed to move the bottom button on this dress as it was not quite lined up!

First I made the size 5 dress.  I realized once it was well underway that a touch of rickrack would add so much more interest to the dress.  Finding lilac colored rickrack was quite the task, but once again an Etsy shop (Creative Trims) had just what I needed.

Looks too plain without some additional embellishment.

The rickrack looks so much better!

I applied the rickrack by hand.

The second dress came together quickly (for me, at least!) Making the dresses alike, but in different colors was an idea I liked, and I was hopeful that the girls would like that, too!

A back view.

I am happy to report that, according to my daughter, the little girls love their birthday dresses.  Time to start planning for next year!


Filed under Uncategorized, Liberty cotton, Sewing for children

18 responses to “A Spring Tradition

  1. Elizabeth H Wellons

    Louise is my all-time favorite Children’s Corner pattern! I can’t remember how many times I’ve used it. And it goes up to a size 8! I hate those 1/4″ seam allowances they use and always adjust. There are so many ways to embellish these dresses. Yours are precious and I know your little girls will love them! Cissie

  2. Mary Lynn

    I wrote a comment and when I hit Post it was very wiggly( I can identify with it) So if you get 2 comments from me…. I love your dresses and I know the girls looked adorable. I’m still using the 30+ years old Children’s Corners patterns I made for my daughter. Her 3 year old wore one of her mother’s dresses that I think was Louise also for Easter. It was hot pink with smocked bunny rabbits and the dress and the blouse I made had pink and green piping! I think the Children’s Corner dresses have 1/4″ seams because they all were made back then (and I still use them) with French seams because they would go through the pleater more easily.

    • No wiggly comments arrived, just this lovely one from you! Classic children’s clothes are really the best, and timeless as you just attested to. The quarter inch seams make more sense with your thoughts on them; however, I’d rather start wide and then trim if needed!

  3. Mery

    Such precious dresses! Every stitch made with love and it shows. You’re right about the rickrack elevating the look. Some might think hand stitching rickrack would be tedious but after your couture work on black in the winter you wouldn’t find it daunting. Speaking of couture, a week with Susan Khalje and granddaughters’ birthdays…oh, happy days! May the rest of your spring be filled with blessings as well.

    • Thank you, Mery! I never mind hand-sewing, as I think it just works so much better in so many instances, including rickrack. My “Couture” week with Susan was wonderful. I’ll be posting about my project sometime, but I need to finish it first!
      Springtime is lovely, isn’t it?

  4. Adorable! Girl #2 made a very similar dress in a lavender print when she was 6 or 7 (4-H Cloverbuds) and she wore it all the time! I love the gingham and Rick rack with those prints, just timeless. Little girls are a delight to sew for aren’t they? 😍

    • Thank you, Kathy! Yes, little girls are so wonderful to sew for. I feel so blessed to have two such cuties for whom to sew! How would I ever be able to take my love of rickrack to fruition without little girls?

  5. So beautiful! I LOVE little girl dresses! I have two granddaughters that live in different states. They sometimes get the same dress, and sometimes I make them very unique to match their personality! I LOVE how you embellished your dresses! The peter pan collars are so sweet as are the matching buttons! The fabric from Liberty of London is charming!!! These are well made and well loved dresses! You are such a wonderful Grandmother to sew for your litter ones! ❤

    • Thank you, Danita! I loved reading about your sewing for your granddaughters – I know what you mean about sewing to match personalities. That makes it extra lovely, doesn’t it? And – aren’t we so lucky to have these little girls in our lives?

      • I am enjoying them as much as possible, and as much as they will let me love them! So far so good! They think Grammy is talented and loves them very much! Which is the absolute truth! Best wishes to you and your lovely little ones! ❤

  6. Precious dresses! Lovely mix of prints and the rick rack is so cute. Lately my daughters were talking about their handmade birthday dresses and I was pleased to hear they remembered each and everyone of them. I can only hope there will be granddaughters in my future!

  7. jay

    Lovely litttle dresses, the fabric is so pretty.

  8. What a wonderful tradition and how special that they will have a colllection of dresses created by Grandma. The Liberty fabric is just adorable.

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