Peacock Picnic Dress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Since I first laid eyes on this peacock and butterfly fabric, I've imagined photographing this dress at the park where Mr. Great and I got married, where peacocks roam freely.  The kids love going there, and it's a fabulous spot for photos (and for a picnic!).  But it's simply too hot right now.  Maybe we'll head there for a picnic in October, when being outside is a bit more enjoyable.

This is the Picnic Summer Dress by Monkeysbug Patterns, in size 6.

The front is cute, and the contrasting hem band is fun (and really easy to do!), but what really makes this dress special is the back.  That back had me itching to sew this dress from the moment I discovered it on Etsy.

Although this would most certainly be even more fabulous with handmade bias binding, I used the store-bought stuff.  It worked fine, and it made the project super quick.  The back is surprisingly easy to sew.  The instructions are great.  Isn't this back fantastic?

The dress is wonderful for these hot summer days.  Forget the dog days of summer.  These are the peacock days!

Construction Notes:  The pattern itself is very simple, two pieces I think (front bodice and back bodice).  The instructions are well-written, with plenty of detail and helpful photos.  I couldn't find the seam allowance for the side seams, so I emailed the pattern maker, who responded within minutes (a fellow late-night sewster, I suspect!).  So for anyone out there who needs it -- 0.5 inch seam allowance!

Although this dress fits wonderfully when on, getting it over the shoulders is a tight squeeze.  Next time I'll consider sizing up, or modifying somehow to make putting on and taking off easier.  I'm so glad the pattern goes up a few more sizes, so I can use it again next summer!

Based on some photos I found of this dress, I added a little length to the bias binding.  Maybe 1.5 inches on each end?  It worked out perfectly.

I left off the pockets.  Although I love the look of them and Big Sister loves having a place to put her treasures, it would have been a bit busy on this dress.  Next time I'll use a less intense print so I can add pockets.

The instructions call for assembling the front and back entirely, then sewing side seams.  I think next time I might prefer to sew bodice side seams first, then attach bias binding, to avoid these bulky side seams (of course, that will require some careful bias binding sewing).  Then I'd sew skirt side seams before gathering and attach the skirt as one piece.  And I'd do the same for the hem.  Although it probably doesn't matter a bit, I think it would look a little cleaner not to have side seams in the hem band.

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