Sewing Baboosh dresses for my kids

Greetings and salutations fellow makers and curiosity seekers. I'm back with another photo review of another make. I am so proud of my sewing journey. Every project I have made so far has taught me a new lesson.

This week we are going to discuss the Baboosh Skater Dress and the Baboosh Pinafore Dress. I purchased these sewing patterns in March when I was super hyped about sewing clothes for myself and the girls, but didn't have a lot of experience choosing patterns.

We will start with the Baboosh company. This small indie sewing pattern company has their own website, as well as an etsy store. The patterns come in printed format and in downloadable format, they also finished garments (pre-covid) as well as sewing kits. I purchased the paper patterns, so I will be speaking to those.

To begin with, the sizes are not stacked on top of one another as you normally see in a sewing pattern, instead all sizes are drawn separately. They are done that way so you can cut out each pattern piece individually without having to trace, thereby ending up with the same pattern that you can use for each age/stage of your child's growth without ever having to trace. I personally found it kind of annoying, and actually missed a couple pieces when I was tracing ( #teamtrace ) my pattern pieces. I realized it when I was laying my cut pieces out and had to go back to the pattern to find the pieces I missed.

The other thing I found out about these patterns is that they do not include seam allowances. I was equal parts pleased and annoyed about this. Up until now every sewing pattern I have used has included seam allowances, ranging anywhere from 1/4" to 5/8". I liked that I got to decided how much of a seam allowance to include, but it was time consuming acurately adding 5/8" around everything, and I probably screwed upon the shoulders of the pinafore dress, which led to some trouble when I was sewing everything together. Unfortunately, there really is not enough space between the individual pattern pieces to cut them out with any kind of a seam allowance, which is why I decided to trace the pieces out. I included a 5/8" seam allowance on all my pattern pieces, as I am not used to working with knit jersey fabric and wasn't sure if the cut edges were going to roll, making it a challenge to sew on my machine. I was pleasantly surprised that the fabric did not roll when I cut it out.

Neither the skater dress or the pinafore dress included a pocket option. My kids are kids and they want to carry things around with them, so I included an inseam pocket made with contrasting fabric on both dresses. I just traced out an inseam pocket piece I had from one of my own dresses and increased the seam allowance by 1/4" to a total of 5/8" to make the pockets more child-sized. I had purchased enough fabric to make 2 dresses for each girl, so I just swapped the dress fabric to make the contrasting pockets, and on the pinafore dress the contrasting fabric was used for the neck and armhole binding as well. The dress instructions called for knit rib binding for the armholes and neck holes, but I just cut out leftover dress fabric on the bias, and found that worked fairly well.

Both dresses were fairly straightforward to make, the instructions were decent enough for someone like me; I consider myself to be an advanced beginner at this point. The instructions did not come separately from the pattern, they were printed on a corner of the pattern page. This was a little troublesome when I had to refer back to the instructions as I had to keep a giant sheet of paper lying around folded up, and unfold it in order to refer to the sewing instructions.

The sizing for the smaller dresses seemed fairly spot on, as my 5 year old measured for a size 5/6 dress. When I made the skater dress for my older daughter I ran into a problem though. She is eight years old, but is currently a little bit "barrel chested", so she actually topped out in the largest size the pattern offers, which is considered a 10/12. I made a small adjustment to the chest measurement because dresses tend to be tight in the underarm area for her, and if they are tight enough to rub, she is prone to get friction blisters in that area. I know that children grow at different rates, and I know my children, so this wasn't a problem other than the fact that there isn't another, larger size to make this dress in for her next year.

With the pinafore dress, the shoulder seams overlap at an angle, this makes the neckhole able to stretch without stretching out. The sewing instructions want you to mark the fabric to line up the overlapping fabric, but after I sewed on the neck edging, we essentially had 6 layers of fabric overlapping on the point where her neck meets her shoulder. I did try to trim back as much fabric as I could without affecting the stability of the sewn seams. Unfortunately something got lost in translation and my marks disappeared underneath the seams, so I had to wing the placement of the shoulder seams the best that I could. I can tell that area is a little uncomfortable for my 5 year old because she plucks at the fabric there occasionally when she is wearing the dress.

Despite the challenges I experienced making these dresses. all three of us were quite happy with the finished garments. The twirly factor of the circle skirts on the skater dress, combined with the functionality of having real pockets may have been the highlight of the dresses. For these kids, these dresses are secret pajamas: they are loose, stretchy, and comfy, while looking fashionable enough to wear to church, and rugged enough to play in. I just have to remember to check the pockets before the dresses end up in the wash!

I will definitely be making more of the skater dresses, but I probably won't bother with the pinafore dress again, the shoulder seams were just too much of a hassle for me.

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