Maggie Bunch has created a new classic with her Ode to Joy pattern. I love everything about this dress–quick smocking, easy construction, use of coordinating print and the comfort of a pull-on dress or playtop with no buttons to fuss with. It is smocked front and back with only about 90 pleats sleeve to sleeve.
Ode to Joy was first taught by Maggie as a class project at Sewing at the Beach and she is now offering it as an on-line sew-along class. She has given several sew-along, smock-along classes, reasonably priced at $25. They are a bargain at any price.
Step by step, Maggie sews along with you and posts even more detailed photos in the process. She is also is available to answer questions. The class begins mid- June. Registration is limited so if you are interested, check it out ASAP on her website here.
I learned so much making this little dress. Sewing and smocking on a border print requires some special considerations and Maggie addressed them all. Reading how she adjusts the garment pattern to accommodate the border fabric pattern others was so comforting. I don’t EVER want to go through trying to match side seams and the front button closure as I did on CC Jenni Leigh. Now I can figure out a way to match the print more easily on most patterns.
Note the side seam near the yellow dashed line.
I first saw this dress made up in the same Michael Miller Swan Lake fabric on one of the smocking/heirloom sewing lists and just fell in love with it. I wish I could recall who made the dress so I could thank her for the inspiration. The dress was modeled by an absolutely adorable, curly red-haired child. I HAD to make it. Already, my plate was full to overflowing, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
Locating the fabric required an hour-long internet search. Everyone, it seemed, was sold out of this charming print. Finally, I located a shop in Washington state which had both Swan Lake and the coordinating print in stock.
Vivian has been adamant that she only likes garments with kitty cats, hearts and rainbows. To my surprise, the success of the pink bishop for which I had no hope, was due to the fact that there were hearts in the smocking. Hearts in the smocking? I can do that!
You can see that the Swan Lake smocking is heavy with hearts, just what Vivi loves. I expect she will wear this dress quite happily. She arrives her on Memorial Day for a week of Nana Camp. Film at 11.
Meanwhile, I sent the photo of the little red-haired girl wearing the dress to my Rebecca and gave her some persuasive arguments to convince 4 yo Vivi that this was the dress for her. Yeah!
“Tell Nana no thanks. I only like dresses with kitty cats, hearts or rainbows.”
Rebecca went to persuasion #1. “Nana says if you will wear this dress and be happy, she will then make you another kitty cat dress.”
Vivi: “Tell her to just make the kitty cat dress.”
Rebecca went to persuasion #2: “Nana really wants to make this swan dress and if you don’t want it she will give it to Eloise (our pastor’s 4 yo daughter).”
Vivi: ” Ok, ok, ok. I’ll wear the dress and be happy. I don’t want Eloise to get the kitty cat dress.”
The fine print of that proposal went right over her curly head. Whew!