Little Girl’s First Easter Dress & Pattern Review of Simplicity New Look 6792

Having a baby means that you have an excuse to sew lots of adorable things. The downside is that having a baby sometimes keeps you from sewing. Nevertheless, I managed to sew a dress for my daughter’s first Easter. I want to sew her a dress every year so that she’ll have a collection of pretty dresses and memories…at least until the dreaded day when she says, “Mom, this year I want to buy my Easter dress in a store.”

Anyway, I used Simplicity New Look 6792 and some adorably funky fabric (Fun Flowers by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods) from Fat Quarter Shop (one of my favorite online fabric stores). I chose View A because the cap sleeves were just irresistible and it was a good opportunity to practice working with elastic. I decided to omit the fabric flowers because flowers on flowers are just ridiculous and I thought that ribbon bows would be much cuter at the tops of the pleats. I also omitted the rickrack because, well, this isn’t the 1970s. I ended up omitting the eyelet because I didn’t want to bother with it and eyelet didn’t look right to me with the bright, funky print I’d picked out.

It didn’t take long for me to discover the primary problem with this pattern: though the envelope says “easy,” it’s NOT easy. It’s intermediate. “Easy” would be an A-line skirt, a basic set of curtains, or a throw pillow. Anything that requires sewing together convex and concave curves and applying bias tape is definitely intermediate in my opinion. Seriously, what was this pattern designer thinking?

Another error is that it has you cut two small pieces of fabric as interfacing for the front but you only need to use one. It’s not a huge problem, but I went over the pattern in a swear-fueled panic a couple of times because I had this stray piece floating around and I thought I’d skipped the step where it was supposed to be used. “We have made every effort to provide you with a high-quality pattern,” says the instruction sheet. You can practically hear a sniff of disdain at the end of the sentence. “So what if there’s a superfluous piece? This is an easy pattern and you should know that it’s unnecessary.” Whatever, Simplicity. You goofed.

I wish I’d taken more photos of the sewing process. I tend to think that people only want to see the end result and not the construction, but I think the photos might be interesting anyway. I’ll have to remember to take more pictures during future projects.

For the most part, everything came together pretty well, which still doesn’t make the pattern easy, only mostly well-designed. The sleeves were probably the most challenging part, but it wasn’t too difficult for me. Applying the bias tape was very weird to me, but that was because I had very little experience with applying bias tape in this manner. I stitched it on while muttering, “$#@%, I hope I’m doing this right…”

In the end, all the bias tape went on well for the most part.

Then came the part where I had to add the zipper at the back. I got it out of the package, lined it up with the fabric, and then realized something. What kind of fool would put a scratchy nylon zipper in a dress that’s going on a very wiggly 10-month-old who likes to twist and turn while being dressed? A mental picture of catching a little roll of baby skin in the zipper was enough to convince me to do something else: snaps.

I’ve never put snaps into anything before. Grommets, yes; I’ve put a couple dozen or so in an Edwardian corset and two in an ironing board cover. “Snaps aren’t too different,” I told myself. “Besides, I’d get to smack something with a mallet.”  Always a bonus. Snaps were sounding really good, but I had to figure out how to alter the dress to have snaps.

I got one of my daughter’s other dresses, a simple knit number from Carter’s, and examined the snaps. I could tell that the manufacturer (someone in a factory in China who has WAY better sewing skills than me, apparently) had just sewn a couple of rectangles of fabric to the back edges and put the snaps right on them. It looked so easy and I knew I could copy it. I measured the back sections of the dress, estimated the location of the snaps, and cut out some rectangles in the dress fabric. I folded them under and sewed them into place on the back edges. Again, I really wish I’d taken pictures of the process because it would have made a very nice tutorial.

If I had realized earlier in the project that the zipper was a bad idea, I could have planned ahead and sewn the bias tape over the top of the snap section rectangles. It doesn’t really matter though because it looks fine from the outside.

Putting in the snaps themselves made me nervous, just like when I had to put grommets in. There’s a feeling of dread because you know that if you screw up the placement, it’s nearly impossible to get the snap or grommet out and it will ruin your fabric. Fortunately, all the snaps went in just fine.

Here’s the finished dress.

My work is far from perfect and it has plenty of small flaws, but I can tell that I’m improving and I’m proud of it. This dress was a refreshing challenge in spite of the pattern’s problems and I learned a couple of new things and got some more practice with some less-familiar techniques.

I do have some positive things to say about this pattern. Everything comes together pretty well and the design is adorable.  It’s also true to size and fit. My daughter was about 15-16 lbs. around Easter so I chose size “small.” It fit nicely with room to grow, and she wasn’t uncomfortable in it.

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