Our in-house model is outside enjoying the sprinklers at the playground, so Pedal (as S has named her, presumably because she has a pedal to raise her up and down) has stepped in to help introduce View A of the Jump Rope Dress.
(A quick aside before I start. A couple of weeks ago my hero, Bill Cunningham, who reports on fashion for The New York Times, did a wonderful audio slide show on shirtwaist dresses. It’s a great piece, and I highly recommend it. I had to chuckle when I saw it because I thought as I was designing this style that I was doing something unique. But it seems that the shirtwaist dress is in the air this season in New York.)
As I mentioned when we announced the new patterns last week, this dress comes in two quite different styles. This is View A–the one that’s shown on the cover of the pattern envelope. I’ll introduce you to View B next week.
I adore softly tailored clothing with subtle feminine details, and I wanted to design a dress with several of those features. This is more tailored than some of our other styles, in part because autumn feels more tailored to me. I think tailored clothing is versatile and practical, but it can also be a lot of fun.
I designed this dress so that you can dress it up or down depending on the fabrics and options you select. The samples I’m showing here are dressier. In fact, S may wear the fuchsia silk plaid sample to my sister’s wedding this fall. But imagine how it would look in chambray or a simple stripe as a school dress or a play dress. (OK, you don’t have to imagine; here’s a photo of both in very different sizes to help you visualize the results.)
This dress fits a bit slimmer than some of our other patterns. It also has a higher armhole, which is especially flattering and means it will layer well with sweaters and jackets when the weather turns cooler. View A has a slightly dropped waist with a self sash, which you could also lengthen if you want a bigger bow. The patch pockets are positioned over the side seams and have little button flaps.
But my favorite part about the dress is the collar, which stands up around the neck like a shirt collar rather than the typical Peter Pan collar you might expect from a home sewing pattern. This collar is a one-piece collar with enough roll to it so that it looks like a shirt collar. But (and this is what I know you want to hear) it is much easier to sew than a traditional collar with a collar stand. I’m rather proud of this collar because I haven’t ever seen another pattern designed like this, and I think you’re going to love sewing it.
We rated this pattern as three out of four scissors because it involves more of a time commitment than some of our other patterns. There are many details in this pattern (the placket, collar, belt loops, pockets, etc.) that you won’t find in any other children’s sewing pattern. But if you know your way around a sewing machine and are willing to go slowly, be patient and diligent, and follow instructions carefully, you’ll be able to sew this dress with aplomb.
Of course the instructions are very detailed and thorough, so you won’t be left adrift while you’re sewing it. I walk you through the steps very carefully. So if you’ve always wanted to sew a partial placket like this, you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Once you understand the technique, you’ll be amazed at how straightforward it really is.
I’ll end with a quick note about the fabrics because I know you’ll ask about those, too. The pink plaid is the fuchsia silk taffeta from Della Q fabrics. (Remember that if you’re matching plaids you should always purchase more than the suggested yardage so you won’t run into trouble in your cutting. We used a little over two yards for the size 4 shown.) The black and white check is an Italian shirting I bought in the garment district here in New York last spring. It’s no longer available, but Della Q has a very similar silk gingham.
I can’t wait to see what you make with this pattern. And I can’t wait to show you View B which I’ll blog about next week. Stay tuned!