A Fancy Blake

Maya and I have many things in common. One of those things is our love of the colour purple. I try not to buy too much purple fabric because if I did, everything she wore would be purple. As much as I love purple, I don’t think everything she wears should be. But when I first saw the Blake by Mingo and Grace showing up on my sewing feeds on Facebook, I knew I had to make it.  It may be the cutest dress I’ve seen.  It reminds me of a miniature bridesmaid’s dress (and not in the 80’s bad way, in a good way).  In fact I realized after Maya had put it on that it looks very similar to the  bridesmaid’s dresses from my wedding.  No wonder I was drawn to it for my little girl.

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This dress can be made with pretty much any fabric you can think of.  There are many people making it from what is know of as “spacer” fabric and “scuba” knit.  They are a type of neoprene fabric that really poofs out.  I love the look of it, but I don’t think I’m going to venture into that fabric world just yet.

I was in Fabricland with my sister and sister in law one day when there was a big sale going on.  I don’t need any more fabric, but I wanted to check it out.  I would hate to miss out on some awesome fabric when it’s on sale.  I had the Blake on my mind so when I saw this purple taffeta I knew I had to buy some.  I think it was $4/meter on sale.  Crazy!

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This is a pretty stiff taffeta.  Perfect for making my little princess a poofy purple princess dress. (Say that 5 times fast).  I lined the dress in purple broadcloth so it’s soft against her skin.    Because the taffeta is so stiff, it really poofs out.

Love these pleats!

Love these pleats!

Oh yes, and there are pockets!  Again, pockets are perfect for filling with treasures….or boxes of raisins.  They are hidden in the pleats so you really can’t tell they are there at all.

Pockets!

Pockets!

This dress is meant to be a bit short (just above the knee).  The suggested hem is 3 inches wide.  I made this one about 1.5-2 inches and I think it worked out really well.  Maya tried it on before I hemmed it and I want her to be able to wear it for a while, so I made it a little bit longer than suggested.

Now for the back closure.  Oh boy.  This was my very first try at invisible zippers.  I watched all sorts of videos online and read all sorts of tutorials on how to install and invisible zipper and I must tell you, I couldn’t find any that really helped me completely.  I had to flip flop back and forth to try to wrap my brain around it.  Even after I had finished, I don’t think I could do another one without going through the whole rigamarole of watching videos and reading tutorials again.  The big problem for me was attaching it to the lining.  In the end I managed to get it and it doesn’t look half bad.  It does up all the way and it doesn’t get caught.  I call that an accomplishment.  It took me all day and you can tell the zipper is white at the bottom, but for my first go at it, not too shabby.

I didn’t get the bodice and skirt lined up perfectly on either side of the zipper, so one side looks a bit higher than the other, but unless you look really closely, it’s not *that* noticeable.  It’s something I will really focus on the next time I am sewing in a zipper, invisible or regular.

Imperfection.  I am still learning.

Imperfection. I am still learning.

You might be wondering why I made Maya such a “fancy” dress.  The truth is, she would wear fancy, pouffy, twirly dresses every day, so I don’t feel like we need an “occasion”.  But for this one, I did have one in mind.  My husband was taking Maya to a children’t concert at the National Art’s Centre and I thought it would be cute if the two of them got all dressed up to go.

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I made this dress for Maya in a 4.  It fits absolutely perfectly.  The tutorial was very well written.  I like that there weren’t too many steps.  It assumes that you have some sewing knowledge, which I like.  I made the dress in a day.  It’s definitely not a “nap time” sewing project for me, but it’s very straightforward.  The only thing that I had trouble with was the invisible zipper installation.  There is a link to a tutorial on sewing invisible zippers in the tutorial, but seeing as it was my first one, I still had trouble.  In the end, it looks great.  And Maya LOVES it…like really, really loves it.  And that makes me super happy.

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