Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Dress for Cate

I have no more than a very small amount of Irish blood (practically miniscule), but my husband is half Irish which makes my daughter a quarter Irish.  Therefore I have deemed it necessary for her to have St. Patrick's Day outfits.

 The pattern I used for this year's St. Pat's Day dress is the Scottie Dress by My Childhood Treasures.   I used kelly green gingham for the dress and white muslin for the lining.  The buttons on the shoulder tabs are orange.  I left off the Scottie dogs and added a green grosgrain ribbon near the hem instead.  My plan had been to add some orange buttons as embellishments around the ribbon (and I may still do that) but I ran out of time.  I tried to get the gingham checks to line up at the side seams with limited success.  Being my first foray into lining up patterns at the seams, I didn't expect it to be perfect. Fortunately, few people would notice such a thing on a toddler's dress, which makes it the perfect venue for practicing that sort of thing.  I got the headband from the dollar bins at Target.  The tops say "Kiss Me" on the front and "I'm Irish" on the back.  She was surprisingly amenable to wearing the headband.  I half expected her to take it off almost immediately after I put it on, but she wore it for a solid 15 minutes--practically an eternity in toddler time.

 This was the first chance I've had to put my money where my mouth is regarding cheap fashion.  Last year, I purchased a very cute outfit from Carter's.  I was very, very tempted to do it again this year.  In the short term, there doesn't seem to be much benefit from having really good quality toddler clothing.  The cost of purchasing the materials for this dress probably equaled that of buying a cute St. Patrick's day t-shirt.  I did purposefully not use St. Patrick's day specific fabric which gives it more longevity than a St. Pat's t-shirt, but Cate will still grow out of this dress by the end of the summer at the very latest.  She's too young to feel warm fuzzies at the thought of wearing clothes that her mommy made just for her.  I get warm fuzzies about making clothes for Cate, but that is counter-balanced by the fact that I stayed up until 1:30AM finishing the thing and I still need to make her Easter dress (strong family tradition for making Christmas and Easter dresses).  So, beyond sentimentality, we aren't going to reap any benefits from this dress 6 months from now, unless we have another little girl (highly doubtful).


Cate has a little cousin who is almost exactly one year younger and we can pass the dress on to her.  And after that little girl wears it, if it's still in good condition, it can get passed to another little girl, and so on.  If we had ample storage, I would even be tempted to save it for a future granddaughter.  I knew of a woman in grad school whose daughter was wearing the same handmade dresses she wore as a little girl.  So, while it's true that this dress cost the same as the t-shirt I might have bought, and Cate's going to grow out of it fairly quickly, it's still worth it to make a durable, good quality dress, because it's going to last much longer than that hypothetical t-shirt and hopefully be worn by many little girls before it heads to the recycle bin.

Now, lest you think I am trying to run for eco-sainthood, I confess that I did buy the white t-shirt she is wearing under the dress, and at Target, no less.  Not exactly a bastion of durable, ethically made clothing.  What can I say, she didn't own any plain white t-shirts and I panicked because I didn't have time to make one or to try to find a good quality, eco-friendly one.  I'm just starting out on this responsible fashion journey and it's going to take awhile to get into the swing of things.

I do feel good about my decision to make Cate's dress and I see her wearing it a lot the next few months.  I want to make a couple more from the same pattern after I get her Easter dress finished and I've got a stash of cute quilting cotton that will be perfect for them.  I definitely want to make one with the Scottie dog appliques, too.  After that, I want to tackle a couple Oliver + S patterns.  I've got the Bubble Dress and the Apple Picking Dress patterns already, so I guess I'll start with those and go from there.

Finally, I leave you with one last picture of Cate:

Couldn't you just die from the cuteness?!

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