April 29, 2014

Perfect Party Dress? Perfect Play Dress.

I believe the strength of a good pattern is in the flexibility and in the finishing. The Perfect Party Dress has both in spades. That's why I'm really excited to be part of the Tie Dye Diva Perfect Party Dress Blog Hop hosted by Kathy of Handmade Dress Haven. If the hop brought you here and this is your first time visiting The Inspired Wren, welcome! Take a look around and you'll see I sew a lot of clothes for my five year-old Peanut, crochet a little here and there, share a new sewing tutorial every first-Tuesday of the month, and host Inspire Us Thursdays: Sew Needle Stitch Hook, a fiber-niche link party each Thursday. 

But today let's talk about this Perfect Party Dress. It really is perfect. Usually the first time I sew a pattern, I follow the directions exactly. But this is such a classic silhouette with beautifully clear pattern directions that I didn't need to. It’s such a solid pattern, I’ve already sewn it twice.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
One pattern. Two very different looks.



Let me stop here and inform you that I was given a free copy of this pattern for participating in this blog hop, but anything I say here is my own opinion. I'm also an affiliate so if you click through to Tie Dye Diva Patterns [affiliate link] and make a purchase I'll received a small percentage of the purchase price. But I wouldn't become an affiliate for any company/pattern that I didn't already love.

I was given this pattern in the middle of sewing along with Project Run and Play. I had planned on modifying a sleeveless, pocketless, beltless Jump Rope Dress from Oliver + S, but this fell into my lap the week I needed it and was the perfect canvas for my fabric stripes. As for the finishing on the Perfect Party Dress, it even looks good inside-out. It became the Perfect Easter Dress. [If you’d like to know even more about this fancy version, be sure to check out “Designing for Easter.”

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
I removed the sash and tie from the pattern as written and added this shiny-ribbon bow instead. Read more here.

But Easter comes once a year. I’m not a huge fan of investing my time and energy (and fabric) sewing an outfit for onetime use. (Don’t be too concerned about that Easter Dress. It will attend church a few more Sundays, will definitely witness my niece’s First Communion, and may even make it to a wedding rehearsal dinner if The Peanut doesn’t outgrow it first.) I wondered though, could the Perfect Party Dress become an everyday type dress? It would need ease of wear and washing, ability for independent dressing, and freedom for playground climbing.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
Perfect Play Dress. Full Stop.

Ease of wear and washing? Knit fabric. Ability for independent dressing? Buttons in the front. Freedom for playground climbing? Higher hem with some shorts for underneath.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
Climbing? Check.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
Buttons in front? Check.
One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
Shorts for underneath? Check [Pattern: Go To Leggings]

Let me show you how I modified the Perfect Party Dress so that the buttons are on the front bodice. I opted not to line the bodice as we are heading into summer and I didn't want the extra weight of double-layered knit fabric. I also didn't want the tie in this version and so didn't need the sash strip. I used two pattern pieces: the Front Bodice Liner and the Back Bodice. But they both needed to be altered before cutting.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
For the first time in a long time I didn't spend over an hour choosing buttons. These jumped right into my cart.

The Back Bodice was cut as one piece and didn't need the over lapping button plackets. I traced the pattern piece but subtracted 7/8" from the center cut line to create a cut-on-fold line. Since I was not lining the bodice on this version I also removed the 1/2" seam-allowance from the neckline and armholes.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
On the left is the back bodice piece over the original pattern piece illustrating the difference. On the right is the altered pattern piece.

The Front Bodice was cut as two pieces to which I added the button over-lap. I traced the Front Bodice Lining pattern piece, extending 7/8" beyond the cut-on-fold line. I also removed the seam-allowance from the neck and arms.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
On the left is the front bodice piece over the original lining pattern piece illustrating the difference. On the right is the altered pattern piece.

Using a 1/2" seam-allowance, I sewed a 1.75" wide strip to each Front Bodice as a button placket. (I could have just extended the pattern piece out far enough to accommodate a placket and then fold the fabric back. But I didn't think that far ahead when I was cutting. Next time.) I added a piece of iron-on interfacing to the placket to hold the button holes stable on the knit fabric. The fabric doesn't need to stretch here so standard woven interfacing worked fine. I folded the plackets back and top-stitched them in place to create a 1" wide placket. Then I created four button holes.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
I didn't fold under the inside, raw edge of the placket since knit fabric doesn't fray. 

Next I sewed the shoulder seams, then bound the neck and armholes with coordinating knit fabric.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
I've been having trouble with twin-needle stitching breaking when the knit-fabric outfits are worn, so for the first time I've used woolly-nylon thread in the bobbin. I'm hopeful it will make a big difference.

