My friend, Hayley, asked me to make a pinafore style dress for her extremely cute baby girl, Emily Rose. I instantly had an idea of what I wanted the dress to look like but having never made any clothing for children before, I thought it best to use a pattern that was relatively close to what I wanted and just tweak it slightly. After lots of searching, I settled on the Burda Kids 9424 pattern, which I bought from Sew Essential. The fabric I chose is the chocolate corduroy I used for my Erin skirt and I still have loads left!
As usual (well for me anyway), Burda’s instructions confused me no end and I was very frustrated by the whole project. And things went wrong, which just added to the frustration, so much so that in this point in time I am VERY put off making for kids ever again! We shall see if my feelings on this change in the future…
I’ll get on to the things that went wrong in a moment. With the pattern instructions, there is one part at the end that tells you which steps to follow to make the dress, so I marked those bits with stars for ease of reading.
I cut all the pattern pieces in size 6 months that I needed according to the instructions. But I found when I got to step 13, it tells you to line the bib (the instructions call it doubling bib) but I hadn’t cut a lining because it didn’t tell me to do that in the cutting out section! Believe me when I say I was furious. I couldn’t even do a facing because there aren’t any facing pattern pieces for the bib. So I decided to use a contrast bias binding from my stash to neaten the edges of the bib like a facing – a first for me but I’ve seen it a lot on Instagram. It’s a really straight forward technique and I have absolutely no idea why I haven’t used it before!
The pattern talks of facings and underlaps. Took me a while to work out how the facing was supposed to sit and even longer to work out what the hell the underlap was for!!
The facing is basically for the button stand at the sides of the front skirt (or trousers if you’re making the dungarees).
The underlap is to be sewn onto the back skirt (or trousers) at the side seams like flaps and is where you would sew the buttons on, in line with the button holes on the front skirt.
Sounds so simple when put like that. These two steps were the MOST frustrating part of the whole process. I hope by writing this, I save someone else the frustration and head-scratching I went through!
So the main thing that went wrong – Doris (my sewing machine, in case you didn’t know her name..!) ate the fabric when I was sewing a button hole. I was so upset I cried to my fiancé, sure I’d ruined it completely.
Doris has never eaten fabric before, I can only assume that it was too thick and she didn’t like it so had a hissy fit. Annoyingly, I couldn’t free the dress without ripping a hole in the fabric. Once I’d freed it, I was then able to get into the bobbin chamber and take out the shit that had got tangled up round the bobbin casing. Doris is now firmly in the dog house and she can bloody well stay there until I forgive her!
So I patched the hole up and (thankfully!!) I had some large poppers (aka press studs) in my stash that once belonged to my Grandma. I decided it was safer to sew these on for the fastenings rather than try buttonholes again. And also, I couldn’t put a buttonhole in the area where the rip was because, funnily enough, there was a rip there! So the whole dress only has 2 functioning button holes, the other four buttons are purely decorative now.
Another thing that went wrong was the embroidery on the front pocket. I wanted it to be a reference to her name – Emily Rose – so it would be completely unique and special for her.
I tried to do a ribbon rose using Rumana’s tutorial (yes, that’s Rumana from the Sewing Bee). I’m not quite sure what I did wrong but let’s just say that one of the roses is hiding another hole… ahem… Sorry Hayley, I forgot to tell you that bit! I think I will practice on scraps and see if I can figure out what I did wrong and learn from it so I can use the technique successfully in the future.
Thankfully, I had pre-made ribbon roses in my stash already. I bought them when I made my sister’s wedding dress back in 2002-2003, she had white roses around the tops of the sleeves and smaller, coloured roses covering the hoops that the hooks on the detachable train linked to at the back of the dress.
Anyway, I digress so back to Emily’s dress, the elastic bit in the back of the dress didn’t work too well either. I don’t know why though because I cut the elastic at 8cm as per the instructions but for some reason, the back isn’t very gathered. Unless the elastic was crap and lost it’s elasticity really bloody quickly… hmm, dunno about that one.
I decided to buy Emily an outfit that could be worn on its own or with the pinafore dress. And when I gave the wrapped present to Hayley, I told her about the rip drama and that if she didn’t want Emily to wear it, that was fine but I hoped she’d keep it as a keep-sake as it’s the first children’s garment I’ve ever made.
I’ve gotta say, I am pleased with parts of it. I absolutely love the cute little pockets, seriously just look at them… awwww!!
I’d love to know if anyone else has used this pattern and what they thought of it – got any tips for me? Advice in making kids clothes in general would be great, y’know, in case I decide to revisit this genre of sewing…!