Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet Rachel

So this is the "easter" dress that I promised Gwyn. It actually didn't get finished until about a week after Easter but that's okay, since we don't go to church. I was ambivalent about this mix of fabrics - they seemed good at first but after I got started I wasn't feeling that great about the number of different prints. I'm still not sure, although it does look really cute on. Much better on, in fact, than on the hanger.

The pattern is the farbenmix Rachel dress, which lends itself well to a mix of fabrics. It was actually really quick to put together, after I finished every single piece with the serger. I hate when my mommymade clothes come apart because the fabric raveled so it's worth taking the time to finish everything. It bit obsessive maybe, but worth it. I like to use embellishments but this time there was so much going on with the fabric that I just used a simple aqua satin ribbon around the sleeve cuffs and the circumference of the skirt. I think it adds that extra something while still letting the fabrics speak. And speak they do.

The main fabric is the infamous Carnival Bloom by Michael Miller. I got this about 2 years ago but wasn't sure what to do with it. I got the aqua, pink and green colorways of the brown Dumb Dot at the same time, as well as the aqua with the multi-colored dots and the brown with the multi-colored dots. Anyway, there's clearly a lot going on in terms of print. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the way this ended up because I started to see the colors as too "candy box-like" and I'd seen so much pink and brown of late - the carnival bloom in particular - that I was starting to not like it at all. But I've decided I do like it.

The only problem with using American fabrics is that they are almost universally too narrow when it comes to cutting skirt panels. With the Rachel dress this is true, even for this tiny size (98-104). The bottom ruffle onto which I've sewn the ribbon needed to be cut in 3 pieces, rather than the 2 called for. In order to avoid having seams in the front, I cut that piece as long as possible, then cut the remaining piece in 2 shorter lengths which I then seamed together. It works, and I don't think it's obvious at all.

From a design standpoint, the one thing that bothers me is the fact that I chose to do the center panels all with the brown dot. Too me it looks kind of blah and stands out too much. In retrospect I think I should have put the green and pink dot on the sides of the dress and replaced the aqua multi-dot with the brown multi dot at the center. I think that would have given a better effect. Oh well, live and learn.

Here Gwyn gives us her standard model pose, also known as the "I'm a little tea pot" pose. (Un)fortunately, this pose shows off the front panels and you can see the mass of brown polka dots that I don't like.


  1. I love the pose in the last photo! It's a great dress.
    Sometimes I think co-ordinated fabrics are harder to manage than fabrics that accidently go together...I think anyway. I often buy fabrics to go together, but never use them together.

  2. Well, I kind of did both - while the carnival bloom and the dumb dot are by the same manufacturer, they aren't really coordinated in the sense that they were meant to go together. The green in the dumb dot isn't really the same as the green in the carnival bloom, though it does appear in the aqua multi-dot and the brown multi-dot. For me it was more of a scale thing, I think. The brown polka dots are small and the floral motifs in the carnival bloom are large; I think I'm missing a medium-sized motif for balance.

  3. This is lovely! I am sure she gets comments on it whenever you go out.

  4. Thanks, Kelly! She's definitely all about it and yes, people do comment on it. Usually it's the older ladies, which makes her more talkative and willing to show it off by twirling (naturally).