Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DESTINA-tion Delft

They're finished!! After hours of agonizing over which trims go where and trying to get the girls to decide which ribbons they wanted to use - and finally doing most of the choosing on my own- I have finished the Destina dresses by Farbenmix. Each dress is made with 3 main fabrics: the Delft tile fabric, and the blue and red daisy florals - all by the Dutch textile company Stenzo. Added to these 3 are red mini-gingham, light blue mini-gingham, and a star print in both white on red and white on navy. And of course, both dresses have the Farbenmix tag on the right sleeve, matching perfectly with my color scheme.

So yes, I know. Red, white and blue - with stars to boot. No, I wasn't attempting to be patriotic - unless by patriotic you mean celebrating my Dutch heritage by using the Delft print, to which I say guilty as charged. That fabric simply spoke to me and I obsessed about it for weeks before buying it but in the end I knew I had to have it. A few yards might be left at Bunte Fabrics if you're interested in buying some, but I'm not sure; if not, you might be out of luck because Yvonne's shop is the only place I've seen that print this year - in the States, that is. Anyway - I kept debating about throwing in additional colors to the mix but in the end I simply didn't think it would give me what I wanted. I added the star fabrics on a whim and I'm not entirely sure it was a wise idea. Cheap cotton from Hancock Fabrics and for a while I was afraid I would end up with something ridiculous and similar to home-sewn coordinating garments I've seen from some people on ebay and I was remembering my disappointment with my design choices for the Rachel dress I'd made in the spring. But I decided to be sparing with the use of the star fabric and in the end the result is pretty darn good.

The real issue was how to use these fabrics to their advantage in two different dresses in two very different sizes for two very different girls. I played with the idea of making the Farbenmix Sasha dress for Gwyneth because she likes twirly things and that pattern makes an excellent dress for just that. But the Sasha dress doesn't come in Maeve's size and I wasn't in the mood to grade up 2 sizes, so I settled on Destina for her, thinking it was a good older girl dress. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that I should use the same pattern for both of them. The trick then became how to keep them from being identical dresses. I think they turned out pretty well, don't you?

The major differences between the two are the way in which the fabrics are used and the trims and embellishments that were added. Maeve's dress has a more solid-looking bodice, thanks to the floral poplins. I feel bad that I wasn't able to match the Delft tiles on the skirt as well as I could have. Gwyneth's matches much better, and I have to say that I prefer the Delft print at the waist. (See photo at top of page.)

Another major difference is that Gwyneth's dress has inserted ruffles both above and below the waist portion. This in itself wasn't difficult but it did make for thicker seams at those areas. I didn't do this for Maeve because I felt like hers needed to be slightly hipper and more for a 10 year-old. The Delft print is already slightly old-fashioned and I wanted this to be a fun dress. Instead of ruffles I chose to ruche a red gingham ribbon and sew that along the seamline. Additionally, she has more ribbon on her dress than Gwyneth does.

The top of the bodice of Maeve's dress has a light blue and red polka-dot ribbon from Farbenmix and a red mini-rickrack that goes all the way around the bodice. And then there's the double-layer ribbon at the hem of navy grosgrain ribbon with red pickstitching underneath a narrow light blue ribbon with red stars from Farbenmix. The rest of the ribbons and trims were from my stash. The red-centered daisy buttons were purchased at G Street Fabrics, a local store with a fabulous selection of fabrics and buttons. Maeve's dress took 9 buttons. I should note here that in order to make the dress this length for Maeve, I had to add approximately 7 inches to the bottom pattern pieces and I used the largest size, 146/152. Maeve has long legs, though, and someone else might not need to add much at all. Gwyneth's dress is a 98/104 and required no additions, however she is on the short size for her age.

I also added the waist ties. The pattern says this is optional, but this dress is pretty full-cut so I felt like they were necessary. Also, the pattern instructions suggest ribbon for this; I made these out of gingham.

On Gwyneth's dress the major focus is the Delft motifs at the waist area and the ruffles above and below it, so I didn't add a lot of ribbons. Simple rick-rack is enough here, since it doesn't detract from the beautiful fabric. As you can see in the largest photo, I used red mini-rick-rack above the top ruffle at the waistline, then used regular-sized light blue rick-rack at the hem and on the sleeves, along with some jacquard red and white heart ribbon I had in my stash (see top left photo). The small blue-centered daisy buttons on Gwyn's dress also came from G Street Fabrics; this dress needed 5.


  1. Wow Jen...these are beautiful! Such a lot of work and thought has gone into them, and it shows!
    I struggle to make my twin girls similar things that aren't too matchy-matchy...but if I use different colours, then is one getting a raw deal!!? I over analyse this too much..perhaps!!

  2. Thanks, Millie! I probably overanalyze, as well. For me it always seems like when I make dresses for them that are similar, Gwyneth's tends to end up being the better-looking and that makes me feel like Maeve is getting a raw deal. She's at such an awkward stage - tall and skinny, all legs and feet. Everything Gwyneth puts on looks adorable because she's just petite and cute.
    You know, my sister-in-law has twin girls and I've made things for them when they were little without thinking about what they wanted - just what their mother likes. Now they're 5 and have definite tastes and I have made them things from their favorite colors (purple and pink, respectively) but I often let them choose the style they like, and this seems like a good way to do it with them. Maybe when your girls are a bit older this is something they'll do. My brother's twin stepsons always had to have the same thing because if they didn't there was going to be a fight breaking out.

  3. They are both perfect! What I like so much about them is that you made two entirely different dresses with the same fabric and pattern AND made it perfect for each girl.
    You are right about the delft fabric in the waist, it somehow pleases they eye, but also makes it way cuter. I like that Maeve's dress looks more grown-up!

  4. Thanks for the nice comments! These really were a labor of love for me, and I'm especially glad that you think that Maeve's dress looks good. It's difficult sometimes for me to remember that she's not a little girl anymore and I often look at the things I make her and think "Shouldn't this have more ruffles, trim or something?", simply because I still think of her as being little. And she is more of a tomboy these days so it's okay for it to not have so much extra on it. Anyway, she loves it, which makes me happy.