Lila will be six years old tomorrow. She has turned into such a kid this past year – jumping rope, rollerskating, writing stories, sounding out words and spelling them in that totally wrong but adorable way that kids this age do. The stuff of kindergarten. I love witnessing her attempts to master each new skill. It doesn’t all come naturally to her, but she’s got major sticktoitiveness, this girl. Such focus and determination, and such pride in each small victory. Her palms are raw with callouses and blisters from the monkey bars. Her handwriting is already better than her dad’s. And just like every new age, I can’t wait to see what six brings.
I haven’t been sewing much lately, but I’m always up for a birthday dress. This year I chose the Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations. My use of this pattern was 100% inspired by Tara’s recent birthday dress for her newly six year old. Tara’s was the perfect combination of fancy and simple and delicate and beautiful, and I decided that six was the year the birthday dress should close with an invisible zipper.
The shape and construction of this dress are very similar to Rae’s Geranium dress, – gathered empire waist, faux cap sleeves, side seam pockets, lined bodice. The major differences are the invisible zipper (which somehow equals fancier to me), and a few other options, such as a collar, a full lining, and a tulle underskirt. I skipped the tulle but did a full lining, which adds some nice volume to the skirt.
It also helps that I accidentally cut my skirt pieces to a size 7 width – that’s what happens (to me anyway) when you have to make your own rectangular pattern pieces and you’re trying to do the math on combining two sizes – all the measurements kept running together. But it just meant some extra gathers, which isn’t the worst thing when you’re making a party dress. I ended up with a size 5 bodice and a skirt somewhere between a 6 and a 7 – it’s long, but I like the fit.
The main fabric is a Japanese seersucker lawn, bought last May from Miss Matatabi. I’ve lusted after so many things from her shop, but this has been my only purchase so far. I fell in love with this one immediately – the colors, the crinkly texture, the triangles. It’s no longer available, but the shop is full of the most amazing Japanese fabrics and is worth checking out if haven’t already.
The lining fabric is Watermelon shot cotton, which I also used for the collar. Based on Rachel’s lovely version, I cut the skirt lining a little longer than the outer skirt so it would peek out at the bottom.
This dress feels wonderful – both fabrics are very soft and light, but it’s a lot of yardage (three in total) – so it’s weighty, but light and flowy at the same time. It’s a little bit dressier than what I usually make, but hey, turning six is a little bit special.
I went back to look at each of Lila’s handmade birthday dresses. We’re six for six. My mom made the first two (back when sewing a dress seemed way out of my league), and I took over from there.
I hope there are plenty more to come.