Friday, September 6, 2013

pattern review friday - a lotus (actually another geranium) dress :)

Last week Gracie decided she wanted a new dress for the first day of school.  I swear my kids are so like me ... they wait until the very last moment to decide anything :)  So I asked Gracie what she wanted her dress to look like and I got a shrug and something that sounded similar to something Mae might say which in no way resembles English as I understand it.  Then I asked what fabric she wanted and I got more Mae-speak (my oldest calls it babble-onian) that may have meant I don't care.  Or maybe it didn't, but since I had an idea in mind for the dress anyway, it worked out best for me if I assumed it meant she didn't care :)  But since there's nothing I hate more than sewing a dress (or any other project) and then having my kid tell me that he/she won't wear it, I showed Gracie the fabric I chose to make sure she liked it.  Without ever looking away from the computer screen, she said it was fine.  So then I did that thing I'm pretty sure every mother has done (please tell me it's not just me!) where I go right up to the computer and stick my face in between the computer and my child's face so they have to pay attention to me :)  At this point whining ensued, things very quickly spiraled downhill when I forced Gracie to give me an answer by holding her computer game hostage (turns out she really did like the fabric) and then I walked away and we both pretended that little scene never happened ;)  I'm sure there's a more diplomatic way to get my children to stop ignoring me, but my way happens to be quite effective!

Once I decided on a fabric and a basic look, I knew exactly which pattern I wanted to use - the Geranium Dress of course!  I purchased the larger sizes of the Geranium Dress a while ago, but I hadn't gotten around to actually sewing one yet.  I cut out the size 8 pattern pieces - Gracie wears a size 7 slim in ready-to-wear clothing but I knew I wanted a looser fit so I sized up a bit.  Then I made quite a few modifications and here's the end result:

I love the original Geranium pattern just as it's written and sewed it the way here (the first dress) and here with just one small change (the bodice length).  But one of my favorite things about this pattern is the ability to change it and get a whole new look without compromising the excellent fit like I did with the two tops in this post and in this one.  So here are the changes I made this time:

  1. Eliminated the back opening - I removed some of the width from the back bodice piece and cut it on the fold
  2. Raised the front and back bodice to create more of a baby doll silhouette
  3. Curved the front bodice - so it would fit over Gracie's head without a back opening :)
  4. Added a closure-less front placket
  5. Used the pleated skirt piece since it has an a-line shape but gathered the top; curved the front skirt piece to match the shape of the new front bodice
  6. Lengthened the skirt by 2" to compensate for the altered bodice
  7. Fully lined the dress
  8. Added 1/2" elastic at Gracie's natural waist in between the main fabric and the lining
In the end, the Lotus Dress looks very little like the original Geranium Dress (hence the rename!) but it still fits as well as the original and has the oh-so-cute cap sleeves that I love - after all, they make an appearance on every version of the Geranium I make :)

When I first envisioned the dress, I planned on closing the front with a single large (functioning) button, but I just didn't like how it looked.  So instead I used two smaller buttons to tack down the placket.  I ended up really loving this look and the pop of the red buttons is a perfect finishing touch.  I just love it when things work out even better than what I planned!

The best part of the whole dress is that Gracie loved it!  She told me I should make the exact same dress for Mae just with a different fabric.  Then they can be "kind-of" twins :)

Main fabric - Lotus by Amy Butler
Lining/Placket - Cream lightweight linen/cotton blend
Buttons - Basic plastic buttons from Joann's


  1. A somewhat inauspicious start, but oh. my. goodness. look at that final result! So beautiful! Very unlike the Geranium to look at, I would not have guessed that it was your starting point. But the fabric, the little placket, the bloused waistline, everything. It's beautiful.

    1. Thanks so much! I really didn't change that much, but it's amazing how little changes can sometimes make such a difference :)