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Three Dresses and a Baby

February 8, 2012

When my nephew and his girlfriend had a little girl on 16th July last year I made a little blue and white Oliver+S Family Reunion dress for her. I crossed my fingers that my brother and his wife would have a little girl so I could make them for her as well. And they did! Meet Ava Louise, born 16th January.

I knew from talking to my brother and his wife that they had pretty much everything they needed but he did specifically ask for a little dress like the one I’d made Étaín back in August. With a little more time to prepare (I knew they were having a girl) I was able to get a few bits and pieces done for them, including these dresses (I didn’t get a picture of the third, annoyingly, so you’ll have to make do with two!).

The first was made using some Alexander Henry fabric bought in Britex in San Francisco.

My brother and his wife are keen not to have everything too pink or too girly and are not averse to dressing Ava in black (practically a crime in some camps) so I thought this fabric was perfect! It has little pink hearts dotted all over it – just enough to give it a bit of girliness without being overwhelming.


My initial plan with this dress was to leave it without any embellishment except for the little pink buttons down the front and the closure buttons at the back. The problem is that with a fabric as patterned as this you lose the lovely pintuck and neckline detail. To counteract this – at least to an extent) I decided to put a little bit of lace under the collar, tucked up above the front placket at the centre to make it look like a Peter Pan collar.

The back buttons are a little out of kilter at the top as there were so many layers around the edge, by this point, that it was nigh on impossible to do a decent buttonhole. I made one as close to the neck facing as I dared and put a snap fastener at the collar, covered by a matching pink button.

The blue dress I wanted to leave a little plainer for more everyday wear in the spring/summer.

I had some Alexander Henry April showers fabric left over from a top I made myself a long time ago which I used to make the front placket, unembellished this time. Unfortunately, the placement of the placket means the umbrella in the picture is lost, but it’s still adorable nonetheless (although the top stitching is a tad wonky…)

The hem facing is made a little stiffer here with three lines of top stitching: two plain and one decorative. It gives it a nice solidity that will hopefully stop the skirt from getting caught in her little legs as it gets worn.

It’s really nice that there is exactly 6 months between the girls as they’ll get to grow up together – they only live about 10-15 minutes walk apart. My brother and my nephew grew up together as well and more like friends than relatives. My nephew was even the best man at my brother’s wedding!

To finish: I always get good results with this pattern. The dress, I’ve heard, is easy to put on and take off thanks to the buttons at the back. There are very few seams on the inside to irritate a baby’s skin and it is gorgeous on. From the maker’s point of view, the pattern is really easy to follow, well laid out and a delight to custom finish. It’s not the easiest pattern in that there are a fair few steps, but it delivers really lovely and well appreciated results!

  1. February 9, 2012 12:04 am

    She’s beautiful. And those dress are gorgeous. I have a niece as well and have not made her as much as I should. I will look into those Oliver+S patterns. They always look so cute in stores.

    • February 9, 2012 8:42 pm

      They’re so great to make up! I’ve come to love making baby clothes as they’re so quick in comparison to adult clothes, and ten times as cute.

      Ava does look rather like my brother did when he was really little (well, in photographs!) so it’s a bit weird sometimes, but I still think she’s gorgeous. (My brother probably won’t appreciate that comment…)

  2. February 9, 2012 12:31 am

    These dresses are so sweet! What a nice gift!

    • February 9, 2012 8:41 pm

      They were specifically requested based on the first one I made and more have been requested since! I know her parents liked them so here’s hoping she will too.

  3. February 9, 2012 1:29 am

    Very cute!

  4. February 9, 2012 10:37 am

    What gorgeous dresses! I like how cute they are, without being too girly. Just perfect.

    • February 9, 2012 8:39 pm

      Thank you! I don’t think she’ll be too girly, given the personas of her parents, so hopefully they’ll suit her to a t.

  5. February 10, 2012 12:20 am

    Gorgeous dress and little lady!

  6. anne permalink
    February 13, 2012 6:34 am

    Ava Louise is beautiful! I’m very impressed that you make the dresses with such detail (I usually go for an easy, quick option!) and I love the great fabric from San Francisco – I hope Ava doesn’t throw up on it! Would these work in aboriginal fabrics – not sure – how much fabric do baby dresses take?

    • February 14, 2012 7:54 pm

      I’m sure she sill throw up on it:m I just how it washes out! She won’t be able to wear them for a while yet though. The pattern starts at 6 months and she’s only just 4 weeks.

      The thing about baby clothes is that they are so easy to add detail to: the little seams are much easier to deal with than the big ones. It’s worth it for such a wee cutie pie too!

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