Sunday, April 10, 2011

McCall's 6243 - The Patricia dress

Two weeks ago when my friend Pat was over for her sewing lesson, I happened to mention that my newest project contained several exposed zippers. She expressly let it be known that she was not a fan of the trend; that in her opinion zippers ought to be kept on the insides of garments and not used as decoration. So, as this dress has not one but three exposed zippers, and also because I enjoy being ornery from time to time, I have named this dress after her. Ha!
It's pretty loud. Feel free to get your sunnies!

This pattern is designed for a knit. But for some reason I got it in my mind to use this stretch cotton sateen in lieu of that. You'd think I would be smarter about it, seeing as how I have had more then my fair share of wadders lately. It certainly did present a number of fitting problems, but in the end I'm happy with it.

This fabric was purchased from Ebay and the zippers I ordered from zipperstop.com. They have a HUGE selection and you are sure to find just exactly what you want. (It makes me feel so special to order things from NYC.) I also ordered the perfect zipper to match this dress, but will have to find some other project to use it for.

On of the main problems that came up was the bagginess of the fabric under the bust. I remedied that by adding in vertical darts and pinning them in with the help of my dressform. That thing is so handy! When I restitched the panel under the darts, I had to cut off some of the sides to even them up. The front is actually a really good fit.

Aren't those bright pink zippers fun? I moved the front zippers 2 inches in from the side and shoulder seams. I also widened the neckline slightly because it was choking me a little.

The back is a little tight. I have purposefully put on a few pounds in the last few weeks. My daughter is very skinny and every time I bring her to the doctor for a well baby check-up, the doctor can't seem to talk about anything but her weight. She now has to be seen by a dietitian once a month and it has been recommended to me that I pump and add formula to breastmilk and feed it to her in a bottle. This is a pain and will take me a lot longer to feed her. The dietitian also said I could give up the breastfeeding and just do formula - she seems to think my milk doesn't contain enough calories. I don't want to do that either. I have issues with some of the ingredients in formula, not to mention it is very expensive. SO, all that to say I have been trying to eat more calories and more fat in order to boost the fat in my breastmilk. We shall see. I am having it tested at a lactation center on Tuesday. It would be awesome if I could solve the problem through my diet, but there is also the possibility that she has some sort of hormone imbalance. Tomorrow we go to the pediatric endocrinologist to see about that. Big sigh. I really don't love doctors.

Too much information for you?

Here it is on Her Highness and the fit is great. Notice that I had to add darts to the back as well.

Besides the fit issues, the inside finishing was a lot of work. ALL the seams except for the shoulders were finished with bias tape. The zippers were sewn in by hand and then the fabric around them was zigzagged to the zippers with hot pink thread. I finished the neckline and armholes with even more bias tape.


Whew! I'm ready for a new project. Up next is Vogue 1174, which will be my Easter dress. I found the perfect little matching sweater, so it has been approved to be worn to church. I'll be making and posting a muslin in the next few days. I'm very excited to sew my first strapless dress!

58 comments:

  1. The dress looks great on you! Hope your issues with Rachael will be resolved soon. It may well be that she is just going to be petite and precious and never have to diet!

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  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous dress!! Do you mind me asking which online seller on ebay you got your fabric from?

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  3. Beautiful dress on the outside and inside!

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  4. I don't know your dietitian, but it sounds like her advice is a little weird. My guess is that your daughter may not be getting sufficient hindmilk, which is the high-calorie stuff. If you're not already doing this, let her drain 1 breast, don't switch sides within 1 feeding. Have you talked to a lactation consultant? A La Leche League leader?

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  5. Love the Patricia Dress! It's fun looking but looks perfectly wearable still. Your interior finishes are always an inspiration too.

    Hope the doctors only have good things to say for Rachel!

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  6. I second June's comment. I am a trained breastfeeding consultant with my county's local WIC program and I work with all sorts of mom with breastfeeding topics.

    A very effective way of helping a breastfed baby gain more weight is to feed more hind milk than foremilk. For example, if you are pumping for 10 minutes, the milk in the first five minutes will have less fat/calories than the milk in the last five minutes. You could either pump those separately and only feed the second, or pump for five minutes or so before breastfeeding, so that she is getting all the goods of you milk, just with a higher fat/cal amount.

    Also, the more frequest the feeds, the higher the fat/cal amounts. Example, if she feeds for 10min every hour she will get more fat/calories than if she feed for 20 min every two or three hours.... if you haven't already, Definately talk to a IBCLC or LLL leader, and keep up the hard work.
    Breastfeeding is a labor... of love! She will thank you for it when she's grown.

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  7. Your dress is amazing! I love the print of that fabric, and your seam finishes are impeccable. :]

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  8. Very cute dress :-) My sister in law was also tiny as a baby (my poor mother in law was constantly told off too). Sis in law is now a very petite adult and just doesn't put on weight the lucky thing! Hopefully little Rachel will turn out to be lucky like that too xx

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  9. This is a stunning dress! I love the zippers!

