From the peter pan collar to the high puffed sleeves with piped bias bands to the buttoned back belt, everything about the CAROL shouts southern apron.
Traditionally sewn with an inverted box pleat at the center front, the smocked panel brings this Children's Corner classic up to date.
The fabric is brown and pink houndstooth brushed cotton by Fabric Finders. I purchased the last of it from Farm House Fabrics, however it is still available from other sources.
I used German Interfacing from Debbie Glenn to interface the front collars. I created the collars using this method demonstrated by Gail Doane. I used brown batiste for the under layer of the collars and bias neck tape.
This particular fabric presented a couple problems. It is the heavier weight brushed cotton. And it is a houndstooth weave. Imagine a boucle fabric with fine threads. That is how this weave behaved when cut. It wanted to ravel just looking at it! While the German interfacing did the trick controlling the collar sections I needed to be creative at the hem.
Not only was the hem fraying, it was an A-line cut.
Next to my sewing machine is my stack of lace drawers. Lightbulb moment: use lace to 1. cover the fraying hemline and 2. draw up the A-line hem.
I just happened to have an ecru piece of lace edging from Luc that had a flaw in one portion. It was plenty of lace to cover my hemline! See, the pretty lace?
I could have used vintage rayon hem tape. Or even polyester lace. But this needed to be soft and kind to a baby's chubby little legs so the French cotton lace, albeit slightly flawed, was perfect!
I sewed two passes of straight machine stitching (L2.0) to secure the lace well.
Note the lace edge is toward the dress and the heading is just off the edge of the hem.
The Carol pattern calls for a 3" hem with a 1/4" turn under. Again, this fabric is heavy so I wanted to avoid any extra bulk in the hem area. This lace treatment help me avoid that bulk. I did reduce the hem to 2". Giving a little extra length to vintage patterns helps make the dress more current.
To hem an A-line dress you need to work wide fabric into a narrow area. Normally you would run gathering threads along the hem and draw them up slightly OR simply fold fabric to compensate. Remember, this is a bulky fabric so I did not want to use folds.
Begin by measuring and pinning at each edge, the side seams and the center front of the dress.
Note, this looks bumpy and bulky. That is OK!
Use heavy steam and barely press down on the 'bumps'. Just lift the iron up and down, moving along the hemline. The steam and slight pressure should mold the hem into shape!
NOTE: THE BUTTERFLY PINS ARE FOR VISUAL DEMONSTRATION ONLY!
This is what the hem looks like from the inside after slip stitching in place. Since this is for a soon to be walking cherub, I tacked the hem ever few inches to add security.
The only thing more fun about the dress making was getting to make TWO! Can you believe it has been a year since I was sharing their preemie gowns?
I'll post about the cupcakes another day. I need to polish the graph so you can see it.
Smock on, Friends!