Tuesday 14 May 2019

Playdate Dress and a pocket tutorial

It's starting to get cold here, and I really need to consign myself to the fact that our house renovation is not just-about-to-start. I need to get my winter clothes out rather than think I'll be packing them to move any minute. And I need to just turn the heating on.

But instead let's look back at our April holidays at the coast shall we, and a sweet little Oliver + S Playdate dress that I made for A.

I'd only made this dress pattern once before and I was so delighted with the shape and the fit. Here's the first version. I was keen to give it another run as it's one of the patterns that stops at size 8 which is her current size.

I think I'd bought this quilting cotton with the Library dress in mind but it looked like it would suit this pattern quite nicely too.

The pattern usually has ruffles or buttons on the yoke, but I thought it would be a bit more grown up to have the yoke plain. Then it looked too plain, so I thought to add a simple bow. When A saw my bow placed low and centrally she said it would look much better if the bird was wearing it. So there it is, a bow tie bird dress!

The terracotta coloured binding was already cut from some other project and I used the Fairy Tale Dress patterns instructions for the little bow. It's a miniature version of the belt bow from that pattern.

The pattern is a delight. It's a sweet bell shaped dress with in seam pockets, a lovely yoke with flat piping and nicely puffy sleeves.

As I was making it I thought to use the pocket instructions from a Japanese Sewing Book which allows you to have the side seam allowances pressed open and no snipping into and weakening the pocket seam allowances.

It's quite genius, so I photographed a little tutorial:

Side Seam Pocket Tutorial

1: Finish the seam allowances of the front pocket pieces and the sides of the front skirt panel.

2:Stitch the front pocket to the skirt (right sides facing) leaving a 1.5cm unsewn section at the top and bottom of the pocket. 

Stitch the back pockets to back skirt leaving a 1cm section unsewn at the top and bottom of each pocket piece

3: Press the pockets away from the skirts and seam allowances

4: Stitch the side seams above and below the pocket openings. Stitch with the front skirt uppermost and stop your stitching at the front pocket attachment stitching point, (or a stitch or two deeper into the pocket opening). 

Open the pockets away from each other and press again

5: Edgestitch the front pocket about 1/16" from the pressed edge (stitched front pocket opening is shown on right hand side of the image below)

6: Sew the pocket curved edges together folding the skirt pieces out of the way (with 1cm seam allowance in this instance). The photos below show the upper and then lower edges of the pocket and how the seam allowances are folded back when the pocket is stitched together.

7: Finish the pocket seam allowances together. Press the pocket towards the front skirt again and then finish the back seam allowances in one go.

Finally, you can add a bartack at the top and bottom of the pocket opening for extra reinforcemnt.

I love this pocket technique as it's neat, allows the seam to be finished neatly and stops the pocket from flopping down or towards the back when worn.

This little bow-tie bird dress might be hibernating for a few months now, but hopefully it will come out again in the spring. Maybe for a spot of tennis?

Pattern: Oliver + S Playdate Dress
Size: 8, no mods
Fabric: some designer quilting cotton, long stashed so I forget the name.


  1. This is so pretty! I love the bird with the bow.

  2. The printing is gorgeous. You should make the same style for yourself.

    1. ha ha, thanks! I'm not a big bird print kind of person, but maybe I should be?!

  3. A very pretty dress and I do like A's idea of the bird wearing the bow.

  4. Thanks for the detailed tutorial - that will help me with figuring out the sparse instructions in my Japanese sewing books too! And of course a bird should wear a bow! Looks great and really comfortable.

    1. I'm glad I finally documented it, as the number of times I've tried to figure out, again, which is the front and which is the back in Japanese. At least it's here now. Hope it's useful.

  5. What book did you use for the pocket technique?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I've got this identical technique in a couple of books, the adult one that my culottes were from, but that's so nineties and obscure I couldn't reference it. The kids book with this technique is " A Sunny Spot" http://www.japanesesewingbooks.com/2015/05/26/book-review-girls-simple-clothes-by-a-sunny-spot/

    2. Ooohh, I have that book! Thank you.

  6. This is a very, very pretty frock.

    1. thanks. It was one of those sews where I wanted to use up long stashed fabric, sew a pattern I wanted to sew, and whether she ever wears or likes the dress is irrelevant!


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