Here’s my review of making up Butterick B3405 baby dress and bloomers. Or what I can remember of the process, at any rate!
Okay, time for a very belated blogging of a dress I sewed up for Lauren in the very early days after she came into the world. It was born of a desire to get back into sewing by making what should have been a quick and simple project, and one that was suitable for the insanely hot summer we were having in 2018.
Looking at the notes in my sewing journal from back then it’s clear I planned this well and went searching for a pattern that fit my vision of a vintage-style dress with ruffle cap sleeves and perhaps a skirt ruffle, with bloomers/knickers to match. Butterick B3405 was a really close match to what I had in mind, particularly if I combined the armhole ruffles of view A with the hem ruffle from B.
There was a hat that came included in the pattern along with an elasticated headband, but I fancied making Lauren something different. I went with the free Reversible Bucket Hat I’d made before for Gabriel as she had a really big head (98th centile at birth. Ouch!) so I knew she would fit in the size range. Also, it’s not so girly-cutesy, which I thought would be overload what with all the ruffle action and ditsy florals on the dress. Here’s a pic of her in the hat:
It was fun to make, as before, and I reckon it looks good with the dress. These pictures were taken the day after I finished everything and we took a day trip down to Lyme Regis for some beach action. Unfortunately, I seemed to curse the weather gods with this make, as the very next day the heat broke and things got decidedly cooler for the rest of the summer.
That didn’t stop me putting Lauren in her new clothes, though. She just had to wear them over something. Here she is in October, looking super-cute and the dress still fits her. Wow!
From what I remember and from looking back at my notes from the time, this was a pretty easy sew, especially in a fabric as well-behaved as a cotton lawn. I had fun with the details like the box pleats at the centre front, and the bias binding. I made this myself using one of my fabulous little bias-tape makers. Here you can see a close up of the binding on the shorts:
You actually make a channel out of bias tape for the elastic on each bloomer leg, thread the elastic through, then sew the side seams. This gives the ruffle on each leg. I’ve never sewn in elastic this way and it gives a lovely finish. It’s great for little ones too as the elastic is properly covered and much more comfortable against the skin than if it were exposed.
My only reservation about this pattern for a young baby (ie, one that doesn’t sit up yet!) is the poppers at the back. They seemed like they could be uncomfortable for Lauren to lie on, and left little marks on her back. If I were to make this again for a similar aged baby (and who knows, I might as a gift) I think I would change it. I’d have it open at the top only and close with a few buttons and rouleaux loops.
Finally, a word about the fabric. This was actually one of the very first dressmaking fabrics I ever bought, probably around ten years ago as I’m pretty sure that’s when I started dressmaking. I had no idea what I was doing at the time and bought this to make a flowey summer tunic top for myself (New Look 6485, now out of print). It was an unmitigated disaster as not only did the style not really suit me, but neither did the ditsy floral pattern. I also knew nothing about the ease included in Big Four patterns. It came out like a tent.
Also, I now realise that lawn is a much too structured fabric for a top like this, which really needs to be sewn in something drapey like a viscose challis. Luckily this fabric, which I had overbought to the tune of about 1 metre, was pretty perfect for this little dress. I think the ditsy floral look is cute on a young baby, and Lauren was just 3 months old here:
I’m not quite sure what I’ll use my remaining half metre or so of this fabric for, as I don’t think it would look so good on Lauren now. It is pretty much perfect for a lining fabric, though, as it’s smooth and of a really high quality. Clearly past-Anna knew how to spot a great fabric, even if she didn’t know what pattern to pair it with!
Anyway, here’s one more gratuitous baby-on-beach pic before I give you the rundown of the pattern:
Butterick B3405: the deets
Fabric: Mystery cotton lawn I bought many years ago (perhaps 10?) at the Sewing Studio in Bath. Also some mystery pale quilting cotton from stash for hat lining.
- Pattern: £7.75
- Fabric: £0 (I paid for it ages ago, but can’t remember how much and really this was leftovers from another project)
- Notions: £0 (some elastic, interfacing and snaps from stash)
- Total: £7.75
Other inspirational versions: there are some really cute versions over on PatternReview.com. I particularly like the one by lalalauren11 as the fabric is gorgeous.
Anyone else cursed the weather with a summer make, or is it just me?!
My next blog post is going to be my MakeNine for 2020, along with a few musings on style and the Kibbe system. Make sure you tune in then!