Springtime “Sugar Horses”

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I love spring time! The tulips pop up, the trees are blooming, everything seems fresh and new. And like all the other things going through the spring growth spurt, so is my adorable little girl. Every dress she owns is too short! So, even though we’re moving in less than a month, I have a giant stack of fabric and patterns to plow through in order to keep her appropriate both here and at our new home in Florida.

She picked every bit of this dress. It’s the Sugar Horses pattern from Ellie Inspired sewn in a quilter’s cotton from Joann’s. The pattern has a full crossover on the front bodice. I like how high the crossover is – a little bit of attention but still modest and age appropriate. The bodice is fully lined which makes the neckline both beautiful and simple to accomplish.

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This is lengthened from the original pattern. Grace likes her dresses long, and I like them to last. I think this length is adorable on her.

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The skirt has a true placket. I love it! True plackets – rather than one of the many cheater plackets popular in the PDF world – help the skirt lay neatly and give a very tidy look. I’ve tried several before with no luck. This pattern has the clearest placket directions I’ve ever followed and I couldn’t be happier with the finished result. Note: EI uses illustrations instead of photographs. I’m personally quite comfortable with this. Just follow the directions slowly and steadily.

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Now onto a couple cons: Something is funny with the back arm hole. It seems to come pretty far over towards her shoulder blade and gapes more than I prefer. Now for a sleeveless summer dress it really isn’t a big deal. However, the pattern also includes a sleeved version. I can’t imagine that sleeve would set well into this arm hole. Not only that but the pattern directions for the sleeve were incomprehensible – I have*no* idea what they are telling you to do and I’ve been sewing for over 20 years. I almost feel like there is a step missing? Perhaps the sleeved version was a last minute add on. Whatever the problem is, I know I wouldn’t be making it.

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Will I make it again? Probably. This is one of my favorite classic-but-not-fussy styles for little girls. Grace thinks it’s awesome and I can bust it out quickly. And she’s in the little girl obsessed with horses phase so calling it Sugar Horses is just icing on the cake.

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Happy Springtime!

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Roller Skates Come in Pairs

So many good things come in pairs.

Pants.

Shoes

Twix bars.

Mittens.

Chopsticks.

And… ROLLER SKATES!

Back in the day, the Skate Corral was The. Place. to be. We’re talking the epitome of grade school coolness. For just a couple bucks you could spend hours skating in a circle inside a somewhat smelly cinderblock building that had essentially no ventilation with all your other cool seven year old buddies. And maybe popcorn if your mom sent an extra dollar.

Oh, the memories. The “classic” skating time where you could chat. The dice game that I still don’t understand, but someone won a soda. Partner skates (but NEVER with a boy. Boys had cooties). Hokey Pokey. Backwards skate. And that crazy skate that may or may not have had a name when they turned the lights off and the music loud, then ran the smoke machine and the disco ball.

In honor of all those nights (or afternoons… we were seven after all), I made Grace a pair of Roller Skate Dresses for spring. Just like that plain cinderblock building (which has since been bulldozed into a Lowe’s parking lot), this pattern may not look like much. Until you get started! I’m in love. It’s simple to sew with super clear directions – a given from Oliver + S. But once you get going there’s so much potential. Something as simple as fabric choice changes the look completely.

The “Classic” Skate

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This dress is straight from the pattern – view A, no changes except length. Any more, if I’m going to make a dress for Grace I’m going to make it really long. She’s growing like a weed!

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I love how regency-inspired this dress turned out. If anyone knows me, they know I’m more than a little fascinated by Jane Austen and the culture of that era. I’ve spent longer than I will confess to studying the fashion history of Regency Britain. I hadn’t started this project intending to make Grace a regency dress, but hey! The Roller Skate pattern skates that way, too!

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The outer is a white eyelet from my stash – I’m pretty sure it’s 100% cotton but I didn’t do any tests to confirm that. The baby blue lining is broadcloth, 65% poly 35% cotton. I’m crazy about the way the blue shows through the white. My plan is for this dress to be Grace’s church dress through spring and summer.

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Oh, and shorts out of leftover broadcloth. Because she’s a preschooler and thinks her tummy is cute and the whole world needs to see it.

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The “Crazy” Skate

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Same pattern, completely different dress. Introducing: view B with several key modifications. First, I added a hem band at the bottom. This serves two purposes – to lengthen it a little in a different way, and to keep me from having to hem. I don’t know why I hate hemming so much. It also makes the hem very strong for when she does things like this:

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The other big modification is that I only lined the bodice of the dress. This is a summer play dress. Our summers get pretty hot and extremely humid. I decided that one less layer would make Grace a happier girl. To achieve this, I cut the pattern off 1/2” below the lower casing line. I turned that ½” up with my iron then sewed the casing per pattern directions, which placed the lower line just at the edge of the lining.

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Grace picked the fabric, can you tell? It’s from Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie line. I’ve had it around for about a year but couldn’t decide what to sew with it. The dress is crazy bright, but so is my little girl. Never a dull moment around here!

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There will probably be more Roller Skate dresses in my future. I started out just wanting to get my use out of the pattern before Grace outgrows it but now I’m in love. It’s easy to sew and easy to wear. I’d love to make her a tunic version to wear over capris, but Grace is still in her hating pants phase. That’s ok – dresses are awesome anyway 🙂

Details

Pattern: Roller Skate Dress from Oliver + S. White – view A. Cats – view B

Fabric: White: Eyelet from unknown source. Blue broadcloth from Joann’s

Cats: Anne Kelle Urban Zoologie Cats in Spring colorway, from Fabric.com (not available). Pink quilter’s cotton from stash