Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Look mom, I joined the Junior League

Have you ever seen the children's clothing catalog called Olive Juice? I have two little boys, so somehow through my online shopping I've managed to get my name added to their mailing list.

While their boy's clothes aren't exactly my cup of tea, the girl's things? Heavenly! So adorable, in fact, that I stole one of their designs from this season's catalog and reproduced it for myself.

That's right, people. I turned the Poppy dress into a dress for an adult woman on the upward slide to forty.

And guess what? I love it!

Here's the story.

I got their catalog in the mail a few weeks ago. I love love love this dress. The stripes! The ruffle! Love it.

Then I was in Omaha, Nebraska, for work one day and managed to find my way to their Hancock's store. You see, my Hancock's are total junk. Omaha's Hancock's on Center Street is awesome. The store is clean, the fabric selection is lovely.

I carried a big bag of bargain priced fabrics back on the plane with me, and one of them was this green and gray stripe knit. It's got a texture like pique but it's a little more subtle than the pique you see men's polo shirts made of.

I set about to experiment and see if I could make a similar dress for myself out of my new favorite striped knit. My worst-case-scenario would be that it would turn into a knit top if it looked hideous as a dress (less is more sometimes).

I love stripes, did I mention that? Love them.

I also love ruffles. Maybe I haven't told you all that yet, but I do. Love ruffles a lot.

And here it is. The finished product.

I used the sheath pattern from the Sew U Dresses book in my regular size, because with knits you'll have give (i.e. stretch) you wouldn't have with woven fabrics and I knew it would end up a little larger. That's what I wanted. If you want something more fitted, cut one size down in knits.

I reinforced the shoulders with stay tape and fell in love with my machine's stretch stitch (after two days of swearing and tearing out stitches that popped under each stretch test). No more straight stitches for me on knits! No sirree, I'll be using the little lightning bolt from now on. More on that later.

I think it looks kinda like a tennis dress for a Junior Leaguer, don't you? I love it. It's the kind of thing I'll wear all the time in the summer - to the pool, to Target, to the park. With flip-flops, with fancy sandals.

With a tan. Jeez, girl, get some sun would you?

Ok, so here are the details:

Once again, my photography stinks. Sorry for that. I wanted to show you the little Featherty tag I sewed on the outside of the neckline (in part to keep that stinking facing down!).

Total cost of the fabric was about $3.50. It was in the bargain section for $2.95 a yard and with the ruffles I used a little less than 1.5 yards. Score! The Olive Juice dress for little girls is $48.50.

After sewing on the ruffles I didn't want to use ribbing at the neck and arms so I made facings. Now I kinda regret that decision? They don't lay so nice. Is there a trick to this? I haven't sewn much with knits for years. Or would you have used ribbing (self) at the openings? I don't know, I'm open to suggestions.

I never know what to do with my body in pictures. I looked up so I could cut out my head and I laughed so hard when I uploaded the pics I decided to keep it. Nice nostrils, Heather.


  1. I am new to sewing and I have been reading your blog for a few weeks! I am really enjoying it! I am not sure if I have commented before, but I felt like I should on this post! I LOVE that dress! You did such a great job and that stripe looks very nice for that dress! I am looking forward to reading more of your blog! I also have a blog that I have been writing at for about a year and a half. It is http://savannahsouthernbelle.blogspot.com

    Have a wonderful day!

  2. It's adorable! I love this style of dress for everyday too. The ruffles are so cute!

  3. i love it!!! you can make the boys some matching shorts, and then you will be catalog ready!!!

  4. I love it! Its the perfect everyday wear summer dress! The ruffle just makes it awesome and I'm totally digging the green stripes! I heart green.

  5. Oh, I want to know all about stretch stitches, especially through multiple layers of jersey. I am having hell trying to finish a jersey tunic I started - it's lurking in a plastic bag in a corner now.

  6. This is super cute! I LOVE LOVE LOVE stripes too, and the ruffle down the front is adorable.