Hooray for free patterns that turn out to be total successes!
Let’s be honest, not all free patterns are created equal. Finding one that’s totally awesome is…well…totally awesome! This Racerback Dress pattern from Hey June Handmade was a total win for me and is something I know I’m going to make again and again.
I think before having kids, I had all these great ideas about how my kids would dress. And even now, there are things that I see in stores or patterns I am drawn to because they are just so darn cute! But when I stop to think about it, I have to admit that sometimes the cutest things are not the most practical things. Awhile ago, I was pretty close to buying a pattern for a button up shirt dress for my girls. It was so cute and I imagined all the fun fabric I could find for it. But when I stopped to be real with myself, I realized that, if I ended up making those dresses, they would probably be worn one time and then never again. And it wouldn’t be because they weren’t cute, it would be because they weren’t practical. If wearing a dress was in order (like for church), my girls would much prefer to wear the frilliest, fanciest dress in all the land. And for all other occasions they usually choose something basic. I’m talking comfortable, non-fussy, easy to put on/take off by themselves. A woven button up dress would never (and I mean never) be chosen of their own free will and choice. So I hung up that idea (maybe we’ll try again in 5 years) and tried to look practically at their wardrobe needs (“need” is a loose term here). The girls have an abundance of clothes (thanks to all their older cousins!) but I do enjoy sewing for the girls on occasion, and I think they love to know when I’m making something especially for them. The one thing I felt like they don’t have enough of is play dresses. Simple, knit dresses that are great for playing in on warm days. Does the Hey June Racerback Dress not fit the bill perfectly???
It’s a very basic dress, but it does include an opportunity for a fun little styling detail…
Eh? Pretty darn adorable in my book! Of course, the dress would still be very cute using the same fabric for that back panel. But it’s a great way to use up an extra scrap in a fun way. Both these fabrics have been in my stash for awhile but they are from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. The blue stripe is a lighter weight French Terry and the floral was a misprinted jacquard (it was printed on the wrong side, but you really can’t tell).
I feel like I say the same thing about construction every time I talk about sewing a kid’s garment. But the truth is that the projects are usually so small and simple that they just don’t take much time or even thought to get them finished. These dresses were especially easy. They consist of only 5 pattern pieces, the neck and arms are finished with bands, and there is only one hem. I did understitch around the neck and arm holes to make it look a bit more professional (and I’ve found it helps those seams stay put during laundering). I did consider adding pockets but in the end I decided not to because, although the girls are wild about pockets, they don’t really use them…and EASY.
I finished the dresses while the girls were asleep and in the morning when I told them I had made them dresses, they were both so excited. Greta ran into the sewing room and grabbed her dress jumping up and down. Maybe that’s why I keep sewing them things 🙂
Haha I took this picture and then realized it definitely makes these girls look like they’re in trouble for something. Whoops!
I am happy to report that the dresses have been worn many times. The girls really love them and they are already happily wearing them out. I need to buy some sizing tags and as soon as I do I’m planning on busting out a handful more of these both for my girls and to give as gifts when friends have babies. Oh and the pattern goes from size 12 months to 8 years old, so we’re going to be enjoying this pattern for years to come, trust me. And did I mention it’s free? Because it’s FREE. Anyway, it’s always nice (and a bit of a relief) to find a pattern that’s love for the sewer and for the wearers! Thanks again Hey June Handmade!