It's not every day you get fabric that reminds you of your childhood, and it's *definitely* not every day that it's as pretty as this!
It took me a while to get used to the idea that (some of) the main print would be hers, but I lucked into some amazing inspiration. One of the Strike Off Sewists at Kammie Lou Lou posted a great semi-halter dress, and when I asked nicely, she was kind enough to reveal the pattern; it was the Solis by Sofilantjes. I loved the look of this whimsical sundress.
Also, I have to say that I was a little skeptical of the pattern instruction quality, since Sofilantjes' primary language isn't English and website can be hard to navigate. But my skepticism was unwarranted: their patterns are amazingly well explained and well documented, both in words and pictures. Want step by step? There's a section for that. Want a quick overview? There's a section for that too. There's even a pictoral guide to construction (with line drawings, not photos where the fabric changes from step to step), so if you don't speak a lick of English, French, OR Dutch (Finnish?), you're STILL not out of luck! The company must have put a lot of time into getting all those patterns ready for production, and clearly they had fluent speakers reviewing their English instructions. This is easily the nicest and highest-quality PDF pattern I've ever bought, and now when I need something, I'm going to check if Sofilantjes' has it first.
But anyways... Getting back to my particular set of considerations, the only thing that did make me uneasy was the recommendations based on my kiddo's measurements. She wears a 5 in storebought clothing, but her measurements put her in a 2T according to the pattern's (SI unit) recommendations. I'll be honest, I couldn't do it. I made her a 4T in width and a 6T in height, and in retrospect I'm glad I did.
I did steal one other idea from the inspiring design: a double skirt. Solids are way cheaper than custom knits, and I was already looking for ways to conserve my beautiful bear fabric. For the Solis I could get both halves of a 2T circle skirt from a single yard, and so this dress reflects a 2T overskirt on top of a 6T (pink) underskirt.
I also added my own unique touch, which was... pockets!!! I try to add pockets to every dress I make for my kiddo (it sets them apart in her closet), but a double skirt presented a unique challenge. Sew the two skirts together at the pockets, and you lose twirl factor. But leave them entirely separated, and the inner and outer skirt have a lump in between when the pocket is full...
...unless you leave an opening in the inner skirt for the pocket to fit through! This was my own solution to the problem, and we'll see how it works over time.
But in the meantime, A has been pretty darn pleased with this dress. She's worn it to several special occasions (by 5-year-old logic) and twirling in it is an absolute must. I was also very pleased with how the back turned out.
And, little A and I had a blast sitting on the swing after our photo session, learning about all the bears of my childhood and their personalities. It's fun to have someone little to relive your childhood with!