Having a pile of gorgeous fabric stacked up on my desk has proved irresistible. It’s been very pretty to look at on my working from home days but it’s been even more fun to dive in and start sewing. And even though I’m not in the market to fully participate in May is for Makers, mostly because I have half a hundredweight of indie designer patterns already that I really need to put to good use, I love the concept and it seemed the perfect nudge to get me started on my summer sewing, and to start with a pattern I’ve never made before.
So Citronille’s Susanne it was.
It’s a very simple pattern, just six pieces, but the construction is really clever and it all comes together to make a lightweight billowy dress that’s perfect for the hot weather we had last week before I’d finished making it and probably won’t see again until September.
Most of the children’s clothes I’ve made have been from Oliver + S patterns which have rather spoiled me both in terms of holding my hand step by step and in producing clothes with a beautiful finish inside and out. Citronille’s Susanne isn’t hard to make by any stretch of the imagination, but it does expect you to know how to put a dress together, and how to do a hem without too much help, and the internal finishing is left up to you.
I like things to look as tidy on the inside as the outside, and I want things to be able to withstand daily life as a dress for a three year old so I’ve tried to be as tidy as I can. On the sides of the yoke I wrapped the seam allowance around on itself and sewed it together, and on the side seams and the sleeves I used French seams, though I still haven’t quite figured out how to do French seams that go around a corner or involve a corner in some way – I sewed the French seam and then clipped the curve as if it were an ordinary seam which isn’t perfect but works ok – if you’ve got any top tips then let me know! And finally for the waist seam I made some bias binding out of the leftover fabric using the continuous bias binding method and used that to tuck away the gathers. I’d does add a little bulk, especially using double fold bias binding, but in Tana Lawn that’s barely noticeable, and I suspect it makes it much more comfortable to wear.
The fabric is from my stash of bought on sale Liberty print, it’s Tana Lawn, which makes it all sorts of heavenly soft and floaty and the pattern is Elevenses, which Liberty itself only seems to have in the equally pretty red.
And as for the small wearer? Well I know Elma always seems incredibly dainty and petite next to her siblings but she is actually also above average height for her age, just not off the charts tall. This is the age 4, cut exactly to the pattern and it’s a perfect fit. I did add in the optional elastic in the shoulders just to help it stay up, though I don’t think I’ll need to when I get to Kitty’s. In length it reaches to just above Elma’s knee; it reminds me of some of her Spanish dresses both in the cut and the length and it’s perfect for running around in the sunshine without tripping over yourself, which is exactly what this dress is for.
I finished it on Wednesday night and hung it on the curtain rail in the lounge and from the moment Elma got down in the morning she was jumping up trying to reach it and desperate to try it on. I’m told she wore it all day to go for a walk on a new nature trail, to do some pond dipping and to have an ice cream- the height of praise indeed!
And if you would lend me a couple of minutes of your time (and you haven’t already voted), I am blown away over the moon happy to be a MADs Finalist for the Best Craft Blog category this year, and I would love your vote. Anyone, anywhere is eligible to vote, just click on the banner below and look for Space for the Butterflies in the drop down menu for Best Craft Blog – thank you x