Parade Catastrophe

parade dress all2

It’s a good thing that I bought 9 yards of  Michael Miller’s Children on Parade fabric, because I think I will need every inch of it to get one dress to look like  Cheryle’s.   I’m sure she is SuperWoman for stitching such a perfect little garment. I won’t bore you with the painful details of the errors made while trying to duplicate her pretty little parade dress.  Most of my mistakes were the result of my jumping in, both feet first, without checking the depth of the water.


Suffice it to say that the disastrous frock shown above is my second attempt.  But I will share some of the things I learned about the fabric (Michaael Miller’s Children on Parade), this pattern (Children’s Corner Jenni Leigh), and the Emergency First Responder product (Carbona’s Dye Magnet) which kept my most recent attempt from ending up in the trash can (where perhaps it should be anyway).  This is definitely a dig-in-the-sandbox/romp-at-the-playground kind of garment.


parade back

Children on Parade fabric notes:

  • The double border runs parallel to the selvage on each side but the parade goes in opposite directions on each side.
  • The distance from the selvage to the bottom of the print is greater on one side than on the other.
  • The print will shadow through on the front facings if it is not replaced with solid from the center of the yardage
    (which I did, twice).
  • The color is a creamy white, not ivory as described at  The background color on the three pieces I ordered from three different vendors were identical.  All matched perfectly.
  • I took a cue from one of Jo’s projects  and added a label made from the selvage.  Coincidentally, Children on Parade is from the same fabric line as Jo’s dress.label


Children’s Corner Jenni Leigh pattern notes: My 30 year old pattern is the original version and I really need a larger size.    After a web search, I found the original Jenni Leigh at Baltazors and  then found that it has since been combined with  CC Carol and is called Aprons at that store.  I expect this is an updated, improved pattern.  But it has not yet arrived so I cannot compare the two. Now that I know the pattern has been renamed Aprons, I have found that it is available at Children’s Corner Store. under the name Carol Aprons.  All the notations below refer to my original size 18 months pattern.

  • The finished neck measurement is a mere 9 1/2″.  When I realized this while working on my second Jenni Leigh, I moved the buttons and left the glaring gap at the neckline in an effort to accommodate Vivian Rose’s 11″ neck.   As a result of this, my Herculean effort to match the pattern at the hemline was for naught.  Additionally, the two front hemlines didn’t meet so the hem on the button side front had to be dropped, but still they don’t match.  The center front is skewed and the feet of the two groups of parading children are marching on different planes.
  • While the pattern front shows a distinctly curved hemline, the curve is very gentle until approximately 1.5 inches before the side seams.  Keeping the hem even and the feet of the parading children an equal distance from the hem bottom at the side seams was frustrating, and, in my case, unsuccessful.  I won’t even get started on the difficulty of  trying to match the print.  On my next try, I will begin the curve sooner to avoid the dramatic upturn at the side seams.  This would not be such a problem with fabric which is not a border print.
  • The pattern calls for a 3″ hem.  Because Baby Girl won’t be wearing this size long enough to require a let-down hem, I allowed for just 2″, thinking it would be easier to turn up the hem.  SI think it was, but still, it was very challenging at the side seams where the curve was most pronounced.
  • The finished dress length, as shown on the pattern front, is very short. Jenni Leigh pattIn retrospect, I should have lengthened the pattern pieces.  Actually, I prefer this very short length for toddlers, but this finished garment is too short even to cover Vivian Rose’s bulky cloth diapers.    To compensate I made bloomers.


  • parade open bloomers


If I had had my wits about me, I would have ordered the matching microcheck from Farmhouse Fabrics when I ordered the piping and buttons.  But I had a bit of this 1/4″ gingham on hand and deemed the match close enough for a sandbox outfit.  The ruffles are skimpy, but this remnant allowed for no more fullness.  And again, I remind you that this is an every day, puddle stomping kind of  outfit, certainly not worthy of another mail order.



Finally, this was the greatest catastrophe of all……..bleeding.  Actually, more like hemorrhaging.


When I plundered through my assortment of perle cotton, I came across a ball without a label.  The texture and size were not like the DMC perle but I assumed since it was in the same box, it was the same.  BIG MISTAKE!

I liked the coral/red color and proceeded to weave it through the holes made with an empty #120 needle in the starched fabric of the collar, cuffs and belt. After rinsing the blue marks from the fabric I left Jenni Leigh hanging to dry overnight.   I was appalled when I saw that the alien cord had bled all over the collar, cuffs and belt! This was not something that could be ignored, even for a sandbox dress.

Fortunately, I remembered this product, Carbona’s Dye Magnet, which was purchased a few years ago at the suggestion of my sister-in-law and sitting unopened, on a shelf in the wash house. dye magnetI ripped open the box, plunged the dress into tepid water with some liquid dish detergent and submerged the dye magnet cloth, which is similar to a terry wash cloth.  The dress and cloth were swished and squished and agitated by hand for a few minutes. Then it was apparent that the pink bleed was gone!  The magnet cloth had a distinctly pink tint.  I threw the dress into the dryer and Voila’!  There was no evidence of the bleeding!

