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A Plaid Mini Marthe Dress

Last month I had plans to sew a new Mini Marthe dress for Indigo.

As I was cutting out the pattern, I was feeling good about my plaid matching skills. I had read this post recommended by Inder, which explains how to match the plaid on the sleeve with that on the bodice.  Pro sewing tip, guys! All of my stripes were smoothed out and perfectly aligned.

Things were humming along when I realized that I had matched the stripes on the sleeves correctly horizontally... but not vertically.  Womp womp.  The sleeves looked completely different.

Unfortunately I didn't have enough plaid on hand to re-cut the sleeves and I had to order more.  So this Mini Marthe dress was made in December instead and this is a lesson I won't soon forget.

Indigo wore her previous Mini Marthe dress all the time.  It kind of became a joke between Ute and I on Instagram because Indigo was wearing the same dress in so many of my photos.

When I looked back at my previous Mini Marthe post to reevaluate fit before making it again, I really felt that the dress did not photograph well at all. When I took those photos, I was absolutely in love with them.   All I could see was Indigo, who totally has my heart, and the amazing time we had together that day.  And that's great!  It's the reason I take photos!  But looking back, I would not say the photos adequately represented how cute that dress is.  The fabric I had used was flowy and the dress has this free flowing, swooshy feel to it that just doesn't freeze well, you know?

I will say, there are two small things that I wasn't so sure about with the Mini Marthe pattern.  One is that the bodice to me is cut at a somewhat awkward length.  I feel like it should either be shorter or longer.  If you follow Trine, Danish blogger at Groovy Baby and Mama, you already know that she is the Mini Marthe queen.  And as I was searching around on her Mini Marthe posts, I read that she added length to the bodice and then cut the dress one size smaller in width since the fit is so roomy.

And that's what I did this time.  I added 3 1/4" to the bodice length so it landed right below Indigo's belly button.    I also cut the bodice and skirt one size down in width, but left the sleeve width at her actual measurement (except the sleeve top so it would fit the bodice).  Then I added length overall, because Indigo is tall and has very long arms, just like I do. 

I felt like these alterations were perfect and I am so happy with the outcome!

The one other thing I've noticed about this pattern is that the shoulder seam can look kind of pointy.  When I first saw photos of this dress online, I thought maybe the dress had been left on a wire hanger, but it's just the seam that gives it that look.  I found by easing off the end of the seam onto the fabric with my serger, I was able to give the shoulder seam a more rounded look.

Then I finished the back with a single yellow button and hair elastic (idea from Kristin).

All in all, this is a very fast dress to make, just the way I like it!  And it's one of my top favorite patterns right now, too!  (Do I say that every time?  Sorry.)

After I took photos of Indigo, she was off to ride her bike and Hazel took her pompom hat!

 She also always, always takes off her shoes! Thankfully the weather was mild!

My little Christmas elf! 

I bought the plaid shirting at Harts fabrics here.  I'm really happy with it.  Indigo actually slept in this dress and wore it the next day.  The following photos are of the dress on day 2... after being slept in(!).

The fabric really has a crisp look to it.  I'm not sure I've seen anything quite like it!

Hazel is 16 months old already and is in that tornado toddler stage where she is getting into e v e r y t h i n g.  And she can open doors, too!  We've really had to up our game.  We have to keep our pantry locked with a sliding chain, just like we did with Iris.  Our Christmas tree has a baby gate around it and we have to rope our kitchen chairs together or she climbs on them and onto the kitchen table.

When I wrote about this stage with Iris, I mentioned that some days I felt like the mythical Sisyphis, just in terms of cleaning up one mess after another!  I can never keep up and the job is never done!  Dan compares it to pushing back the ocean!  Ha!

But, of course, she's also so sweet and totally irresistible.  We all adore her.  The kids are so patient and loving with her, at least most of the time. :)   Indigo is especially tolerant.  When Hazel gets into her stuff, she just sighs knowingly and says, "Well, she's in the toddler stage!"

It's not always easy, having three younger sisters, but Indigo does it so well and with amazing grace and beauty!


  1. Ah, this is just perfect! I love the plaid with this simple dress, and the modifications you made streamline the shape a bit - just right. Indigo is beautiful and Hazel is so full of life and mischief! That age really is the hardest - it's not just the messes they make, that would be no problem, it's the constantly worrying about them hurting themselves! Or that was the biggest issue for me. You can't take your eyes off them for a hot second and it's exhausting! But it's also the cutest and sweetest age in a lot of ways. I'm sure it helps having older (homeschooled) kids who can help you keep an eye on her. <3

  2. Oh Rachel, I love it. Your mods are perfect and I LOVE it in the plaid. I also love that she slept in it and wore it the next day. Now that is a compliment!

  3. Now I can't imagine this dress with the waistline anywhere else. Perfectly lovely, and how good are you to cut another sleeve to get it right. Silly that it matters, but it kinda does, right?!
    I sure don't miss having the bookshelves emptied every day. Adorable and infuriating all at once.
    Give Indy a big pat on the back from us for being an awesome big sister.

  4. I love this dress, if it were mine I would wear it everyday then sleep in it too. :) I agree with your length analysis, the proportion as designed seems a little awkward. I like your alterations. So many good tips!

  5. I love love love this version of the Mini Marthe. I keep going to look at it because I love the plaid so much (and of course your photography). And really good tips, too! I'm wondering how it would look with a double gauze fabric...?

  6. Oh I just love your choice of fabric and the alterations you made to the pattern - the longer bodice and those sleeves...perfect! It's so good. Great photos too, could be in a mini Boden catalog. ;)

    I love hearing about Hazel's toddler antics. Haha!

  7. The combination of the fabric, tights, shoes, and hat are perfect!! Love the changes you made. I'm so partial to a cute raglan sleeve.


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