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  10. Hi!
    I really know how you feel because that is what happens to me too when I visit a paedaetrician. My daughter was born only 2.7kg and she puts on weight very slowly and is off the 'normal' chart because she's fully breastfed from the beginning. She is nearly 1 year 8 months now and she is still small, only 9kg! And she still takes nothing but breastmilk and solids, she hates formula. My paedaetrician is more emphatic she told me most exclusively breastfeeding mums have a small child (though the opposite may happen, I have a friend who exclusively breastfeeds and the daughter is so big at 7 months!). But most babies I know who are exclusively breastfed are small. The doctor said she's seen the growth charts, some cases where the baby is weaned and begins formula, the weight shoots up (which sounds sad, doesn't it?)

    The doctor told me not to worry so much as long as the baby is thriving, active..you only have to worry if the baby is sickly. Which almost doesn't happen if she's breastfed (antibodies from you! hurray!).

    I sew for my little one so it's a big wait for her to fit into the dresses I make for her, haha.

    Cheers and keep up the good work,

    Sertyan

    http://sertyan.blogspot.com

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  11. Very cute dress (and very cute daughter!). I wouldn't worry too much about a healthy child having dimensions different than the mean. Each of my three is completely different in build from the others. My 1st was on the 5th percentile for weight and 90th for length - and grew into a very tall, slim adult. Your little lady looks perfect.

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  12. Very very beautiful dress! Inside and out!

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  13. I'm usually alos no fan of exposed zippers. But your dress is so beautiful and the color of the zippers works perfectly with the fabric and design of this dress. Great work!

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  14. Your dress is stunning, I love it! The fit looks perfect and your finishing is inspiring, as always.
    I hope things will get better with your daughter soon, it must be quite stressful.

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  15. This dress is another winner - it's beautifully made and you look amazing in it! I really like your use of colour and the finishing technique on the inside is so tidy.
    I don't know much about babies and breastfeeding, but if Rachel is well, healthy and happy I'm not too sure what the problem is if she isn't weighing what she should - perhaps she is just a small petite baby? My friend had the opposite problem, her little boy was HUGE and the Dr kept telling her off for over feeding him with junk food (she wasn't). He's now 5 and a normal, healthy size....

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  16. Very cute dress, and I actually thought how slim you look before I read you were gaining weight. I hope your daughter's issue gets resolved soon, and I sincerely hope you don't stress yourself over this. You're obviously a great mom.

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  17. Hello Amanda! I recently found out your blog and I'm impressed! I'm a sewer too, but you are a perfectionist. I've been wondering how you do all that bias taping on the inside of the garments. It's beautiful and clean looking, but i'm so bored with bias tape. What method do you use, I'd like to try it too.

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  18. I can't imagine it's a problem with your milk since your son's where large and healthy. Hopefully they can figure it out and all will be well soon. It's so stressful when our children are ill. Your dress is beautifully made as always. You look wonderful in it.

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  19. Great dress. Normally I don't really like exposed zippers, but I think they look nice here. Fun, in a way :-)

    My little ones have been breastfed and the two eldest always have been tiny (as in off the chart tiny). I never worried about it. As long as they were active and thriving and growing in their own way, they were perfectly alright. These days it seems like every child has to fit into a chart or else doctors seem to think there is a problem. It's so silly.
    I am sure your milk is fine and you are a great mom, giving the best to your little girl.

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  20. I'm totally a fan of exposed zippers. Your dress looks fierce and fabulous, I love it!

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  21. Well, if your fabulous new dress doesn't convert Patricia to loving exposed zippers, then nothing will! It looks truly amazing - I am pea green with envy, I would love to have this dress in my wardrobe. Having recently had the experience of putting just one exposed zipper into a skirt, I am in awe of your skill - these things are tricky! I love your choice of colour for the zippers.
    Good luck at the doctor's, I hope the difficulties are resolved very soon.

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  22. How much do I love the word 'ornery'? I love this dress! You continue to amaze and inspire me with your finishing techniques. The inside is just as pretty as the outside. You look fantastic!

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  23. You did a marvelous job on that pretty dress. Zips are so stylish. Looks great on you. My baby girl was very small, too. She was put through a lot of testing, only to find out that she was just--small. She grew up to be just fine.

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  24. Your dress looks terrific and kudos for working so hard to continue breastfeeding. I hope that the doctor's visits bring good news.

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  25. Love the dress! It looks great on you. I had a lot of trouble BF'ing and had to resort to mixing in formula. Mine was a quantity issue but my DS did at least get some breast milk til he was a year old. Don't feel bad if you have to mix. I'm sure everything will work out fine.