The dress was quickly pressed and rushed outside to be photographed.  By then, it was dinner time for my 3 orange marmalade feral cats and they pestered me unmercifully, weaving in and out of my feet as I tried to take the photos.  In the process of pushing Rusty-cat away as he clawed into my shorts (and my leg), the dress was wrinkled and shifted on the hanger.




Still, I think you can see enough detail to recognize that this is NOT like Cheryle’s dress at all. As soon as that new pattern arrives, I can start on my third Children on Parade Jenni Leigh, my third attempt to make one just like Cheryle’s.

I hope I have enough fabric.

Mary Engelbreit

16 responses to “Parade Catastrophe

  1. Galloping horses, Janice. I think your version is darling, despite your setbacks, and when your dgd is running around, having a ball, nobody will notice anything but how cute she is. 🙂

  2. What a story! No wonder we haven’t been hearing from you. I could feel your pain with each sentence, having been in a situation like that many times myself. That fabric and the final outcome was worth the effort though……wasn’t it? At least to those of us who enjoy your Blogs, it is a great garment. Thanks again for all your effort.

  3. Oh, what trials this dress has caused you, Janice! It is darling and will look adorable with those cute panties on Vivian Rose. I must tell you how grateful I am for all the information on the sewing of this pattern with this particular fabric. I fell in love with the dress when you highlighted it last week. I even ordered the fabric to replicate this dress and I already had the original Jenni Leigh pattern but had never used it. In fact, my fabric arrived yesterday. My plan had been just to put it in the ‘grandmother’s stash’ to ‘mellow’ until needed but now I think I need to make this dress this summer while all your info is fresh. I was wondering what size Cheryl’s original dress was and thinking that perhaps that had something to do with how difficult matching the border was on the front and sides of the dress. I am was wondering if lining the dress and eliminating the facings would help the hemming and shaddow-through. Lining the dress would also increase the hem by 2.5 inches if it is cut on the original cutting lines. I bought 3 yards of the print and was wondering what the shrinkage was for you.

  4. Oh my! I have not cut into my COP fabric yet, but love this in spite of the cat-a-strophes!

  5. Thanks for the reassurance, Claire. This little tot certainly does run around and rarely stands still. And yet, I’d like to think that when our galloping horse does halt, the dress looks good.

  6. Shirley, I’m glad to know you missed me! There certainly was a lot of pain in this little frock and I am glad it (v.2.0) is finished. I’ve decided that v.3.0 will be in a larger size.

  7. Karen, I’m glad to know that posting my pain might be helpful to you and others tackling this project. Karen, you have some great ideas! I think lining it would be a wonderful solution to the ornery hem turn, needed extra length, and shadow show on the facing. I wonder if it would work to line only the fronts, as the back has a 3″ inverted pleat which would be a little bulky with two layers. Hummmmmm… I’m not sure of the size of Cheryle’s dress, but the balloons were much, much lower on the dress, so the pattern pieces must have been considerably longer-or she lengthened it. You’ve given me a lot to think about before I tackle version 3! Thanks!

  8. Thanks, Alicia. I’m glad you have the fabric and look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  9. Thanks, Alicia. It’s hard not to love almost anything made with this fabric. With all the catastrophes, this post was a painful write for me. Because of all the catastrophes, I hope it wasn’t nearly as painful to read.

  10. Your tale of the parade fabric dress is as amusing as any. I’m going to take a different approach in my comments and say “Let the dream dress go…” If it were me, the dress would no longer be fun, it would be work. I suggest you put the supplies away until your grand baby is bigger and the two of you can talk about the fabric while you sew and the dress will have meaning for her too. If it’s play clothes you want, make something simple and fun and stress-free. Heck, you can even use some of your stash of parade fabric for the simple dress and still have enough left for the dream dress farther down the line. At least I hope so, I certainly do not want to start another round of purchases.

  11. Ah, Mary Sue, these are words of wisdom. I have refocused and have just begun a simple little play outfit using CC Ruthie and CC Parker’s Pants. I think waiting until she is older (bigger) is a better plan than trying to make all the matching, etc., accommodations on such a small garment.

  12. As always, it is adorable. We are our own worst critics!

  13. Judy’s right; you are your own worst critic! It’s absolutely adorable! I’m certain Vivian will be sweet as can be in this nana-made. (I’m tickled pink that you copied the little selvage label!)

  14. Actually, Jo, Judy is right–WE (that would be Judy, YOU, and I) are our own worst critics. Both of you are extremely meticulous sewists and so critical of your own projects that I know you understand my perspective.

  15. I thought about this post a lot last week. I decided I had to have a piece of fabric from another Sarah Jane collection. I couldn’t find it anywhere online. Searched and searched and searched and finally found the right print in what I thought was the right color way. Surprise! I didn’t realize that the same background color had two differently colored versions of the print motif. Back to the internet, score! Found the right background color with the right motif color. Fabric arrived quickly, the seller sent the wrong fabric! Luckily, they still had the right combination of colors in stock and the mistake was quickly corrected. Unfortunately, my daughter’s military training plans have changed and I won’t see her for months to fit the pattern. More time for anticipating the fun of making the dress?

  16. Oh, Mary Sue, what a tale of frustration!!!! You sound like an optimistic gal who sees the glass half full. I bet you will grin ear to ear when the right fabric shows up!

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