Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sewing for Easter: A Dress for My Daughter

Simplicity 1573 in size 6.
I could've titled this post Sewing for Easter: A Fancy Nancy 1940s Dress for My Daughter, but thought that was a little long and odd sounding.

The front.
So, in case you're wondering I did sew up an Easter dress for my daughter from a vintage 1940s pattern (another Sew for Victory project!), but in a definitely inaccurate fabric choice. Sure it's a cotton print, but of a beloved book character named Fancy Nancy whom my daughter adores.

Closer view of front bodice yoke and trim.
I didn't have much problem with the pattern aside from little duh moments, like sewing the bodice yoke to the bodice front upside down (don't ask how I didn't notice it for a long time, but I did). I also altered the pattern slightly and lengthened the skirt which is a great tip when sewing for kids, because they grow longer more quickly than wider so I always like to leave a generous hem when I can. I added about 4 inches in length. I also widened the skirt pieces by about 4 inches to make the skirt have more poof when gathered (my daughter loves lots of fluff and poofiness).
The back. 

At my daughter's suggestion we used a gross grain ribbon I had for a contrasting ruffle and sash. I'm glad I did, because I think it has a lot more body than most fabric would and it saved me time in finishing more edges.

More detailed view of fabric and back bodice yoke and trim.
I can see myself using this pattern again, but maybe the sleeveless version for next time. I actually found a bundle of 1940s girls patterns in her current exact size a couple years ago, so I'm hoping to use some more of them this year, too. And of course some of the perks to using wartime patterns is that they use the least amount of fabric and notions possible. I also love using vintage patterns in general for little girls, because I like for my daughter to look like a little girl while she's a little girl. I'm in no hurry for her to grow up or dress like a teenager, after all she's in kindergarten, but tell that to the main manufacturers and sellers of girl's clothing.

I know most people wouldn't sew this dress up in this material, or maybe just wouldn't let their kid pick what fabric to use, and would make a more traditionally frilly Easter dress, but not me. You see my mom sewed my Easter dresses (as well as much of my clothes) when I was a kid, and part of the fun of having a homemade dress or outfit was being able to choose the pattern and fabric I liked. After all, I'm not wearing my daughter's dress, she is, and I wouldn't want anyone else dictating to me what to wear, especially for a special day/occasion.

My daughter chose clear sparkly buttons. I like how the top one looks like Fancy Nancy is catching a ball.
I know moms who pick all of the children's clothing out daily and never let the kids have much say in what they wear, but as I've said before, I'm not that kind of mom. You have to pick your battles and why would I impose something on her that I don't conform to myself? Our rules are that her clothing has to be decent/modest (covering what should be covered) and appropriate (you have to wear something warm when it's cold out or vice versa). Other than that, we really try to let our kids express themselves in the way they choose to dress.

So, all that to say that a Fancy Nancy Easter dress is totally cool around here, even if it does make my mother-in-law cringe a bit (which I actually find quite funny when this happens, as we have very different tastes in clothing, and other things, for both kids and adults).

I also have a really amazing vintage hat for her to wear on Easter Sunday and will try to post pictures of her in her complete outfit afterwards. I'm so excited to see her in it!

How do you feel about letting kids dress how they like? Would you impose a dress code on your kids when you don't want anyone imposing one on you? Are there guidelines in your house or for yourself for how to dress?


  1. Wow, that is a gorgeous dress! Totally with you on picking our battles and letting kids have a say in what they wear, it is a way of them expressing themselves after all!

    1. Thank you! My daughter loves it, and has already worn it twice and asked for another version of it.
      There are a lot of things in life that we have no say in, especially when we're kids, so I enjoy giving her as much freedom and autonomy as I can. I think we learn a lot that way. It probably helps that we homeschool, too, since she doesn't care if it's what everyone else is wearing.