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  26. I so love seeing the insides of your garments - I'm curious about the zigzagging the zipper tape - did you fold back the garment out of the way? I'm having a hard time envisioning how it worked - especially with the zipper already sewed in, making the seam allowance and zipper tape less floppy!

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  27. I love that dress!!! I have that same pattern and I never thought of making it in a print. That is a fabulous idea. I hope everything is okay with your daughter.

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  28. The dress is adorable! I love the hot pink exposed zippers and that you named it after your friend! ha.

    I had to get used to them, too, but now I like them.

    sorry about the weight problems with your little one. I hope you get that all worked out. :(

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  29. Beautiful! I always inspired by your sewing. I love the choice of fabric and the color of the zipper. And fit of the dress is awesome.

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  30. This is a gorgeous dress! I love the print mixed with the exposed zippers! I AM a fan of exposed zippers, and I found out during a recent shopping trip that some of my friends are not! I found a New Look pattern that uses exposed zippers on a pair of leggings and I will DEFINITELY be making those and wearing them proudly!

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  31. love that pattern and the dress. WOuld love to know who u got the fabric from.Iwantto try soem ebay seelers and would love ur advice

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  32. What a striking dress...and beautifully made as always! I also thought you looked very trim in it before reading that you were gaining weight. Hope all goes well with little Rachel's visit to the endocrinologist. I, too, had a tiny girl who turned out just fine. It would be great to see some new photos of your little peanut...maybe in her Easter outfit? Best wishes to you!

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  33. I think the ladies with breastfeeding experience are speaking the truth. Accept all information but filter it as well. I am sure these things are well intentioned, but your little sweetie may just be little. period. Oh, by the way, never a fan of exposed zippers, but you may convert me.:)

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  34. Beautiful dress and looks great on your....hope everything with Rachel gets resolved soon!!!

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  35. Very fun dress - I think the pink zippers go really well with the print.

    I'm sorry to hear about Rachel - I'm sure it's a little stressful. All the advice you've gotten is good, but the trouble is figuring out which one applies to you (:

    You're doing the right thing to rule out any issues and it's better to to deal with a growth problem right away (if it's even a problem) becuase it would be a symptom of a disease. My son was/is tiny, and it turns out he has an EGID (eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorder) and Crohn's disease, both of which cause malabsorption.

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  36. Wow, it is indeed bold! :-) Very fun and creative. You know I can't wait to see your 1174.

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  37. Cute dress on you. We were in SA yesterday for Andrew to meet with a neurologist for his spasticity. Starting with him, the next son and Hayley (my oldest is adopted and was all formula) they all had a combination of BM and formula and it's what worked for us. Andrew has always been tiny/slim for his age due to CP. They also put fortifier in the BM in the hospital. Later we added Duocal in everything. I pumped for him, Philip (when trying to put him to me was so frustrating with Andrew screaming constantly at 13 months) and Hayley (by her, I said to myself it's what worked before, as long as she gets the milk). You might ask the pediatrician about Duocal or other that might be covered by insurance, it might not be, that's been years ago. WIC paid for it since he was failing to thrive. Bottom line to me, is rule out the malabsorption, allergies, etc. If they are still small, then they just are. And how you choose to feed is your business. LLL drove me nuts when Andrew was in the NICU, so much I told the pedi who knew one of them to keep them away from me.

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  38. It's funny, after seeing the first picture, I was going to tell you how fabulous you look and that you obviously lost all of the baby weight and then some. I would have no idea that you'd purposely added a few lbs for breastfeeding reasons. Seriously Amanda, you look fantastic!

    I really hoping the feeding issues resolve themselves with R. Will be thinking good thoughts for you guys.

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  39. You found another fabulous purple/green print and used the perfect pattern to showcase it! Praying all is well with Rachel!

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  40. I have loved the Vogue 1174 pattern for a while and look forward to seeing you make it up.

    PS. On the breastfeeding issue -- I would be surprised if it is the calorie content of your milk. Our bodies make our milk just right for our babies with the foremilk to quench their thirst and the hindmilk to satisfy them. I did supplement feed my first (about 20-30ml of formula in a bottle after a breast feed). I would do that rather than pump and mix because pumping doesn't stimulate the breast as much as bub suckling so you will have a dickens trying to keep your supply up.

    I had my 4 month old bub weighed yesterday -- I was worried because she is very slim and my first was CHUBBA BUBBA. But the nurse said she has been on the same percentile since birth so it's not as though she has dramatically dropped in the percentile for weight -- she's just slim. But it's a good idea to see if bub does have something going in terms of digestion. Good luck with it!

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  41. Oh, sorry -- just to add -- if bub is settled between feeds, alert, reaching milestones, wet and poopy diapers then she is fine.

