Slow Sewing for Annabelle

Some of you may fear that I have forsaken my sewing machine forever. Fear not!


Actually, I’ve had this made for a while but didn’t want to spoil the surprise for the recipient. But I promise that I have gotten my machine back out and it still works!

I finally found a project worthy of the Kokka fabrics I bought at Britex ages ago. I found out my friend was having a little girl!


This is Simplicity 4243 and I think it’s a really great pattern if you have adorable fabric you want to show off, because the design is pretty simple and let’s the fabric be the star. And who wouldn’t love these little lions and tigers and giraffes? It’s a simple little dress/top with a zipper in the back. Oh, and matching bloomers, of course!

Bonus: a scant half yard of fabric was enough to make the 6-month size dress (view D), even though it said I needed 5/8 yd.


I have to tell you that I was having so much fun making this that I just couldn’t stop myself making it a little extra special. The pleated neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding. I love this treatment because it makes such a lovely finished edge and reminds me of all the clothes my grandmother made for my sister and I when we were little. Lots of contrasting binding.


But I realized that the tiny little armholes weren’t going to fit over the free arm on my machine, and I doubted my ability to get a nice topstitched finish without being able to do that. So, I settled on hand sewing the binding for the armholes. And it all just snowballed from there!


If I were going to hand finish the armholes, it seemed odd to have visible topstitching for the neckline, so I hand finished that as well. And if there weren’t going to be any other topstitching showing, it seemed a shame to have visible stitching on the zipper so I hand finished it as well. It was my first time doing this and it really looks nice this way!


And, well, I was having so much fun that I couldn’t stop. I had used French seams for the shoulders and side seams, partly because this linen weave ravels REALLY easily, and I wanted it to look nice. So, I opted to use binding to finish the only other seam at the zipper as well. (Though I did put this on by machine.)


And when it came to the ric-rac and I noticed the instructions said that the “standard” way to apply it was to machine stitch it down but that the “nicer” way was to hand tack all the points. Do you think I could resist the “nicer” way? Not a chance!


And when it came time to hem, I was actually concerned about how bulky a double-fold hem would be with this heavier linen. And seeing as how I had plenty of bias tape still, I did a bias tape finish on the hem as well, attaching one end to the fold edge and then hand stitching the other end to the dress with an invisible stitch.


Totally worth it, even if she never wears it. I had SO much fun making this and doing all the little bits by hand. Just because you can do it by machine, doesn’t mean you should (see my previous posts on slow sewing)!!

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