Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. We had a few issues here at home that needed worked out, plus I have a new job, so both things have had my full attention lately. 🙂
I’m glad to be back and to be sharing with you! The project I’ll be sharing today is one that I thought up on a whim and managed to bring to life rather quickly. My daughter had an old holiday dress from her baby years that she never fit into at the right point in time, so it never got worn. It was a gorgeous dress, with a velvet bodice, red bow and sash and red woven skirt over a black tulle skirt. There are little black velvet inlays in the skirt as well. The dress has sat in my “to do” basket forever, it seems. I wanted to find a way to repurpose it and show it off, while giving her something precious to wear for this holiday season. Enter the Isla.
I have seen the Isla infinity tunic and dress pattern from the Simple Life Pattern Company all over my news feed since it was released last year. It features a regular, high or drop waist, fully lined bodice, optional flutter sleeves and a circle skirt. The best part about the pattern (in my opinion) is that there is a cutout on the back of the bodice. The standard shape that comes with the pattern is a heart shape, but you can join the Simple Life Pattern Company’s facebook group and download more shapes, like lightning bolts, Christmas trees, deer antlers and more!
The pattern is for sizes 2T- girls’ 12. Every single time I’ve seen it done, it has been beautiful. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to use it for the bodice of my daughter’s holiday dress. For the skirt, the pattern calls for a full circle skirt, so I simply removed the circle skirts from the old dress and took off the waistband/belt, then attached them to the bodice when the time came.
The process of sewing it up was simple enough, when I sat down and actually READ through the directions. For those of you who are like me and prefer to skim…don’t do that here! The directions are well thought out and essential to the garment construction. In other words, you can’t just half butt your way through it and get a decent result. I know this because I tried to skim through the directions at first and began sewing, only to have to go back and redo the bodice pieces a couple times. Because of the open middle piece and the fact that it is a lined bodice, there is a bit of flipping and folding involved. I would definitely rate this pattern an intermediate one. It isn’t something I could have achieved in the beginning of my sewing career. 🙂
I used a thin sweater knit from Walmart to create the exterior of the bodice and a simple black cotton lycra for the lining layer. Another recommendation? Skip the thin stuff and save yourself a headache. 🙂 Think structured fabrics. The shoulder ruffle was done in a piece I took from the skirt bows in the original dress. I connected the bodice and skirt by simply stretching to fit, although the two lined up almost perfectly, so that was wonderful. I added a bit of elastic to the waist to help hold the skirt in place, too, since I made a size 2T, which she just barely fits into. I wanted to leave room for the growth that will inevitably take place between now and Christmas.
I am in love with this dress! I couldn’t be happier with the end result. I feel like I learned a few new techniques, as well, which is always fun. The opening in the back of the bodice is something I can see myself repeating in the future, as I love the unique look!
I loved the way this Isla turned out, I went right ahead and just made another. I was recently asked to sew a few strike offs up for the ladies at Konstant Krafters Fabrics, so I set about creating an Isla from the diaper panels I received to sew up. The second time around, I only had a small bit of fabric, so I created a tunic length Isla with the bodice that sits a bit higher. I used a stretch woven for the bodice lining. While I said to think “structured fabrics” for the Isla…stretch woven isn’t the best choice. The tunic fit her perfectly and looks beautiful, but it has no stretch at all, which makes getting it on and off a chore. Despite that issue, I love how my second version came out. The glitter print sparkles and shows off the abstract heart print. I also love that I did a heart cutout to coincide with the hearts on the fabric. It’s the little things, right?
I have also discovered that I need to learn to create a V shape better. I love V necks and think I’m fairly good at them, so I assumed I would be able to create a heart shape with no issue. NOTSOMUCH. haha. They look good (thanks to the directions!), but the v shape in the top middle is still something to work on. If you have any tips for me on that, please leave them in the comments below? I would appreciate it!
This pattern is definitely one of my new favorites. I keep pulling it out and asking myself “how many Islas is too many?” But I’m almost certain that the answer is “there are never enough!” I look forward to using it many more times in the future.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if there is any content you would like to see in the future!
Until next time,
Sewing and swimming,
April Simpson Hunt