Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Norah Dress Pattern Tour

I am so excited to get to participate in Hayley's of Mouse House Creation's pattern tour for her Norah Dress and Tunic pattern!

When I first started sewing children's clothing about six years ago, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a bunch of commercial patterns. I knew nothing about sewing clothing and with each of those patterns I got about as far as cutting out the pattern (that, at least, I could do!) and soon thereafter would get stuck, frustrated, and either sew up something sloppy or give up. The directions and terminology did not make sense no matter how many times I read it.

But even the few ugly things I made got me hooked on sewing and I was determined to learn how to make my own patterns. With the help of books (specifically this one) and practice, I created my own patterns and basically made up my own directions and way of putting things together that made sense to me. And since then I have rarely bought a pattern and just opt to draw things out on my own.


The children's sewing community has come so far in the past six years. Sewing blogs, free tutorials, and some really awesome independent pattern designers have revolutionized sewing for children. Is it too dramatic to say that? I feel it's true.

For example, if I could have had Hayley's Norah Dress pattern six years ago with its step-by-step directions including pictures and easy to understand wording, I know I would have been successful even as a newbie. Not to mention her design is adorable and allows for so much creativity and options. It was such a pleasure to sew up her pattern that I plan on buying her newest pattern, an adorable women's cardigan. No one can have too many cardigans.

Back to my Norah Dress. There are so many options with this dress... collar, no collar, no sleeves, short sleeves, long sleeves, dress length, tunic length. And bonus there is a cute little slit in the back which means you don't have to sew in a zipper or anything! I knew I had to make a dress using the perfectly sized peter pan collar but wanted to embellish the collar in some way. Which lead to me sewing a total of 68 buttonholes in this dress! And only one button. I should have called this "The 68 Buttonhole Dress" because I can almost guarantee that it won't be happening again.

Using some fuzzy soft red velveteen, some fusible interfacing, and an iron I made long velveteen ribbon tapes that I weaved in and out of those 68 buttonholes around the collar, sleeves, and across the back. I've never sewn with velveteen before and was a bit nervous how it would wash, iron, etc., but the care for it was super easy. It washed and dried up nicely and I even ironed right on top of it because I just don't have time for press cloths. It looks good as new. I used more red velveteen to color block the pieces on the bottom.

The only thing I did differently with the pattern was cut the sleeves mid-length, right about in the middle of the short sleeve and long sleeve length. It's just not very practical to have many long sleeves in Phoenix, even in the winter, because come afternoon you will still probably be turning the A/C on in your car. But I thought the mid-length sleeves would still give it a fall/winter look.

Here is a close up of those buttonholes. Luckily my machine makes automatic buttonholes with a fancy foot that does all the work for me. I just place it, push down on the pedal, and watch the magic happen. A perfect hole every time.

I loved this pattern and the fit was perfect! Thanks for including me Hayley!

Stay tuned with the pattern tour and see what all these other talented ladies did with the pattern...


  1. So cute and I love the button holes!!! I'm glad you participated in the tour! I told Hayley you were my fave during your PR&P season! :)

  2. I love what you did with this dress. The skinny tie leading through the buttonholes was brilliant! so glad you are back to blogging

  3. The dress is darling Cherise! You are so creative! I love that buttonhole idea. Except my machine does terrible buttonholes. What machine do you use? I was trained to design ladies wear but had no experience with children and that book helped me out a lot too. I remember those big 4 patterns. What I hated about them was the fit. They were always so huge on my daughters.

  4. Beautiful post, daughter and dress. Perfect!!

  5. Perfection!!!! I adore this version - and your daughter is so beautiful!

  6. I honestly can't get over how amazingly beautiful this whole thing is... your daughter, your photography, your sewing... everything! Like RaeAnna said, you were absolutely one of my most favorite PRP contestants ever... thank you SO SO much for joining my tour, Chelise!

  7. 68 buttonholes! Far out this is awesome! Is this a record for most buttonholes on one outfit? The dress is gorgeous and was certainly worth the hassle :)

  8. WOWZERS!! This is wonderful...and time-consuming...and flat-out amazing!