In years to come there will be a milestone in the relationship with my two lovely girls when first Kitty and then Elma get to an age or a height where they can borrow my clothes. I don’t own many clothes so I’m afraid I will be a severe disappointment to them on that front, but if their tastes continue to run to “some assembly required” clothes, then I think they might rather enjoy pillaging my stash.
I’m writing as if this is something that will happen in the future, but truth be told, we’ve already hit that point; only I’m the one doing the making.
Years ago I bought a lovely metre of Liberty Tana lawn in the Liberty sale with the firm intention that it would be a floaty sleeveless top for me. Well the baby sundress I made for Elma from the same haul has been long grown out of and now hangs on the bedroom wall as a piece of art, but the furthest I’d got was printing out the pattern and trying to decide how many extra inches of length I could squeeze out of what I had. Realistically, if I hadn’t made it in all that time, it seemed unlikely to happen in the time it would take me to acquire another metre of fabric, and I’m sure in my heart of hearts I’d begun to let go of the idea – and then Kitty saw it.
It was love at first sight; a very determined love. She wanted it for her, she wanted it for her birthday, and she wanted “a top with the sleeves”. Very specific, but I knew what she meant.
Her Hello Kitty dress has been one of her standout favourites of the summer, especially when we went travelling and the thermometer soared. She loves that it’s comfy and cool, and the big sleeves are pretty and fluttery when you twirl in them, and so another Susanne it was always going to be, but this time the top rather than the dress.
Well sort of the top. I trace out the patterns onto greaseproof paper so that I can use them in different sizes for Elma and as I traced, and watched my pencil outline a nice boxy little square shape, I thought about my incredibly tall eldest daughter and kept on drawing the main section of the tunic until it wasn’t just several inches past the length for her size 8, but all the way down many many inches to the age 2 dress length.
The gamble paid off; the finished tunic reaches just below her hips; not too long to be silly, and not too short to have a life expectancy of all of five minutes.
Kitty put it straight on as her birthday outfit, which is how I acquired so many photos of the top in action, and even wore it to school this week for picture day, a mark of approval if ever there was one.
Construction wise it is literally just a shorter version of the dress, so I didn’t change much from the previous versions I’ve made, although I did include the elastic casing on the shoulders on this one as I think it makes all the difference in helping it to hang nicely. the yoke seam is encasing in straight binding to keep it soft against the skin, I used french seams on the side seams, and folded back and stitched down the sleeve seams. I’m still not wholly convinced that I’ve found the perfect finish as I keep finding there’s a bit of a pull at the underarm which needs a bit of wriggling to sort out – one of these days I shall make a mock up and play with it until I get it exactly how I want it. I suspect it will be well worth my while as the girls both love this pattern, and there are certain to be ever lengthening versions in my future.