When choosing a dress pattern to encapsulate my collections I look to my designs and story to see which characteristics I want to emphasise. For me, this Autumnal collection was all about being playful and fun. With the narrative focussing on cheeky squirrels and their friends playing in the leaves, I wanted a dress to reflect the sense of freedom and play, but also something that could be worn throughout Autumn and Winter, so not too lightweight or short. This children's party dress from New Look was a perfect fit.
Available in sizes A (3-4-5-6-7-8), the pattern itself is easy to follow and perfect for an advanced beginner. The sweetheart design offers something slightly different to the usual basic v-neck or asymmetrical neckline. Combined with the sleeve variations, this creates a really pretty garment. We chose to make variations of A and C in an age 7 size. The sash on dress C looked so pretty we decided to add it to dress A as well. This creates a pretty silhouette and gives it more of a party feel. The suggested fabrics include 'Chambray, Cotton Types, Damask, lightweight Linen Types, Pique, Seersucker, Satin, and Taffeta,' so using my quilting weight cotton fabrics for Lewis and Irene worked perfectly. Rather than using just one fabric design we chose to use several contrasting designs which gives the dresses a touch of whimsy. To add to the playfulness we also chose to use a contrasting zip on the back of the dress which made it into a fun feature.
While this dress encapsulates my collection well, there are a few things I'd take in to consideration for future sewing. Whilst my daughter is an average size for a 7 year old, both of these patterns came out slightly on the larger side, so it is definitely worth taking the time to measure whoever will be wearing the dress. If you are using one way designs or matching patterns, you may also need more fabric than you thought.
As previously stated, I wanted a dress which could be worn and layered in the colder months, and I think this could easily be dressed up with a pair of warm tights and cardigan whilst keeping it's sense of playfulness. If you wanted to create a fuller skirt effect you could also add a petticoat which would give it more of a 'party' feel.
Overall with the dress being so quickly made up and having a couple of different variables to create different looks, I wouldn't hesitate to make this again. The main test though was did my daughter like it and I can happily say she loves it, so it looks like we may have to make a few more variations in different colourways.