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  42. I didn't read all of the other comments, and I don't know if anyone said this yet, but I have a skinny baby too. She is almost 13 months old and has been at the 3rd percentile for weight since her well baby check up. She was born an average 7lbs 2oz, but lost a pound a.s.a.p. I was very nervous about her weight (height is average) but luckily I got a nurse practitioner who looks more at the baby and less at the growth chart. My daughter is obviously smart, strong, and healthy, she's just slim. If every baby were at the 50th percentile for weight, it would be the first percentile! Also, you may already know that the CDC growth charts are not representative of exclusively breast fed babies. The World Health Organization has put out some newer, more comprehensive charts that have my daughter at the 25th percentile for weight! You have two other kids, so you can tell if she's healthy. I am on to the next stage- whenever I see another nurse or dr besides our usual, they tell me I need to give the baby cows milk now. But she's still getting her mother's milk....arghhh!

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  43. Oh, also at six months, I skipped the rice cereal and went straight to feeding my daughter avocado and mashed banana- when you start solids, it's good to give them something with more calories than milk, and that is not rice cereal. Good luck!

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  44. This dress is so inspiring. I have this pattern too and was wondering how to make it more "tame" for every day wear... exposed zippers and the option with the open shoulder are a little too racy for my office. I love your version, so girly and sweet.

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  45. I have to say ditto re: the ladies who have said to contact La Leche League. You'll get a much better level of support. Even now, so many health professionals seem to have a wierd attitude towards breastfeeding.

    I found bf'ing uncomfortable, so I'd put my feet up, let my son latch on, and just let the TV distract me. He'd bf on one breast for an hour or so if he had the opportunity. He was born at 10.5 lbs and has continuted to be off the charts (large) in height and weight. For the first 6 months he was exclusivly bf'd. I found that if I put him in a sling over a cami, he could bf as I did tasks that allowed me to sit. Walking with the sling didn't work for me as he drift down too far. If I stopped hearing him swallow, I'd lie down. Lying down seems to cause me to yield a lot more milk - likely something to do with the drop in blood pressure. (You might want to try this.)

    He continues to bf to sleep at night (now 3 years old) and I find this so much easier than the daily bedtime fight that my peers all seem to engage in with their wee ones.

    I have another one one the way in August (a little girl this time) and she might be a completely different person and not want to bf as enthusiastically as her brother, but I hope to do things exactly the same way.

    You have been selected by thousands of years of evolution to be a mum. You have everything you need inside you to be successful, because you are the child of many generations of survivors.

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  46. The inside of that dress is ridiculously gorgeous. I like the outside, too, don't get me wrong, but the inside! Amazing!

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  47. Such a beautiful and fun dress! You could even wear it inside out with insides like that!

    Good luck with the baby feeding, too!

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  48. Amanda, I LOVE your dress! It looks so fabulous on you. And thank you for teaching me a new word - "ornery" :)

    I hope the breastfeeding issue gets resolved easily - and that your daughter puts on a bit more weight soon. (((hugs)))

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  49. Just wanted to let you know that we like your version of M6243 so much we posted a link to your blog from our McCall's Patterns Facebook page. Beautiful work.

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  50. AH! Oh my goodness about the breastmilk advice from the dr's! First of all, they are planting a seed of doubt into your mind that your body is not able to provide for your baby. You are doing a fabulous job on giving your baby the best start in life by breastfeeding her. It is such a false statement that is all too often told by ped's and all too frequently brought up at our area La Leche League meetings.

    I'm only the group treasurer, not a leader, but I would HIGHLY recommend that you look up your local La Leche League website or phone number and consult with a leader. LLL leaders are ten times more educated about breastfeeding than the majority of pediatricians (who are a lot of times are just pushing for formula).

    You can also go to the World Health Organization website and look at growth charts for breastfed babies. Many ped's are using growth charts provided by formula companies which show the average growth rate of a formula fed baby. So of course they may think her growth is behind! Both my boys were in the 3% range from early on, but genetics plays a huge role in that as well.

    I hope your worries have been answered and your breastfeeding confidence has been boosted.

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  51. I saw the dress after you first posted but forgot to comment. I love prints and this one looks fantastic and the exposed zippers are fun and adventurous.
    Hope things are going well with your daughter and feedings.

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  52. Very colourful dress. DONT stop breastfeeding. I had many problems feeding my eldest (also Rachel) and was talked into formula feeding. She didn't really thrive the way my fully breast fed baby did.

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  53. Love the dress. People used to say the same thing about exposed labels and logos on clothing. Those things belong on the inside.

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  54. I didn't mean to say that I think labels and zippers belong on the inside. I think this trend is good looking. Shake 'em up, I say.

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  55. What a beautiful dress and love the hot pink zippers.

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  56. The care you take in finishing your garments is inspirational. I think I sew well - but when you put up the photographs of the internal construction I feel I should try harder! Thank you so much for sharing.

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