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Sweet Sixteen

This month I'm going to make my eldest great granddaughter a sundress. She has just finished her exams and left school; going to college in September. Not a child any longer, she has quite definite ideas on what she wants to wear. She found a picture of a dress she likes on Pinterest with a diagram to make your own pattern from, by a generous lady named Marlene Mukai. I think she may be from Brazil, the language is unfamiliar and her website ends in Br. Anyway there are loads of her free patterns and in the past I did use a simple one for a tee shirt. A bit daunting – I'm not a draughtsman, but I like a challenge and enjoy trying something new. The main drawback is that there are no sewing instructions or any notches etc so maybe not suitable for a beginner, as it would be a bit of a minefield if you have never made anything before. However, although the bodice has a princess line, the skirt is basically a square, so its just the top to concentrate on. (I'll worry about all the buttonholes later). I'm using £1 shop wrapping paper as its not only cheap its also quite flimsy so if you want to keep it there's not too much bulk.

I feel the pattern as is is maybe on the small side so I'm making a muslin, or mock up from some nice gingham. My ulterior motive being that it will make a nice suntop for the younger girl if it is not big enough for Bethany. A week later and there is now another muslin made to get the size right.

This Cotton Fabric from Minerva is actually shirting but it is perfect for this dress. If I could change anything it would be a paler blue, as it is a bit darker than I would like. We have decided to use some large white ric rac and white buttons so I think it will make it nice and summery. The buttons are from my hoard which I have collected all my life, but now is the time to use them - I can,t take them with me! Mother of Pearl buttons were quite common when I was a child, but I remember a dress that got spoiled by going through the wooden mangle which broke the buttons and consequently the sharp edges made holes in the dress. I don't have many buttons where there are more than 5 or 6 in a set, but there are plenty of these particular ones.

I decided to cut the bodice and pockets on the cross to add a bit of interest, but although I used interfacing the front edge got a little stretched when forming the buttonholes.

Speaking of which I have finally discovered how to make my machine behave! Always in the past it has produced perfect buttonholes on practice scraps, but only about 3 out of four when it really matters. Makes me dread using buttons. Now I know that the pull down lever is very sensitive and if my finger or a fold of fabric touches it then the signal is given to start the next action. My workspace is a bit resricted and I always seem to have some bulk close to the machine. I was really careful to avoid this and have produced 11 perfect buttonholes. It was frustrating to read up everything I could but didn't come across any advice to keep clear of this lever. There was just enough fabric left over to make her a pair of shorts.

Thanks for reading,


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