Marc Jacobs Cotton Baby Dress

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress During my last trip to Mood Fabric LA, I wandered down the cotton print aisle.  Right there, amid the floral cotton voiles and yarn-dyed shirtings, this Marc Jacobs print practically jumped into my arms (click HERE for a huge assortment of Marc Jacobs designer fabrics from Moodfabrics.com).  When it comes to cotton prints, I first need to fall in love with the print, then I need to fall in love with the hand of the fabric.  I would best describe this fabric as a lightweight cotton gauze. It has a floatiness to it that I haven’t ever seen before.  This is the stuff you go to Mood Fabrics for.  Editor’s note: Here’s an assortment of cotton voiles, batistes and gauzes from MoodFabrics.com.

A yard and a half came home with me even though I had no plans for it whatsoever.

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress

As often is the case when I’m looking for inspiration, I started flipping through my collection of vintage patterns. I knew this fabric needed a style that didn’t break the print up too much.  Advance Pattern 3214 had just enough detail but not too many seams.  A vintage printed cotton I picked up at an estate sale years ago made the perfect little contrast peter pan collar.

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress

I have found myself with the bad habit of sewing pieces of clothing as quickly and cheaply as possible. This habit is only exacerbated by sewing blogs that promote “10 minute skirts”,  “secret sewing shortcuts”, and “this shirt cost me only $1 to make”. But as a new member of the Mood Sewing Network, I’ve been inspired by these men and women who make expertly crafted garments that look just as good on the inside as they do on the outside.  While there is a time and place for projects that can be finished while the baby naps with techniques that are quick and materials that are cheap, I have been yearning to slow the sewing process down and focus on quality instead of quantity. I want to create things that will last because they are made with materials that will last. I want to create things that will become heirlooms.  I want to use techniques that take time.  I want to make things that look handmade (in a good way).  I want to put a piece of myself into each garment. I want to enjoy the journey of sewing a piece of clothing.

This dress was made in numerous sessions of sewing. French seams and bound armholes seemed the only right thing to do. One night was totally devoted to hand gathering those shoulders just so and hand-tying all those little thread ends (something I haven’t done since design school).

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress Then on another afternoon, I sewed the buttons on with a pin spacer to give a little extra room for the layer of fabric around the button to lay.

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress

As much as I hate hand-sewing, a wide, hand-sewn hem is what this pattern called for.  The orange vintage lace hem tape is another intentional yet subtle detail.

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress

This dress, which was made with love (because love is sometimes synonymous with time, right?), will soon be on it’s way to someone who I know speaks that same love language and will treasure this piece for years to come.

Marc Jacobs cotton gauze baby dress

Have you felt your own personal sewing pendulum swing? In what way? I’d love to hear.

 

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Comments


  • Angela
    August 29, 2013

    Superb! I’ve been having the same thoughts… quick things can be nice, but I’d like to do some items that look lovely inside, that don’t have the factory mass-produced look.

    • ThisisCarrie
      August 29, 2013

      I remember when I was first learning to sew, my goal was to make things that looked mass produced. While it’s nice to have people say “you sewed that? I can’t tell!”, I know how much I love to find a piece of clothing at the thrift store and I look inside and see hand stitching and pinked seams. Those clothes have so much more history. That’s what I want the clothes I make to have.

  • Ginger
    August 29, 2013

    This is ADORABLE! I love the non-kiddie fabric paired with such a sweet, vintage shape. Seriously the cutest dress ever– I would totally wear it!

    • ThisisCarrie
      August 29, 2013

      Thank you! I love vintage children’s styles & modern prints!

  • Ann
    August 29, 2013

    I was so pleased to read your attitude about making things that are beautiful inside and out. I am a beginner, who is teaching myself to sew, and have made only three things so far. My skills are limited, and I have a little trouble controlling the sewing machine. However, I am trying to enclose all of my seams, add interesting details, and do all I can to make each item unique, and something as gratifying to create, as it is to wear. Your baby dress is adorable, and I hope it ends up being passed down to several little girls; it is certainly worthy of that honor.

    • ThisisCarrie
      August 29, 2013

      Kudos to you for starting out your sewing career with such a great attitude. My sewing still isn’t as great as I wish it could be (there’s a reason there isn’t a close up of the back buttonholes), but I view all those imperfections as a hugely endearing part of handmade clothing.

  • Carol Muir
    August 29, 2013

    Amazing job on the little girls dress!!! I agree with you about taking your time sewing; sometimes I get impatient and just want to see the project finished, but it always pays to just leave it for a while instead of rushing through it. You never regret giving it your best.

  • ThisisCarrie
    August 29, 2013

    I hear you Carol! I may or may not have woken a child up in the middle of the night to try on a finished garment because I couldn’t wait to see it on them in the morning. Mostly, I rush because I procrastinate and don’t leave myself enough time. These days, I really try to plan ahead and give myself the time to work on a project just a little bit each day. I find the process much more enjoyable this way. It’s less stressful and less frustrating when things go wrong.

  • oonaballoona
    August 30, 2013

    i am continually amazed at peeps who can make such perfect mini garments (you. amanda.) and then go the extra step in making them perfect. i gave our best friends & newborn 5 empty kiddie hangers that i promised to fill with dresses. that was a year ago.

    help me, obi wan carobi.

  • Diana
    September 2, 2013

    Ooh! Pretty little dress ,meticulously crafted but I was so hoping to see a baby in it! (I love babies!)

  • Amy
    September 3, 2013

    So cute! I’m always such a sucker for blues, and that fabric really pulled at my heart strings. And, the adorable pattern to match! Perfection!

  • Carolyn
    September 3, 2013

    Carrie – this is simply adorable! The perfect little girls’ dress!

  • Cathe
    September 12, 2013

    This is such a lovely little dress! I love that you spent time and executed in detail such wonderful techniques to make this garment so special and heirloom!

    I have a hard time slowing myself down when sewing, I get so excited by the process but remind myself to enjoy the ride and step away and come back with fresh eyes. I do love the inside to be tidy, it just makes me really happy.

  • Kay
    September 13, 2013

    It is so pretty. You did a fabulous job on it.