KCW : mermaid playtime

sewing_machine_button_300_squareWell, this might win an award for the latest-ever Kid’s Clothes Week post.  I managed to complete about 90% of this outfit during the week but then getting that last bit done, photographed, and posted has taken quite a bit of time.  But here it is, an Oliver+S playtime dress and leggings:

Mermaid playtime : Lizzieville1

The leggings are 2T with a size 4 length.  The fit on the leggings is perfect.  The dress is 2T with quite a few inches added to the skirt.  I’d already traced off the 2T when I bought the pattern last fall and hated to retrace.  The dress fits fine now but I wish I’d used the 3T so it will fit next fall.

Mermaid playtime : Lizzieville2

I bought the fabric for the leggings on a bit of a whim.  Then I got home and realized that I didn’t have much to match this pumpkin color.  I did have one yard of this Michael Miller mermaid print and managed to squeeze out the dress by cutting the pockets out of a different fabric and cutting a shortened sleeve sideways to the grain.  For spring I actually prefer these shorter sleeves.

The only other modification I made was for the topstitching.  I originally was going to skip the topstitching entirely because I thought the mermaids already had enough going on.  But then I didn’t want the facings and pockets flapping around.  So instead of tracing the pieces on the front (I have a great fear that my supposedly-washable marker and tailor’s chalk will not wash out) I just did the topstitching from the back, keeping a consistent distance away from my serged edges.  Not perfect, but it worked.

Mermaid playtime : Lizzieville4

This was my first time completing an Oliver+S outfit as intended on the pattern.  Normally I make one or the other component, or both at separate times.  It felt like a nice accomplishment to plan and make an actual outfit.  And this project had a few other firsts as well:

1)  First time using a serger to finish the raw edges.  I followed Nicole’s tutorial for the playtime tunic and it was quite like having a sewing buddy at your side.  As always, the Oliver+S directions for this pattern are very clear but I really enjoyed having all of Nicole’s pictures and explanations to cross-check my interpretations and learn some new tips. It was especially helpful to see how Nicole switches between the serger and the sewing machine.  Using the serger made the inside of this dress so much prettier than my other creations.  I may not be able to go back to zigzagged seams, and this pattern doesn’t really lend itself to my go-to finish of french seams.

2)  First time using a double needle.  It worked fine for a bit and then broke into quite a few pieces while sewing the waistband.  Thankfully that part’s covered up by the dress as it’s quite a mess.  I hemmed the pants with a thin zig-zig stitch and wooly nylon thread in the bobbin and it worked relatively well.

3)  First time using snaps.  Once I got everything out and practiced a few rounds it was so easy.  I see more snaps in my future.

Mermaid playtime : Lizzieville5

5)  First time nearly ruining something with the serger.  On the very last step I managed to catch a couple sections of the bodice as I serged the waist seam.  Thankfully I was able to unpick the seam and miraculously none of the bodice had been cut by the knife.

Mermaid playtime : Lizzieville3 We’re both happy it worked out because this is a sweet little pattern.  It seems perfect for spring and fall when you’re not sure what the weather holds for you.  Great for an afternoon walk on a windy, rainy, spring afternoon.

Mermaid playtime : Lizzieville6

And that’s a wrap on spring Kid’s Clothes Week!  Five items completed and a handful more cut out and ready to sew.


10 thoughts on “KCW : mermaid playtime

  1. I can not tell you how much I love this outfit. It is so cute. And I am so impressed by all your firsts. I have only sewed snaps twice and one came out and I am afraid the other one will. Did the instructions explain how to do the snaps or did you figure it out your own or somewhere else? Would you recommend this as a first project for using my serger? I would practice first and I did actually use it for a bag once but that was almost two years ago). I actually have this pattern (I did make the leggings for Luke’s Halloween costume) and fabric to make this outfit. You are making me think I should give it a go before I start making summer clothes for Stella. I love E’s expression in the second to last photo.

    • Aw, thanks Christine! I had a few random sets of snaps (with instructions on the packages) and some snap pliers we picked up at thrift stores. They are fairly heavy duty metal snaps so I’m hoping they hold! I think using the serger for this dress would be a fine first project, but really the hardest part for me was threading the machine and switching out the foot. Then it was very easy… until the machine came unthreaded. I’d say go for it! And I’d check out Nicole’s tutorial. It’s nice to see how she does everything. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to help with my very limited serger knowledge!

  2. I love this outfit so much! I personally prefer it without the topstitching, like you did. It looks great and really changes the look, in my opinion. And I love the fabric you picked for the leggings. Such a great color! This outfit is awesome! 🙂

    • Thank you, Rachel! It was fun to work with some different colors. The legging fabric was from a fabric store near me that often sells remnants from clothing manufacturing. I grabbed this fabric and a few other nice knits from a table marked as “juicy couture” remnants, which made me laugh.

  3. This is so cute!!!! I really love the shorter sleeves on the Playtime dress! And I love your list of firsts – I have learned that there is NOTHING more dangerous than trying to finish the gathered seam of a dress like this with the serger. I need to learn how to disengage the blade on my serger, bc I have ruined several items that way, and it’s always at the very end, when you’ve labored over the dress for ages and you want to cry and hide.

    • Thank you! Once I realized I didn’t have enough fabric I tried to copy the length of the sleeves on the Sally Dress. And I’m so sorry you’ve had the same serger problem with finishing the gathered seams! Although now I’m fully warned that this wasn’t just a random thing and I’ll have to be extra vigilant in the future! I wonder how tricky it is to disengage the knife…. that’d be worth looking into. Because I definitely would have done some crying!

  4. Oh its gorgeous!
    Thank you for the compliments, I love the thought of a sewing companion.
    I am still very nervous when finishing with my overlocker, it is super fast and growly and every now and then the clutch sticks and it doesn’t stop! Scares the whoops out of me!

    You little girl is so cute.

    • Thanks, Nicole! And thanks for the excellent tutorial. It was perfect timing, as your tutorial came out right before I was able to work this one. And an overlocker that won’t stop sounds like something I’d have nightmares about! Hope it’s cooperating for you these days.

  5. I have this pattern and I am getting ready to sew it for the first time. Your version is so adorable (I realize this is an older post). I had to ask–did you just chop the sleeve piece down ?? I love this sleeve length

    • Thank you! I really enjoyed making this one. I did shorten the length of the sleeves. If I recall it was largely because I didn’t have enough fabric to make them full sized. Happy sewing!!

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