If you live almost anywhere in North America right now, it’s freakin cold.
Even here in Texas, we had a no-school snow day today!
Except that….it didn’t really snow…..and the clouds parted, and we saw blue skies for the first time in two weeks. Woohoo! But hey, I’ll take a sleep-in-lazy-morning-jammies-till-noon-coloring-and-baking-and-playing-and-now-it’s-lunch-time-and-now-my-kids-are-stir-crazy-can’t-wait-for-them-to-go-back-to-school-tomorrow kind of day. Ya know?
What do you do in the winter-time, with a dress pattern that’s more of a Spring/Summer type of thing?
Fleece the twirl out of that thing!
Then throw a pair of tights underneath and you’ve got a warm, happy camper.
Oh my gosh, I love how this turned out (with a few tweaks needed on the sleeves). It was one of those adventure projects that made me excited to cut and scheme and sew.
Whenever you guys email asking if a certain fabric will work on a certain pattern, my answer is always give it a try! So when I found this gorgeous mustard fleece at Joann Fabrics, I thought it would be a fun experiment to use it on the First Day Dress pattern, making it warm and cozy for the winter months.
Okay, let’s sew a dress with FLEECE!
Fleece fabric is fun and easy to use.
I posted a reversible + knit fabric version of the shirt this summer, using many of the same tips we’re going to use here…..because some people don’t realize that Fleece is a knit fabric and has a good deal of stretch. You can buy fleece at most fabric stores and there’s a wide range of types, colors, stretch, etc. This fleece is more light-weight (rather than the bulky kind you might use for a blanket) so it gives the dress a nice drape on the skirt area.
When using fleece you want to note the nap on each side of the fabric. The nap is the fuzzy pile texture on top of the fabric. And often it looks different on each side, as you can see in the photo above. Now—in my opinion—I don’t think there’s a technical Wrong or Right side to fleece….because sometimes I like using the “wrong” side for my project because it’s looks good to me. So just decide which side looks “right” to you, and remember to cut your pieces on that same Right side of the fabric each time.
When sewing with fleece, you want to use a stitch that will stretch with the fabric. A zigzag stitch is great….but it’s also fun to experiment with the different stitches that might come on your machine. So pull out your owner’s manual and see what it can do! My BabyLock machine has tons of stitches and recently I’ve been using this “overcasting stitch” because it gives tons of stretch to my seams.
For this version of the dress, I made a few tweaks to the original pattern:
• I used two layers of fleece on the bodice of the dress, to make it extra warm. But I only used a single layer of fabric on the skirt portion.
• Rather than cutting a slit in the back, I cut a circular “key hole” (I just eyeballed it and drew it on the fabric)
• I used knit ties in for the closure instead of a button (more info in this post)
• I cut the neckline down a little lower on the back (although I intended for this to be the front of the dress. Lucy and I had differing opinions on that)
• I created “puff” sleeves by adding a couple inches to the sleeve pattern piece and cut the shape of the pattern a little different on the side (as shown in the photo below). Then I gathered the fabric in the middle of the sleeve and bound the whole thing with bias tape.
With my sleeves sewn in place, I bound the bias tape around the raw edges with WONDER CLIPS and sewed them in place using a zigzag stitch (because I like how that stitch looks on the outside of the garment)
I sewed the edges of the seam down so they weren’t poking into the arm hole.
And I sewed the rest of the dress as outlined in the pattern, using that stretchy overcast stitch I showed you above. I didn’t even hem the dress….because fleece won’t fray at the edges! SCORE.
And……there you go!
A simple little dress for my just-turned-9-years-old Lucy girl.
Then comes the fun part….accessorizing the ensemble.
I thought a belt might be cute with the dress….and of course a sweater for the cooler months.
Kitty Cat tights?
Do these come in my size?
And the only thing I really need to tweak is the sleeve size. I made the puff part too large, so the armhole looks big on her skinny arms. But it’s a small thing. Haah.
And it just leaves extra room for running and playing and twirling,
…and getting into mischief.
She and I couldn’t decide which was the front of the dress and which was the back!
She thought the bow should go in the back.
Which does look cute.
But finally I convinced her to try it in the front as well.
And now we have two looks.
So go ahead and give your First Day Dress a twirl in fleece, corduroy, or something warm.
Have a great weekend friends!