7.28.2013

The Geranium Dress, Fully Lined, with Modifications

Yes, I know.  I'm late to the geranium dress party.  It seemed as though everyone was making this dress around the time I was on my roller skate dress kick.  One of the versions of this dress reminded me of the roller skate dress, so I decided to hold off on this pattern for awhile .  But as I started hatching plans for kids clothes week, I knew I couldn't resist the powers of this pattern any longer.

There is so much to love about the Geranium pattern.  It has lots of mix-and-match options. The instructions are well-written and so detailed.  I think this would be the perfect beginner pattern.  There are lots of hints and tips.  I enjoy a patten where the instructions are so well written that I can basically check my brain at the machine, listen to podcasts and relax while I sew.  This pattern is one of those patterns.  This time, however, I made a lot of modifications to this pattern, making it less relaxing and more of a creative challenge.  I like that, too.

geranium dress

To start, I decided I wanted to cut this dress like the pretty-as-a-picture dress by Anna Maria Horner, framing the square dance panel in citrus in the center.

geranium dress

I used Anna Maria Horner's Pastry Line in Coral to frame the panel.  I wanted to be sure that the stripes were all properly spaced in relationship to one another.  I cut the 'frames' around the panel and the two pieces to form the back skirt as mirror images to one another, so all of my stripes were even.

geranium dress

For the bodice, I cut the stripes on the bias and joined them in the center front, adding 1/4" to the pattern so I could sew them with a 1/4" seam.   I didn't fully trust my mathy way of figuring it out, so I actually basted half of the bodice onto the fabric before cutting it.

basted


Because I wanted to highlight the center panel, I didn't want the panel to be as gathered as the rest of the skirt.  So I cut the front skirt less wide than the back skirt.  Also, when it came time to gather the skirt, I gathered the panel piece less than I gathered the the rest of the skirt.  It's similar to the pretty-as-a-picture dress in that way - more gathering on the sides and back, less on the panel.

geranium

Boy, what a lot of mental gymnastics to ensure everything came out just right - and quite an undertaking too!  Worst of all, I was very tight on fabric (again!) so I had be careful not to waste a single inch.  Lots of sewers talk about being fabric-hoarders.  I am the anti-fabric hoarder.  I only buy fabric when I know exactly what I want to do with it.  I almost always buy just what I need in terms of yardage.

I'm beginning to reconsider my approach!

exploring

After I had cut everything out, I decided I wanted to add side pockets.  This is one of the Geranium dress options (skirt B), where the pockets are cut as part of the skirt.  Because I had already cut out my skirt (skirt A), I used this tutorial to add side pockets.  It was so easy and a nice touch.

side pockets

Because my main fabrics were voile and voile is quite sheer, I fully lined this dress.  I've made several dresses in voile now and have learned that voile definitely picks up the hue of the lining fabric behind it.  I used this cotton couture broadcloth in white.  It enhanced the colors of the voile, making them more rich.  To line the skirt, I cut out the skirt pieces in my lining fabric and sewed them together according to the pattern instructions, just like I sewed the skirt.   After I had sewn the skirt and the lining, I pinned the lining and the skirt together, wrong sides together at the back placket and edgestitched them together.  Then I gathered them together before joined the skirt to the bodice.

geranium

I spent way too long deliberating over whether to add the notch to the bodice.  I worried the voile might be too lightweight to keep the notched shape.   Dan agreed.   But then I simply could not resist and cut the notch anyway.  I held my breath as I snipped into the fabric to reveal the notch after I had sewn it.  I had spent so much time on this dress and I didn't have enough fabric to cut another bodice if I didn't like the result.  (dun dun duuun)

I was so relieved and excited when the shape held perfectly.  (Rae has a tip in the pattern on how to sew the notch so it holds its shape.)

geranium bodice

I decided to hand sew the bodice lining rather than edgestitch or stitch in the ditch.  I was listening to this really fascinating podcast on faith and doubt and had about a million pins in the bodice to secure the lining.  I didn't want to mess with all of those pins under my machine.  My hands are usually full, both literally and figuratively, and I don't get around to hand sewing much anymore.  Iris was napping, the kids were outside building a bat house with Dan, so I cozied in with my podcast and slow stitches.  An absolutely superb way to spend some time.

handstitched

If you decided to hand sew your bodice lining, be sure to match your thread to your outer fabric.  I used white thread to match my lining and had to separate the skirt from the lining, so my white stitches wouldn't show through to the front on the skirt.

1A2A2476


And there you have it.  My initiation into the geranium dress pattern.

21 comments:

  1. It's beautiful Rachel! And so are your girls. That pattern is really addictive...I've made 7 now including a little doll one.

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    1. wow, 7?! that's very, very impressive!

