Oh my heart! My third and last baby doesn’t always get a lot of sewing love, so I was delighted to get picked to test the new Elegance & Elephants Mira Dress last week in my 13 month old daughter’s size. Of course my 5 year old is eager to match her baby sister, so I’ll make a second one for her next week.
The Mira Dress has some beautiful details for ensuring a really nice internal finish. Whenever I have done an invisible zip with a lining, I’ve either just sewn the outer and lining fabrics together and treated as one single piece for inserting the zipper, or I have attached the zipper to the outside layer and hand tacked the lining to it. This dress uses the burrito method to machine sew the lining and outer together in such a way that the zipper tape is completely hidden from both inside and out! There are instructions for clean finishing the bodice to the skirt (requires some hand sewing which I didn’t have time to do) and while not in the instructions, I also use french seams for the skirt panel.
Another thing I love about this dress, and the thing that drew me to it in the first place, is the beautiful ruched front panel. The design comes with three different options for the front – but this one is my favorite! That being said, another tester pieced multiple fabrics together to make a unique center panel on hers and it looks *amazing*! (See all the Mira tester photos here).
One thing I learned with this pattern is how critical it is to go by your child’s measurements! Even though my daughter is big for her age and quite chunky, she was still measuring in the 6 month sizing for her chest. “No way!” I thought, so proceeded to go with the 18 month size. Well, this was an epic fail and resulted in being way too big. Whipped up a 6 month bodice after that and it was *perfect*. So, moral of the story – if you’re dubious about what size to make, make a quick muslin first using just the lining fabrics and that will give you a good idea as to whether the bodice will fit perfectly or if you need to make a couple of changes. The dress is available in size 6M up to 10 years.
While not critical, it is helpful to have an invisible zipper foot to make this dress. The instructions include a tutorial for inserting the zipper – we even had testers in our group who had never put one in before and were successful! The whole process, from taping the pattern together, cutting out the fabric and sewing it up, probably took about 3-4 hours (it’s hard to say since I have many interruptions in the form of a 5 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old, haha!).
The fabric that I used was Art Gallery and Free Spirit quilting cottons. I scored whole bolts of these (and others!) when a local quilting store by me was closing down and clearing them out for mega cheap!
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