Wednesday, 8 January 2014

the portabellopixie gracie dress

My little girl is into twirling at the moment. Well, dancing, twirling and whizzy dizzies to be more precise. Somehow, up until now, her wardrobe has been lacking in skirts and dresses with a decent amount of twirl factor. So when Christmas was approaching, I thought a proper twirling dress would make the perfect present.

Enter the Portabellopixie: Gracie pattern. I've had this pattern sitting in the stash for a little while and decided it was about time to pull it out and make it this year's Christmas dress. I really like Sandi's design on this one. Ruffles can be dangerous territory to venture in. It's easy with gathers and ruffles to get carried away and turn what should be a cute girl's dress into something that resembles a big, poofy, toilet roll cover. But I think the lovely close fitting bodice on this pattern, coupled with a tidy round yoke stops that from happening. It looks incredibly pretty on a little dancing toddler.

I'd read a few reviews on the pattern, where others had noted that the pattern measures small and it really does. I made "View B" of the dress and according the measurements on the back of the pattern, the size 3 should have been a very generous fit for my daughter. I thought I'd make the size 4 to be on the safe side and while it does fit, it won't for long. The bodice is very narrow and it's also a short dress, that actually looks more like a top to be worn over trousers (more so than it looks on the pattern cover).  So I made her another version from a purple Hello Kitty print teamed with some Denyse Schmidt, in a size 5 so she'd have one with a bit more grow room in it. She loves them both and wore them all through the Christmas holidays, never wanting to take them off.

There is a lot of fabric in these dresses. Almost 3 yards. Those tiers have some serious gathering going on. It does make for an awesome twirl factor though and wins me bonus points in the mummy stakes with my little one! 

I made a few changes to the pattern (apart from upsizing). I added about an inch or more of length to each of the gathers to make the dress longer. I also didn't follow Sandi's instructions for the yoke. I simply attached the yoke as I have previously done on similarly styled dresses (using stay stitching, clipping the curves, ironing and lots of pinning). As ever I was super grateful that I own an overlocker (serger) to finish the hem. Oh the epic hem! Almost all 4 yards of it! My overlocker made light work of it though with a super tidy rolled hem finish.


  1. Ha ha. I was agreeing they blessedly didn't look like toilet roll covers right up until that last photo!
    Very sweet dresses, and yes, we've hit the age of twirliness too. Looks like a great pattern

    1. hehehe! Yes that last photo shows them in all their poofy glory :) Thankfully they never actually look like this on though, not even at "fult tilt twirl" as my kids like to call it! I'm not normally into ruffly things at all, but I think this is a nice pattern. The bodice is so close fitting and small that it offsets the skirt part of the dress. My little one got lots of compliments on it and she thought she was it-and-a-bit in it!!


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