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  2. It looks lovely! You did so well matching up the stripes and keeping that piece centered, I've only made one geranium, but my daughter wouldn't wear it :( Have a lovely day! Hugs, Fiona xoxo

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    1. fiona, i am sorry your daughter wouldn't wear it! that just is not fair. not fair at all.

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  3. Oh it's gorgeous! I love that pattern, it's so wonderful, and so cool to see what everyone does to put their own spin on it! Your daughter is so gorgeous, and looks like she loves it too!

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  4. What care you've taken with this dress! And it shows - it's so lovely! I, too, have held off on the Geranium dress, mostly because my girls were too big for the smaller sizes. But now that's it's offered in the bigger sizes, I've been reconsidering. Problem is - there are too many patterns I want! So glad you bought this one, as you did such a beautiful job with it and I'm sure you'll use it a great deal throughout the years.

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    1. thank you so much, Lucinda. i actually only bought the smaller pattern. my daughter is a very tall 6 year old and normally wears size 7 in length, but the size 5 chest measurement fit her. so i used my smaller (0-5) pattern and added 4 or 5 inches in length! i bought this pattern because i liked the flutter sleeve for the little girls. also, i like that the geranium dress is not normally fully lined (unlike the oliver + s roller skate or bubble dresses). living in texas, that can get hot (which is why i often sew lined dresses in voile). but it also gets pricey, too!

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  5. Oh my gosh!! I love the Pretty as a Picture dress, with the folksy apron-style skirt, and this captures it perfectly in a larger size! Well done! All of your fiddling and calculating clearly paid off. That is so interesting to hear that you are *not* a hoarder, I guess I assumed, since we are so alike in other ways (hee hee) that we were alike in that one! I am definitely a hoarder. Well, as I've mentioned, I don't think of it as hoarding, in a collecting sense or in a "whomever dies with the most fabric wins" sense - rather, if I see a fabric I love, I buy a reasonable amount of yardage in it and then wait to find the perfect thing to make it with. And when I find a great pattern, I go searching through my piles to find a good fit. Something like that. Cough cough.

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    1. that's very interesting because i would say my process is the reverse. i see a pattern that i really like and then i look for the fabric based on the pattern. i do own a lot of patterns. maybe that makes me a pattern hoarder? :)

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  6. Rachel, this is divine! I love it. The pastry line and square dance panels are what made me become a fabric hoarder... such beautiful stuff! You put a lot of thought into this dress and it shows. :)

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    1. wow, erin, thank you so much, erin! i do love this line so much, too!

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  7. Huge an undertaking for sure! You have great attention to detail. It's lovely, of course! I am thinking of getting that pattern to make some 6-12 month dresses just in hopes...

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  8. OK, looking to make a dress for my daughter out of the Heather Ross Berry print for back to school (which is Monday!! EEK) And I can't decide between Geranium and Roller Skate!?! Any thoughts?

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    1. hi ellen,
      i've actually thought about this one a lot! :) The roller skate pattern is a very fast sew, especially if you don't add the contrasting yoke. but even with the yoke, it's fast. unlike the geranium, there are no gathers to bother with (it uses elastic instead) and there are also no buttonholes, only a single button and loop. but - the roller skate is fully lined, which means it uses more fabric. having two layers of fabric could be a positive or a negative, depending on your climate. the roller skate doesn't have all of the options as the geranium. if you liked the pockets (side or front) of the geranium, you could find online tutorials and add those same features to the roller skate pretty easily. but adding the flutter sleeves would require quite a lot of modifications. so if you want both the cap and flutter sleeve options, i would choose the geranium. i hope this helps and that your daughter has a great school year! :)
      rachel

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    2. Thanks so much! Exactly what I was looking for. I have both patterns, as I do love all the options with the geranium dress, but for speed and efficiency I am going with the Roller skate!

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    3. awesome! i don't think you could go wrong either way, but i do adore the roller skate! :)

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  9. Great dress! Love the modifications. I'm making a fully lined geranium for a flower girl dress and have a question. You sewed the skirt pieces together then the lining skirt pieces together. Then you adjoined the two skirts by stitching them together up the back, stopping at the dot and reinforcing at the dot? Or did you sew up the back of the skirt and the back of the lining and THEN attach the two? I'm confused. Please and thank you!

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    1. I sewed the skirt and the lining together at the back separately, not together. Then, I joined them but sewing them together at the waist and topstitched them together at the placket from the top to the dot. I hope that makes sense. :)

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    2. I kinda understand...sorry Im way new at this sewing thing in general, and this pattern. I did end up doing it differently I believe. And it turned out well. In sewed the skirt front and back pieces together, then the lining front and back pieces. Then I placed them together wrong sides facing to hide the lining seams and continued the directions from there. I trimmed just the lining before folding over the inside back hem so I didn't have so many layers of fabric to fold over. I now have it pinned and ready to join at the waist.

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