Here's the (overly long) story of this dress.
A few weeks ago, I came across this Bible verse:
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17, NIV
It really hit home with me and an idea struck me that I would like to literally wrap my little H up in those precious words. I thought it would also be pretty neat for her to be clothed in a loving Biblical message that I had written out in my own hand. So here's how I did it. It was really simple and fun!
First, I figured out what translation I wanted to use. It surprised me how different they all were! I liked the sound of regular old NIV the best. Then I got out some plain copier paper and a calligraphy marker and wrote it out a few times until I had it the way I liked it. (I did make a ruled guide to put under the paper so my lines would be at least mostly straight... because my first few tries were a hilly mess!)
Made a scan, then signed up for a Spoonflower account. I decided the black and white might be a little stark for a one-year-old! So I used their super-simple tools to change the colors to a deep purple background with light lavender writing (although it's VERY light lavender so it kind of reads as white). It only took a few minutes, and I was really happy with the result. Then I ordered a yard of Kona cotton.
I was REALLY impressed when the fabric arrived a few days later. It is a thick but soft quilting cotton -- really high quality. Between the customization and the quality, it is definitely deserving of the not-insignificant price tag. (With shipping, just under $20 for the one yard.) I also didn't notice any fading after I washed it. Even with such a deep purple! Impressive! (It's a slightly deeper purple than the photo below would lead you to believe.)
I wanted to keep the dress girly but simple, since the color and pattern are bold. So I used this bodice pattern, which slips over the head with no closures. (Actually, I paid for it on another site and then found it free at BurdaStyle two days later, aargh! That link is the free one.) The pattern started at 2T, and I needed a 12 month size, but it's a simple pattern with very evenly spaced lines for each size, so I just drew my own 12 month line inside the 2T line and cut. Then I cut two big rectangles about twice the width of the bodice by around 14 inches long.
I pretty much stuck with the dress designer's tutorial, except I used two rectangles for the skirt, so I had side seams instead of a back seam. It went okay ... but just okay. The bodice part was pretty simple, although making it smaller than the pattern meant the armhole wouldn't fit over the arm of the sewing machine, so I had to go really slowly there. Where I ran into trouble was gathering the skirt. The Kona cotton is REALLY thick, and my skirt piece was really wide, so gathering it wasn't easy. It felt like I was trying to gather canvas! Okay, that's an exaggeration, but still. I used the plain old bobbin thread method, and if I made this dress again, I would definitely use the fishing line method described in the tutorial. I think it would be a lot easier for a heavier fabric like this. Anyway, it turned out all right, although it's definitely one of those "as long as nobody looks too closely" situations. The inside is a total mess. Even though I made the bodice smaller than the pattern, it's still a little big on H, so I think it's a bit too loose for her to wear by itself right now, but I think it looks pretty sweet as a jumper over the undershirt I made with this pattern.
Is it a little weird looking? Maybe. I can't decide. But I hope one day when H is older, she finds it, recognizes that I made it for her with love, and takes its message to heart.