A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Black and White

The girls had their end-of-year concert for Russian school at the beginning of June.  The dress code was "black and white."  Neither of them had anything that would work except for a single long-sleeved white cotton blouse between them, so I headed to the stash.

For Zoia, once my eye happened upon this gray and white gingham linen/cotton, I knew what to do. It wasn't quite black and white, but I knew from last year that she wouldn't stick out - there were plenty of kids who didn't adhere strictly to the dress code and no one seemed to be too concerned about it. (I previously used this fabric on G's Easter vest.)


It was clear to me from the outset that this particular fabric needed to be sewed up into this particular dress.  The pattern is #30 from Japanese book 9784579111848, which is actually in Japanese so I don't know what the real title is.  I've made the pattern a few times before.  Z actually still wears the brown linen dress I made her three years ago.  It is a long top on her now and will still fit next year.  That was a size 100 but without seam allowances (since I forgot to add them). 

This time, I used the same size, but remembered to add the allowances this time.  I lengthened the bodice pieces about 3/4", though I wish I had added another inch.  I also lengthened the skirt part about 10" (I wish I had also widened it just a smidge), and fully lined the bodice with white cotton shirting since the linen is a bit scratchy.  My regular machine was in the shop when I sewed this, and as my back-up doesn't have an automatic buttonhole function, I also had to convert the back bodice from buttons-and-buttonholes to button-and-loop closure.

Even with all those changes, I was able to sew this up in a couple of hours.  I cut the flutter sleeves on the bias and decided not to finish them.  You can see the very slight fray at the edges in the above photo - this was after the dress had been worn and washed several times, so I'm glad I didn't finish them.  I like the slightly raw look and think it compliments the style and fabric.

The bodice is very short, and while I was constructing the dress, the large expanse of the skirt was positively calling out for something to break it up.  I briefly considered pockets, but then I stumbled on some cream-colored lace in the stash.  On an impulse, I quickly cut out a heart-shaped applique.  I wasn't sure how my fusible web would work to applique lace, but it worked just fine and doesn't obviously show through.  I stitched around the edges of the applique with a zig zag.  I LOVE this detail.

I just adore this dress.  I'm so happy that Z is willing to wear gray and white checked linen.  There were definitely a few years where I wasn't sure my girls would ever wear anything that wasn't the color of cotton candy.  Thank goodness that phase is over.

For Natasha I found a cut of black-and-white floral crepe voile from the stash.  She requested a skirt, so I decided that the voile would become an Oliver+S Onstage Tutu Skirt.  I've made this pattern four times before, though I've never blogged any of them. 

It is an easy sew.  The lining becomes the waistband so you need to choose a fabric without a wrong side for that piece.  I used a very lightweight white cotton shirting.  I finished the voile with a rolled hem in black thread. 


Gathered skirts like this one look so cute on Natasha.  She wore it to the graduation with the lone white RTW blouse (which is actually a bit too small for her and has since been retired).  The photos we took that day didn't turn out very well, so these reflect how she has chosen to style the skirt since. On her own, she has decided that she likes her blouses tucked into full skirts.  I love that she has developed her own style preferences (I guess it's easy for me to be happy about that since they are tasteful, for now!), and I will happily sew her a bunch more gathered skirts so that she can continue indulging them.

The skirt is really versatile, too. It works dressed up for church, and with a t-shirt for a lazy backyard picnic. Both pieces are still getting worn regularly and should fit for another year or more.  I love occasion sewing that ends up in workhorse wardrobe pieces!


  1. Both girls look lovely in their sophisticated sewing. Extra points for Mummy for sewing from her stash.

    1. Thank you Nicole! I was pleased to use stash!

  2. very stylish, I love the heart applique it really makes the dress and that skirt works well too, well done you.


Hi! I am so happy you came by. Thanks for your comment!