Saturday, October 2, 2010


Skirt for Aunty (Burda 07-2010-126)

Dress for niece: (Burda 11-2008-139)

I had always hoped to have a little girl to sew dresses for. Now that I have actually sewed a little girl's dress for my niece I am supremely grateful I had a boy. I made so many mistakes on this dress - in too much of a hurry - to have it finished on time, and frankly, to have it finished so I could go back to sewing for me me me.

First of all, I mistook centre front for the side front and cut the pleats the wrong way round. That was no big deal, what was a big deal is I sewed the bodice front to the back, and vice versa, so that the zipper did up on the front! There was just no ignoring that error. That's when I gave myself a good talking too, slowed down, recut and resewed the bodice pieces, and thanked god for my little boy.

For those of you who love to see a smug sewer get their come-uppance:

Once I finished that little piece of sewing I liked the idea of giving myself a "project runway" type challenge. Make something for a little girl; using little girl's pattern and fabric as inspiration, sew something for a big girl. I decided I liked the idea of the sewn down pleats, and would use the leftover pieces of fabric to sew myself a spring skirt.

Burda 07-2010-126

The wind is blowing out the back pleats here, but you get the idea:

From the front:

The welt pockets are cut on the bias and set into the side seam, inserted hard up against the invisible zip. A pain to sew and you don't really every get to see them, so let's call them, "the why bother welt?"

Yes, there is a pocket behind that welt:

Sometimes we moan about things only to have something worse happen and realise our former gripes were so small and petty. Whatever I have complained about Burda instructions in the past (and their welt pocket instructions on this skirt are as incomprehensible as ever), it pales in comparison to working with instructions in Italian. It's all about perspective.

And how's this for perspective. Yesterday I took my son to a park to play. I bumped into an old work colleague there who had had a drunken fling with my boyfriend at that time. She looked at me and said, "I know you from somewhere, what's your name again?"

See, it's all about perspective.


  1. Ah, you stopped before the good bit...what was your reply?

    A very cheerful skirt. I would wear it all the time if it was mine.

  2. Yes, I would have liked to hear your reply, too!

    LOVELY skirt! It is so you! Very cheerful fabric. If I ever sew something like that it will be my Mary Nanna skirt.


  3. Oh my reply? I told her my name. I watched the horror set into features as she realised exactly how we knew each other.

    I'd call it a visa card "priceless" moment.

  4. I wonder if she went home cursing her bad memory?
    I think I am missing the joke about your Italian. Is one of them not in English - doesn't your Latin make this a breeze?
    I don't think you are appreciating the little girl sewing value of your niece sufficiently. She will probably squeal with delight and twirl around chanting something along the lines of "Auntie Mary Nanna looooves me, My dress is soooo pretty". This is not something I have experienced with boy sewing.

  5. Both pinafore and skirt are very cheerful. No pinnie for you?

    And although you may have been humbled by the dress, you can feel a teeny smug about the nice welt pockets.

  6. I am glad the dress turned out well in the end! The skirt is really cute, what cheerful fabric! Although I have to agree about the "why bother welt." That is such an odd placement!

  7. Fabulous skirt and adorable dress. She's going to love it! I have to agree with kbenco. Every time I come out of the sewing room with something for Myra, she jumps and squeals and insists on wearing it at once, all the while chanting, "pretty dress!". Logan just grunts and/or refuses to wear whatever it is.

  8. Sylvie said "it's so pretty!" so the dress is a hit. Yay yay yay for aunties with nimble sewing fingers!
    That skirt is so pretty, too. You look so styley in it.

  9. MaryNana - you have sucfh a sense of style - totally love that outfit you put together

  10. Ah, these are the "priceless" moments we can all do with out! Nice to have the upper hand though.

    I love the bright print fabric. It works for both a casual skirt and a little girl's dress.

    If you ever sew more dresses for your niece try Oliver + s patterns for kids. They are a doddle and very cute.

  11. I sewed my first baby clothes over the summer for my niece, and while it was an overall decent experience I was totally shocked at how long it took to do a gathered flounce at the hem. Imagine doing that on something my size? No, no flounces in my future!

    I love your skirt!

  12. I agree about sewing for little girls. I think I sew for them to get compliments from other adults because my girls wear their dresses to church and cannot wait to take them off when they get home! The rest of the time, the dresses just sit in the closet...

  13. I still have some of the clothes you and jen made me when I was little. I loved them so much! Sylvie will look gorgeous in it

  14. That is sooooo funny! And both of those garments are cute (regardless of the pita factor).

  15. You really had me going when you captioned that skirt "for Aunty" -- I thought you made it for an aunt who is just the same as you, was marvelling over how nice you don't need a form to sew in her size. Then I figured out Aunty was YOU. Clever clever.... I love the "whoops" factor with that run-in. Did you happen to take a mobile phone pic of her face as the realization and horror set in?

  16. This skirt is cute. Did you think of some witty retort later in the day? I always do. At the time, though, all I manage is to make myself sound like a moron.

  17. That little dress looked anything but simple, beautiful fabric beautifully made up

  18. I have just trawled through your comments to check your come back. I'm pleased you got her on the back foot.

    The skirt and dress look fab. I was also reading to see if "blowing out the back pleats" was some new street slang, but I guess it's just technical jargon. It would make for a pretty cool insult don't you think?

    If you get a chance could you drop me an email (I promise I will save the address this time) I finally have some me sewing time and have some FBA questions. You seem to have the answers.

  19. It's amazing how cute and girly that gorgeous little dress is and, with the same fabric, how hot that skirt is.

    I too am dying to hear the rest of the story. But then I'm a sucker for a good story of love and betrayal.

  20. Gorgeous. Both of them. I love the jumper and the skirt looks super cute on you. I need some floral corduroy for my nieces too now!