Forest friends printed dress

Sorry I’ve not been around for a few weeks, I’ve had quite a few projects on the go but none finished. Hopefully I’m changing that in next few weeks. So here is my latest finished project using a bought from My Fabrics.

Using a printed panel

I relish the challenge of using a panel. I like to geek out and I like having to think and plan my pattern pieces. When I was pregnant with Edith I bought a really cute panel which had 3 different prints on it to make a sleepsuit.

The main focus was the printed fruit which I used on the front. There wasn’t enough of the stripe for the whole of the back so I made sure my centre back was directly on the line between the two prints and then I used the floral print on the sleeves. As I made such a small size I had just enough left over to make a short romper using the rainbow stripe and the floral.

It’s great, the prints obviously work together yet they contrast enough to create interest. I got so many compliments and people thought I got them from a shop. I also made this pyjama set for Leon which Edith has now grown into.

But how do you go about using a panel?

First I did a quick lay of my pattern pieces on the fabric to check I had enough for the Galena dress I wanted to make (I’ve mentioned this pattern in a previous post, it’s a free pattern).

First I decided that the skirt would be best using the mini print. The skirt uses up a large amount of fabric and I want it to be the same front and back so it’s best to use what I have plenty of. The main print was obviously going to be used for the front bodice and hopefully I could get a back bodice in the plain to match. The neck and sleeve bands would be easy enough to get out of bits and pieces and I would have to see about the short sleeves when I got to it.

As the skirt pattern is the same for the front and back, I decided it was most sensible to draw out the pattern onto the fabric first. However it became quickly apparent that there wasn’t quite enough length. I thought I would see what I had left over at the end to create some kind of frill to make up the length needed.

The main print

With the skirt pieces cut I could focus on the main print. For this I measured across the print to find the central point and drew a line using a Friction marker. Hopefully you can see it well enough in my photo. This central line is now my centre front.

From here I drew my front panel onto the fabric to see how it was going to look once cut.

Some of the tree will get cut off but there’s not much I can do when the dress has a waist seam. If it was a T shirt dress or a romper as my first image in the post, I could make the neckline sit a lot higher up above the print. I managed to get the back bodice piece from the plain as planned.

The sleeves

With the skirt and bodice now cut, I could take a look at what was left to cut the sleeves. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough to make the sleeves plain. I could have made the dress sleeveless but I’m not keen on that idea when Edie is so fair skinned and I don’t want to risk burnt shoulders. So I managed to squeeze both sleeves in the remainder of the mini print area.

As the pattern piece is a half sleeve, I drew one side on and then folded over to get the other side. See my drawing on photo 1. Once that was cut I could just use the whole of the first sleeve to lay further down to get my 2nd sleeve. You can now see where I cut my skirt pieces from, the area to the right.

All that remains to cut is the sleeve and neck bands. I decided to use the mini print on the neck band and the plain on the sleeve bands to alternate the pattern. With what strips I could salvage from the scraps, I cut as much as I could to make a frill for the bottom. There was nothing left of the mini print so I had to use the plain fabric.

And how does the dress look once together?

I think it looks alright. I think it would’ve looked better if the main print wasn’t cropped as it is at the neck. Maybe I picked the wrong project for this fabric. But that said, Edie won’t care about it and with kids clothes it has a short life before it gets handed onto the next kid.

If you’re thinking of using a panel, you can either buy just the main large print as a small panel. Or sometimes the complimentary fabric by itself. Or sometimes you can buy the panel, like I did, with the large print and contrasting print as one piece. You just have to see what you can find.

Hope you enjoyed reading.

Rosie xx

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