Tuesday, February 10, 2015

School Day Knit Jumper

When I saw this month's Project Run and Play inspiration pattern, I knew instantly what I would make.

I had this great knit fabric that I had been wanting to make a dress out of.  And last week, I tried a circle skirt for the first time and was really happy with the results (one of which was endless twirling from Little Sister).  So I had already been planning to make a dress with a circle skirt from the fabric, and Living With Punks' free Mademoiselle muscle tee pattern just happened to be in a size 4/5T--perfect for the bodice for my almost 5-year-old!

I'm not sure what you call this kind of knit fabric, where the design is woven in rather than printed on.  Intarsia?   But it's really soft and really cute, and it's pink and purple so I knew Little Sister would like it even without asking her.  And the underside is solid pink, so it peeks out of the circle skirt kind of like a lining when she is twirling.

With hands in her pockets!

The pink back side of the fabric also adds a little thickness, which gives it a nice sturdiness for a dress/jumper that I am hoping will work for multiple seasons. I had looked at it a few times without buying it while fabric shopping in Nippori, but when it was on sale for 580 yen per meter (about $5) rather than the 980 that it had been, I couldn't resist any longer.  I bought a similar knit for the boy in blue and white too--stay tuned for what I make out of that!

Making the dress from the free pattern was a pretty easy adaptation.  For the bodice, I used the pattern as-is (well, I slightly raised the neckline in the front because Little Sister likes her tops right up to her neck).  I cut the top about 6 inches shorter than the pattern.  To make the skirt, I used the circle skirt calculation method found at Made (thanks Dana!), but rather than using her waist measurement, I used the bottom of my bodice to determine my radius.

I like the way a striped print falls on a circle skirt.
Since my print was directional, I cut my circle in two pieces, front and back, so that the print wasn't upside down on one side.  And as long as I had side seams, of course I put in side-seam pockets!  What dress isn't made better with pockets, I ask you?

I think this was my only shot where the pockets were visible!

I sewed the bodice together just like in Living With Punks' directions, and I sewed the skirt together with the pockets (here's a great tutorial for that from Simple Simon & Co), then just sewed the two together, turning the skirt inside out and upside down, then slipping the finished right-side-out bodice inside it and lining up the raw edges.  I used a zig-zag stitch for stretch where I joined them, making sure not to let them pull or stretch as I sewed.  I just used a plain straight stitch for hemming the skirt, since with all that fabric it didn't need to stretch.  Last time I made a circle skirt, I avoided hemming by adding an underlayer, but this time I had to do it.  Luckily since it was a knit I was able to stretch around the curves enough for the hem to lay flat.

Little Sister's favorite thing about school--the library!

The back view--here she is returning her books from last week.

Since it's still really cold here in Tokyo, and it won't be sleeveless dress weather for several more months, I decided to make a long-sleeved tee to go underneath the jumper to turn it into a year-round outfit.  I went back and forth over making a plain tee so that it could go with lots of things, or use the print fabric as an accent.  In the end, I couldn't resist adding the long cuffs in the print as an accent to the solid pink--it makes the shirt more fun when worn on its own as well!  The cuffs can be folded up, like they are now, or left long for when she grows.

 I'm not super happy with the way the two necklines line up, but it's fine I guess.  I used the Mademoiselle muscle tee for the bodice on the long-sleeved tee as well, but I slimmed it down a bit to fit underneath the dress better, and I raised the neckline again here too.  Oh, also I used a slightly different method (I learned it from this tutorial from Kitschy Coo) to bind the neckline (and the armholes on the dress)--it's my own personal favorite for knits because I love how nicely finished this kind of binding looks on the inside, but it does result in a thicker binding.  I attached all of my bindings using a double needle, and I was SO CAREFUL.  It turned out nice!  It's amazing that when I take my time things really do turn out better.

So, these aren't the best quality photos, but it's hard to get a clear shot of a girl who just wants to twirl!  And the fact that she can't stand still in this dress tells me it's a winner.

With her bribery popsicle

So that's my submission for this month's Project Run and Play challenge, the Mademoiselle Muscle Tee!  I'll let you know when voting opens--until then!


  1. Very nice dress! Me on the other hand had no clue what to do this month, but fortunatly I got some inspiration yesterday.

  2. Good job, Beth! I love the choice of colors

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  4. Very cute dress! Comfy, practical, and stylish. She adorable twirling and twirling and peeking out in that last picture.

  5. Love it! Great fabric and great solution for the PRP challenge.

  6. Very creative. I like the dress!

  7. Good idea. The dress looks very professional and warm. I like how you I incorporated the collar is it the knit sewn right in? Tokyo wow! Pretty.

    1. I did the collar just as an appliqué --I love the look of peter pan collars but have had trouble with them flipping or wrinkling, so I did it this way, and I really like how it turned out!

  8. Nice work! I love the collar and the circle skirt. It's neat how you took this pattern and made it work for you.

  9. This is really adorable and how you used applique to create the collar, what a great idea :)

  10. cute dress! The fabric works really well for this dress pattern!

  11. Such a lovely dress! And that peter pan collar is the cherry on top!

  12. I love your projects in general and just nominated you for the Liebster award. If you want to know more check out my blog.


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