I'd been looking for a gorgeous dress pattern to showcase my 'Heart of Summer' fabric collection for a while and when I came across this pattern by McCalls I knew it was perfect to model my designs. I made two dresses from this pattern, both using adapted versions of dress B. For the first dress, I modified the pattern slightly as I wanted to use my 'Floral Gathering' pattern in White for the main bodice. This created a stunning visual centre piece to draw your eye to. Pattern matching where the design met at the back zip wasn't too tricky, but did take a few minutes to get right. I chose not to add sleeves as I didn't want to detract from the bodice. I also wanted the dress to have modern feel, so took away the sleeves and used polycotton for the petticoat instead of tulle. For the skirt I chose 'Sweet Meadow' in Hyacinth Blue to contrast the paler bodice. To bring the whole design together I used a pale pink ribbon, complimenting the pink in both bodice and skirt patterns.
For the second dress I again chose to make dress B with an adapted bodice. The bodice is made from 'Butterfly Dance' in Buttercup Yellow and the skirt is made up in 'Scattered Seeds' Mustard Yellow. I chose not to add a ribbon to this design as the colours complimented and flowed well into each other.
This pattern is perfect for a beginner or someone who knows the basics. It took me an afternoon to make, so isn't too time consuming. The suggested fabrics to use are cotton, linen, chambray or lawn depending on how heavy you want the dress. The quilting weight cotton which 'Heart of Summer' is printed on works really well to give a full bodied skirt. If you want a slightly lighter skirt you could make a separate petticoat, which is what I did with the second dress in yellow, to make it a bit cooler for the Summer months.
When making this I would make sure that you measure the child you are making the dress for. The waist stated for a 6 year old was quite a bit larger than my daughter so I would take the time to check this, especially if you are making it as a gift. Overall this makes a lovely party or special occasion dress. By making a separate petticoat, the dress becomes more of a day dress as it doesn't have as much weight.
I would definitely make this again in the future using more of my fabrics. I think the dress design lends itself well to the nostalgic feeling I was trying to achieve with my 'Heart of Summer' collection. It's a dress I would have loved to wear as a child and I know my daughter will treasure in years to come.