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by April Henry

Today I had a bit of fun embellishing my daughter's latest uniform jumper. As you know, SweetPea and Cowboy are required to wear uniforms at the school they attend. So, to make the sewing and wearing a bit more fun, using the Oliver + S Tea Party Dress (jumper) pattern, I added some embellishments and a "secret" lining. (SweetPea picked out "Sleeping Beauty" as the fabric for the lining - let's just hope she doesn't decide to use it as the subject for her next show-n-tell.)


I used a designer cotton sueded twill fabric throughout. The size 5 runs quite short for SweetPea's height, so I added six inches to the overall length by splicing the pattern and adding length in the middle. I probably could have gotten away with only adding four inches, but this way she will be able to wear it for a longer time period - I hope.
Using the narrower bias cutting lines on my rotary cutting mat as a guide, I cut several long strips of bias twill (strips were long enough to do each piped section of the garment). Next, folding the bias in half and inserting a narrow cord, I stitched my own piping to match the dress fabric with the Narrow Zipper Foot Attachment. Stitching right up next to the cording was quite easy! Just be a bit more careful with your fingers so as not to get them caught under the needle.
Because the Tea Party dress calls for a 1/2 inch seam and the piping ends up being only a 1/2 inch wide, I needed to off-set it by 1/8 inch and then basting on the 3/8 inch line. THEN, I was able to stitch the two sections together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance which reveals just the right amount of piping on the finished garment.

To finish the thick twill seams and to prevent shifting of all the layers, I did have to use a walking foot attachment. I also needed to grade all five fabric layers of the seam. This took quite a bit of time, but the finished result was well worth it, and my Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine top-stitched through all layers perfectly.
Being very, very careful in the pattern cutting process and then stitching oh-so-slowly for accuracy I was able to use a novelty print for the upper bodice lining that wouldn't be seen from the outside.

I accented with a coordinating pink polka dot for the hem-facing.

SweetPea loves this feature.

I accented with a coordinating pink polka dot for the hem-facing.

Now... to make another one.