I cut the skirt the width indicated for a size 5, but I only cut it to be 10" long. Then I cut the coordinating orange the same width and 3" inches long. Once these were stitched together with a 1/4" seam-allowance the two skirt panels were each 35" wide x 12.5" long (as opposed to 17.5" long indicated in the original pattern).

I attached the skirt and sewed the side seams as written in the original pattern. Finally I gave the dress a shy 1/2" hem with my twin-needle plus woolly-nylon bobbin combo.

Then I used the now-obligatory chocolate-bribe to get The Peanut to model for me.

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
Perfect for climbing, hanging, and sliding.

We know this dress works for play, but we are still working on the independent dressing part. The Peanut would much rather live upstairs at Downtown Abbey and let me play Mrs. Bates to her Lady Mary, preferring that I change her clothes and do up her buttons for her while she chit-chats idly. I'll keep putting those buttons front and center so that I don’t always have to be the lady’s maid. Maybe one day I’ll be able to peacefully breakfast in bed like Lady Crowley while The Peanut self-dresses. (Don’t tell me I’m wrong on this one, let me have this dream. Even if it’s not clear who exactly will bring me that bed breakfast.)

One pattern, two looks: sewing the Perfect Party (& Play) Dress by Tie Dye Diva for Easter and for the playground. | The Inspired Wren
Perfect for twirling.

Be sure to visit Handmade Dress Haven and all of the blogs participating in the Tie Dye Diva Perfect Party Dress Blog Hop for more variations (each one fabulous!) on this strong pattern.

Tie Dye Diva Perfect Party Dress Blog Hop
To visit any of these blogs just click on the name above.
Sew Retro Chic The Pretty Pickle Sew Pretty Dresses Sew McCool Pattern Revolution Friends Stitched Together The Inspired Wren Giggles & Beans Sew & Tell with Mama Eggo Create 3.5 Keep Calm and Carrion Shawnta Sews The Crafty Contessa Handmade Dress Haven Image Map


Pattern

Dress: The Perfect Party Dress, by Tie Dye Diva [affiliate link], size 5T with modifications
Shorts: Go To Leggings by Andrea Pannel, size 5 shorts

Fabric

Dress: Doodles Collection Knit, Ditsy Floral; and Doodles Collection Knit, Glitter Orange (both from Joann's Fabric)
Shorts: Sew Classic Knits Interlock, Green (Joann's Fabric) 
Fabric info for the Perfect Easter Dress can be found on the original post here.

Love

The flexibility of this pattern! The original pattern is very clear. It has a lovely sash detail and it has skirt-ruffle and bodice-bib options, too. If you're intimidated by making a special occasion dress, you should really give this one a try. But it's also a perfect canvas for experimenting with adding your own details -- as this blog hop illustrates.

Note

If you have any questions on the alterations here or on the Easter dress, let me know. I love to share and will gladly keep pontificating on this topic if you ask.


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You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my model preferring to dance free, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.
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The Inspired Wren is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

25 comments:

  1. Smart minds think a-like! Love the ribbon sash :)

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    1. I noticed that, too! It's a great change for the pattern.

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  2. This looks very comfy! Great job!!

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    1. Thanks so much. Now we just need warmer weather so she can actually wear it.

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  3. I love this version Ren! It looks so comfortable and fun to play in!

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    1. Thanks! It was a cool day but she didn't want to take it off. I'll take that as a good sign.

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  4. Love it! It looks great for everyday wear and I'm sure she'll get a lot of wear out of it. Cute buttons too!

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    1. The buttons made me laugh. Because I've mentioned a couple of times (and places) how button choosing stresses me out. And then these were so obvious.

      I should write about other issues and see if that makes them resolve as easily.

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  5. Love this knit version! Geez, why didn't I think of that. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Knit would have never occurred to me!! It looks awesome! <3

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    1. I just didn't see reason to make another fancy dress so soon after Easter. I love coming up with out-of-the-box solutions.

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  7. I would have never thought of using a knit for this! I love both your versions!

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  8. Both dresses are awesome :) and she is still so adorable!!

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  9. Thanks for sharing and linking up again with us at the #WWDParty. Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  10. Tooooo stinkin cute, great job! I would love for you to link up over at Link It Or Lump It, if you have not already!! http://www.sohosonnet.com/link-it-or-lump-it/link-it-or-lump-it-sunday-link-party-36/

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    1. Thank you! I'll check it out.

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  11. That is super cute! I kind of what one in my size! hehe. Thanks for linking up to Snickerdoodle sunday!

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  12. Whenever I make a comfy knit thing for her, I always wish it would come in my size and flatter my figure.

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  13. Both versions look great, Ren. I love how you've adapted the pattern to make an every day dress. Yes, the day will come when Peanut will be independent and dress herself. Tie Dye Diva patterns are one of my favourites.

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