26 May 2011

The Chiquita Dress Tutorial

Isn't it funny how a characteristic in someone can drive you crazy one moment, but be the very thing you love about them the next?  Olive is rather mischievous.  Like, the other day she brought up how "when she was little" she used to hide her vitamins because she didn't like them.  She laughed to herself and I responded that I just found one in the corner of the bottom of the pantry in shades of green that even I was repulsed by!  She laughed even harder, like her big joke had finally played out and the punchline was even funnier than she had schemed.  How this one loves life, and it's hard not to get sucked into the point of view of her world.  The more I'm her mother, the more I try to allow myself to be a visitor there. 

Clover was wearing this yellow dress the other day and a reader wondered if I had done a tutorial on it without her knowing.  Of course not!  [although if anyone wants to volunteer to organize this blog of mine into nice neat, easily navigated categories and buttons, please let me know.]  But I thought it was a great idea: an easy to put on, easy to care for kind of frock for the summer of little girls who spend more time flitting about than on closures and such.  Divine is more of a button up and keep it ironed kind of girl.  Pearl is more of a if-I-can-wear-it-while-I-ride-my-bike-fine kind of girl.  The remainder three are my girlie girls.  Clover not only likes to wear tutus, but she likes to stack them like a summer ice cream cone.  
For your chiquitas:
I used two coordinating knits.  The top piece is kind of like a lightweight sweater knit.  I'm not sure really what to call it, any ideas?  I'm kind of like that guy on project runway, season 8, who doesn't know what the fabric is called, but just knows how to use it ;).  You could really use a regular knit on the top and the bottom.  Including seam allowances, follow the upper portion of a t-shirt that fits well on your child, as pictured.
Cut a rectangle out of the contrasting knit for the placket.  Fold the two side in 1/2" and press.  For the loops I just used small elastic, but ribbon would work fine as well.  Instead of trying to pin such small pieces, use a bit of Wonder Tape to hold it in place.
Pin the placket to the front and stitch down both sides.  I also added a bit of visual interest by covering my stitching line with cording.  My loops looked all skiwampus after I did that, but lacing it up, you can't even tell ;).  Next sew your shoulder seams with a slight zig zag.  At this point make sure it fits over your child's head.  Yes, I've overlooked this step at times and have regretted it.
For the skirt I just took small tucks every inch in the green knit.  You don't want a big twirly dress in this instance, so gather or tuck with a light hand.  Sew to bodice, right sides together. Repeat with back piece.  For the neckline cut a two inch band of the contrasting knit.  Fit around neckline and then sew the back ends together before sewing with a slight zig zag around the neck.  Fold under like double-fold bias to conceal raw edge.  I used a double needle to give the effect of a serger and to maintain the stretchiness, since the bobbin thread is doing a zig zag action on the back.
The sleeves are just two strips of fabric folded lengthwise.  Keep them small.  They will go past the bodice and into the skirt.  Fold each piece and attached to the bodice, raw edges matching up with the dress.  Next sew the little sleeve seam and the skirt edge.  Hem the bottom, lace it up with a bit of ribbon...
 and your little Chiquita is ready for her [non-alcoholic, in case you thought I was a *bad mother] Sangria Senorial!
When I took these photos and opened up the bottle of sparkling beverage, Olive's eyes got really big.  
She put the bottle to her nose before her lips had a chance and savored the scent for a few moments,
Then, with even bigger eyes, she put it to her lips.  Maybe I ought to teach her to drink from a glass bottle with a little less...awkwardness and straining.
See that look on her face?  That's the joy she freely shows so frequently.
She might have mentioned that I'm the best mom in the world.[*] 
She does that frequently, too.
It will be our little secret, though ;)


25 comments:

  1. Ohhh how fantastic. I love this dress! The small details on the bodice just make this piece! I can't wait to try my hand at some like this for the Munchkins. Thank you for the early morning smile/Tute!

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  2. Love it! Love it! Sew much talent.

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  3. how incredibly cute and adorable!!! i love the knits you used, so different and unique! i would have never thought to use them! came out adorable :)

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  4. Look great--I am ready for a Mexican fiesta with an Olive on top!

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  5. I love this dress and my daughter will too!!

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  6. hola, soy mercedes de cadiz, españa. queria comentarte,que has hecho un trabajo impecable, como siempre. precioso. saludos!!!!!

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  7. Caralyn--you're very welcome ;)

    El Olor de Cádiz-- Muchas Gracias!

    Jordan--I know, this distance thing just isn't good.

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  8. Just found a link to your dress tutorial on Pinterest. I love it! Looks so simple and fun. I need to use more knits. And you can really tell how much your daughter loves life. Awesome photos capturing her beautiful personality.

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  9. Soooo pretty!

    I should try this.. With lace!!

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  10. Yoland--a sturdy, thick lace would be wonderful! send me a photo when you do it!

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  11. I love this dress - and the photos!! Priceless!

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  12. Too funny about the vitamins!!! When we moved from Alaska the movers picked up the couch to put into the truck and I found a pile of vitamins where the couch used to be! I asked my little brother what that was and he said "I didn't like them, they tasted gross!" I couldn't help but laugh! Kiddos are so funny!

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  13. Love this dress and the pictures and the idea of lace!

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  14. I wish I spoke the language of this fabric, because I'm lost as well, but the almost lacework like -ness of it is absolutely fantastic, I love it.

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  15. I love it!! and I think I will made it to myself :)
    Pozdrowienia z Polski!

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  16. I love the dress!! My big question is how you took such great pictures of her on the hammock??

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  17. Oh! Thank you, thank you! I'm thrilled to pieces that you did this. You are awesome!

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  18. I have a soft spot for beautiful Olive - and I don't even know her! xox

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  19. I LOVE this dress!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-chiquita-dress-for-girls/2011/05/26/

    --Anne

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  20. I LOVE this dress!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-chiquita-dress-for-girls/2011/05/26/

    --Anne

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  21. Senorita Olive drinking Senorial in that dress is so cute!

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  22. It's a magnifical dress!

    I give you a stylish blogger award, come to my blog for details ;-)

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  23. what a beautifull dress! thanks for the tutorial!

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  24. That is so creative and such an awesome idea! Super cute.
    integrated receivables management

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