I would estimate that over the last six or so years I have made at least 40 small girl frocks. Some thrown together, and some laboured over with intense amounts of love, patience and ultimately joy. So today I wanted to talk about the one that has truly become my absolute favourite and why it is I keep making it over and over again.
To set the scene I'll tell you what I need from a girls dress. I want something
- That is comfortable.
- They will get a few years out of - in other words that i can make two sizes too big without it looking odd.
- That covers their shoulders - due to the super harsh Australian sun.
- That is flowy and cool.
- That is not precious or fussy.
- That layers well.
- That goes together quickly but is finished beautifully.
- That can handle the rough and tumble of being worn by a small person*.
And out of all the patterns I have tried over the years there is really only one that fits the bill. Drum roll please….
The Geranium Dress
So first the details. It is made by the super clever Made By Rae as a downloadable pattern with two versions - Version 1 has sizes from newborn to size 5 and then Version 2 has sizes from 6-12. This pattern is so worth the few dollars. Like all of Rae's patterns there are a heap of different variations written into the pattern. Have a look here at the flickr group to get a good idea of just what can be made.
I make a single variation but it also comes with a different neckline, with ruffles at the shoulders or with a more traditional tank shaping. Being lazy in many ways, I tend to just pick a version and stick with it so I don't have to redraft it. That said, when a version is this pretty why bother with others?
So what is to love about it. As well as being all that I mentioned above, I think my real love comes from the ease with which it comes together (even if you are a beginner!) AND the beautiful finish of the dress. If you were to french seam the side seams of the skirt then there are no exposed seams. There is absolutely nothing fiddly about this frock.
The next thing I love is the fit. It is really comfortable. There is nothing constraining about it. It doesn't pull. It covers the shoulders but doesn't restrict their movement. And then whether you are teeny baby or 8yo then this frock works so beautifully. It isn't fussy. It is sweet, but made with a slightly sturdy fabric is perfectly suitable for climbing trees - tucked into your undies of course!
My middle one came up today - the first hot day we have had in weeks - and said "mama I need my flowy dress to get the air through (pointing at the armholes). It's my favourite mum!" Almost made my heart hurt with the sincerity.
Not much else to say. Try it if you were looking for a small girl frock. You won't regret it.
Oh - before I go. I just found another pattern I love the look of and really want to try. It doesn't seem quite as comfy as the Geranium as it is a bit more fitted. Nor does it have the shoulder coverage. But it is so so very sweet to look at. You can find it here.
* which I've also realised is a reason that I don't use solids as much as I would like….see the first photo as an example.