Cloth of Kings, Part 1 - a favourite dress

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

I've recently emerged from a 'corduroy obsession, sewing nothing but the Cord Du Roi , or cloth of kings.

It might not be particularly fashionable but it's a great fabric for children's clothes, soft but durable with a rich texture. Over this winter I've made a few things which have proved to be real day-to-day clothes in missy's wardrobe.

This dress has been the favourite.

This is actually Cloth of Kings Dress, Mark 2. I made another one last winter, now outgrown - but that meant I could make some improvements second time round.

It began life as this very simple, but fairly ugly Simplicity pattern.
But this pattern has proved to be a useful basic, and gave me all I needed to create my own version.

I cut the pattern piece across the middle to create a waist and then made a fuller skirt to gather in. And instead of simply facing the bodice, as in the pattern, I lined it fully.

My  corduroy phase, has been accompanied by a ric-rac phase. I love the graphic lines it creates, adornment, but not too girly. And I love the effect of inserting it in the seams. The little tabs of pink around the shoulders look so pretty, but not too girly.

I've inserted ric-rac into seams a few times now, and have got better at it. I may even get round to posting a tutorial on here one day! It's quite easy.

The bird shapes and the heart on the front are a scrap of Liberty fabric and the same striped cotton as the lining. They are interfaced and hand-embroidered on with a chain-stitch. The button holes are also hand stitched - two buttons  on each shoulder for extra growth!

She has worn this loads! It's tough enough for playground trips, or worn with a blouse for special occasions. It's been a great winter dress, but also missy has worn it into our miserable, damp spring.

It's starting to look a little short  - time for Cloth of Kings Dress, Mark 3?


I've discovered it's not as easy as it looks to get missy to model creations.
This is what she actually wanted to wear when I asked her to pose!

It started with a 'fat quarter'...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

So it all began when I 'accidentally'  bought a 'fat quarter' of the most whimisical Kokka fabric on eBay. I've only recently discovered that a 'fat quarter' is basically a 50cm square.

Now what to do with such a tiny bit of fabric?

I had an idea of making a blouse or tunic, as I find that with English weather  Missy gets a lot more wear out of things she can team with trousers. And also a shorter length is easier to play in.

So with that in mind, I set about finding a pattern. And found inspiration, as if often the case from , StraightGrain's cute bubble dress pattern, bought on her etsy shop  here.

It was the first time I'd used a digital pattern (there were lots of first's with this project), and it was super easy - and I love the fact that you can re-print it every time you need to, or make a mistake.

I only used the bodice of the pattern, and made a few moderations. I cut a size 4, but was still concerned it might be small (I want everything I make to last and last) so added a button placket, which widened the bodice. This meant I also had to add to make the lining bigger. I fiddled for ages to see how much I could get out of my fat quarter - in the end only the bodice pieces and collar, but NOT the collar lining.

I'm obsessed with piping, and the button placket was also an excuse for more!  It does mean that the collar sits a little wider than in StraightGrain's bubble dress design. I kind of like that effect though.

This lovely sage green fabric from my local shop seemed perfect to combine with the Kokka.  I think it's furnishing fabric, but the weight makes it swing beautifully, and it was wide and good value.

I cut sleeves using a modified Burda blouse pattern, and made up the cuffs with a rectangle of fabric. They're not actually meant to be turned back as in the picture, indeed this bit of pink binding isn't meant to be on show (look closely and you'll notice it's a bit roughly done). But the sleeves were too long for Missy.  For now... Long sleeves, and cuffs I can turn back, should mean she'll be wearing this next year!
 Box pleats at the front and back (another first for me - which might be why they're a bit wonky - look carefully and you'll see they're not symetrical at the back.
But overall I love this - and she does. She's worn it loads with little trousers, and it's been pretty and perfect for our changeable spring.

Inspirations and thoughts

Friday, 17 May 2013

I am surprised myself at how fascinated I have become with children's clothing - and the quest for good clothes for my daughter.  I've got a secret longing for something nostalgic, functional yet practical, enduring and lovely fabrics.
Carl Larsson's beautifully dressed children - his paintings, colours, interiors, clothes ...everything.
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