The She-Sells-Seashells Baby Bubble Dress

This story starts with a present. Well, the wrapping for a present to be exact. My mother-in-law delights in wrapping presents not with paper but with fabric. For my birthday last month she gave me the book Patternmaking for Fashion Design wrapped in a cheerful orange (or emberglow!)-and-ivory striped polyester and tied up with a matching ribbon covered in seashells that she’d picked up from Fine Fabrics.  I knew almost immediately that I was going to combine the two into a dress for my niece.

A fashionable baby in emberglow stripes. (I love this sketch, by the way. A bow blouse, a cape, a striped skirt, and some sort of poof attached to the wrist. Fantastic.)

Enter the next major player in this story:  the Oliver + S Bubble Dress.

Since I already had elastic, thread, and buttons on hand, all I needed was the fabric for the lining.  On a quick trip to my local chain fabric store, I picked up a nice cotton in ivory.  Only the best will do next to my niece’s skin.

This story progressed over the past week in the wee hours of the night when I should have been sleeping.  I cut out view B in size 12-18 months.  Why so large, you ask, when my niece is only three-months old?  In short, she’s a good eater.  I imagine this dress will nearly fit her as is despite the fact that it’s made for a child four times her age.  Won’t it look cute over tights and a long sleeve T shirt this winter, the decorative seashells dreaming of warmer weather?  And, if her growing slows as she gets more active, then she should be able to wear this dress all the way through next summer.  At the seashore.  With her seashells.

I followed the pattern directions for everything but the small details.  The ribbon was stitched on to the front bodice piece just above the stitching line before any other sewing so that I could treat these pieces as one.  I under stitched the neckline by hand using a small pick stitch rather than by machine.  I like the control I have with hand sewing.  I can get all the way around the neck and through the tight turns, resulting in a finished product that is crisp and even.  I also under stitched the sleeves by hand and omitted the topstitching that is supposed to mark the cap sleeves.  Finally, I hand stitched portions of the lapped seam in the back for tidiness.

This story ends happily ever after.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the resulting dress.  I really like the bubble hem and the bit of ribbon at the empire waist:  the dress is perfect in all the ways little girls’ dresses should be.  I also like that the dress is fully lined, which makes the inside soft and delicate.  Perfect for next to a baby’s skin.  I hope my niece likes this little bubble dress.  Well, really, I hope my brother and sister-in-law like it since my niece has very little say in what she wears these days!

9 thoughts on “The She-Sells-Seashells Baby Bubble Dress

  1. Evelyne says:

    What a gorgeous dress. I’m sure she’ll look lovely wearing this dress, running on the sand picking up seashells. You’ve done such a wonderful job – love the bubble hem. I agree with the hand-stitching – there’s something special having part of your garment that is hand-sewn (why does the machine get all the fun). Also, what a great idea wrapping up your gift in fabric – and what a great gift. I have that book and it’s awesome!!

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