challenge, chevron, dress, kids sewing, SOSM

SOSM: Challenge #2, Roller skate Dress

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to make several Oliver+S patterns, but this one is definitely one of my favorites.  If I had girls, they would absolutely live in this dress.  The pattern itself is simple (only 5 pieces, including the button loop guide!), but there are so many ways to put your own stamp on it.   
For this challenge, I headed to the fabric store to provide the inspiration and I found it before I even walked in the door, on the sale rack.  I’ve been eyeing this sherbet-colored fabric for ages and once I spotted it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do–chevrons!  The end bolt just said 100% cotton and “Made in Switzerland”, but it appears to be a yard-dyed, sheer voile or something even more lightweight.  I bought 4 yards (a steal at $5/yard!), enough for two girls’ dresses and an as-yet-to-be-determined something for me 🙂 The coordinating lining is a baby pink cotton lawn and the contrast neckline is solid quilting cotton. 
To create the bodice and skirt chevrons, I cut the pattern down the middle of the front, and along one of the elastic stitching lines, adding seam allowance where needed. Then each piece of fabric was cut individually to ensure that everything matched up.  I used the same technique as I did here, overlapping the pieces at the sewing lines and drawing the stripes right onto the pattern pieces before aligning and pinning to the fabric.  Here’s a close-up of the chevron-matching detail (below is the back seam).
This fabric is sheer!  Therefore, French seams were really the only way to sew this dress and I used that technique for both lining and shell (aside from the armholes and neckline, since those curved seams had to lie very flat).  Unfortunately, it meant matching chevrons twice for every seam, but in the end, the results were so worth it!  The back seam, under the button opening, I used what I refer to as an “after the fact French seam” (officially, a mock French seam) since I couldn’t do a true FS there. 
You can see through it!
The French seam along the waistband was tucked into and sewn inside the elastic casing, which helped keep the elastic from being visible from the outside. 
Front of the dress
Back of dress
I wanted the v-neck to echo the chevrons of the bodice, so I altered the original notched-neckline to a more continuous V shape.  
Front neckline
Back neckline
I finished the dress with a simple double-fold hem for both the shell and lining.  My original plan was to use the same fabric as the neckline for a band at the bottom, but after pinning it in place, I decided I preferred the airy lightness of the dress without it.

French seams and hems on the lining and shell fabric

Since my model has a younger sister, I couldn’t make a pretty dress for one and not the other, so Miss Maiya also got a (much simpler!) sherbet-striped dress.  I started and finished that one in a few hours; needless to say, not having to cut and sew chevrons made for a much quicker construction (although I still used French seams)!  I’ll post more photos of the second version soon.

For some reason, this photo reminds me of a Wes Anderson movie. They weren’t thrilled to have been taken away from playtime with my sons for a photo shoot!

43 thoughts on “SOSM: Challenge #2, Roller skate Dress”

  1. a) I absolutely love it.
    b) Any way you'd want to go fabric shopping for a stranger and pick me up say 3 yards of that fabric if there's any left? I would paypal you the $$ (and for shipping!)

    Just wondering… 🙂

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  2. Carolyn, I will definitely run over to the fabric store for you! It looked like they were getting down to the last yards of fabric when they were cutting mine, so is there a minimum yardage you'd want? It is 54″ wide, so you might not need quite so much…

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  3. Your Rollerskate dress turned out absolutely perfect, excellent execution!
    I really like the more continuous v shape of the notched neckline and with the color you chose it blends in so well with the rest of the dress.
    You have me very intrigued with the mocked French seams. Would you be able to show us how you did that? Or refer me to a place that shows how to do it? Thanks in advance!

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  4. This dress is so beautiful! I actually gasped when I opened the email! Everything is exquisite! – the chevron matching, the french seams, the colors and lovely soft fabric – and of course, the model! The attention to detail is amazing – like your last entry also! I was poking around the Oliver + S blog and Liesl recently had a thoughtful, well written post about the impact of “cheap” clothing. It's an interesting read if you have a chance. Your dress makes me think of it because you can't just “buy” a dress of this quality. Love love love it!

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  5. Love how your version is so close to what is on the pattern envelope! I like the neckline modifications and the chevron. The design lines are so simple–it's a great place to use the fabric as you did.

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  6. You know, it just takes patience-anyone can do it! I pinned every line, and looked on both sides to make sure the pin went in at the same spot. No tricks here!

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  7. That wasn't even my intention, but the colors are pretty similar! The guy at my fabric store said that the peachy color was “really popular this season”, so maybe I'm just subconsciously following the trends! 🙂

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  8. This really is soooo lovely! I adore all the attention to detail you put into matching your chevrons with french seams. You can just feel how light and airy the dress is too.

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  9. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!! Nicole you're so talented and you've got a real eye for beauty. I can't wait to see the dress you make for yourself from this pattern 😉

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  10. Thank you, Angela! It really is an exceptionally light dress, considering it's fully lined! Our summers aren't too hot, but it's definitely an ideal hot-weather dress.

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  11. What a wonderful, kind comment Kathleen! Thank you! I just read the article (thank you for the suggestion!) and now I'm going to have to get the book Liesl references…

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  12. oh, you know it's good when you get so many to click through and devour the entire post…
    and then I read it again…
    spot on perfection – very lovely. from the colors, to construction, to the lovely little ladies – and I think the perceived simple look (haha) works best with the skater pattern. it's not a frou frou pattern.
    and yes…wes anderson…or even maybe a little kubrick – perfect dolls.

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  13. I wasn't ignoring your comment! I was hoping I could illustrate this with one of the dresses I've been making for new babies, but I can do regular French seams…and I've been busy…anyhow, this is the gist of it (scroll down a bit): http://www.sewmamasew.com/2008/05/seam-finishes-simplified/. Hope this helps!

    For the back seam on this dress, I did have to clip the seam allowance to do the mock French seam, but I made sure the clip would be hidden inside the elastic casing, if that makes sense.

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