This is the Pristine Swing Dress from the Blank Slate for Girls collection released this summer. Anyone familiar with Melissa’s patterns will see immediately that the pattern is based on one of her first patterns — the Rose T-shirt (which I also tested and is an excellent pattern).
One of my favorite things about the Rose T-shirt, as well as this dress, is the woven placket at the neck. It not only is a great way to show off a small amount of special fabric, but if you use a knit fabric for the dress, it makes the sewing process SOOO much easier because the woven fabric stabilizes the knit.
I actually did not use a knit with this dress. I had about 3/4 yard of this fabulous navy blue Nani Iro double gauze fabric that I found in the remnant bin at Bon Bon Atelier, one of my local boutique fabric stores. The Nani Iro double gauze is really soft and has a fantastic drape, so I was pretty confident it would work with the design of this dress. I had been saving it for a dress for N because I knew the color would look wonderful with her hair and eyes. That 3/4 yard was just enough to cut this dress with short sleeves and no pockets — with almost nothing left over!
Since I used a print for the main fabric of the dress, I used a plain off-white linen for the contrast fabric, which worked very nicely. The button is from my vintage button stash that I inherited from Albert’s grandma and stepmom. Love me some vintage buttons!
A word of warning: In my opinion, the design of this dress makes it inappropriate for most quilting cottons (except for the placket, which is designed for a sturdier woven). I don’t think quilting cotton has enough drape and movement for this dress and will end up looking stiff. So if you’ve been hoarding a precious yard of some designer quilting cotton, DON’T use it for this dress! Instead, get a nice drapey knit for the main fabric, use a bit of your precious quilting cotton for the placket (you’ll use much less than the recommended 1/4 yard), and save the rest for another special project. You’ll be happier in the end!
The construction of the dress was really good. There were a few issues at the pattern testing phase, but I’m sure that those are fixed in the final pattern that is now for sale. Constructing the placket takes a little extra time, but not that much, and the rest of the dress comes together really fast.
The design is great for an active little girl, too. It goes on and off easily and gives plenty of room in the shoulders and arms for movement. The swingy body of the dress makes it perfect for running and playing. N is 18 months old in these pictures, and this is the size 18m dress. As you can see, it fits her perfectly!
Fabric: Nani Iro double gauze.
Physical pattern: The pattern is size 18m to 8 years, so there’s a nice range. It’s a PDF pattern, which you probably know by now that I don’t particularly like but deal with because it’s how most independent patterns are done. The Blank Slate PDF patterns are pretty good though. The piecing is generally easy and everything matches up well.
- Woven placket — great way to show off a small amount of a special piece of fabric (the pattern calls for 1/4 yard, but you won’t use anywhere near a full 1/4 yard. I’d say closer to 1/8 yard), and stabilizes a knit. It also gives the neck line a really nice, finished look.
- Button closure is easy to sew and makes for easy on and off.
- Dress design is loose and flowy for great movement.
- Long and short sleeve options make it good for multiple seasons.
- Fit is good — runs true to RTW size.
- Optional pockets. Not so important for an 18-month-old, but very important for an older child!
- Not appropriate for those adorable quilting cottons as a main fabric, which is what many moms of girls like to use for special dresses.
- Constructing the placket takes a little extra time (but not that much, so don’t be scared off!).
- Sleeve design is a little too plain, in my humble opinion. I will widen the sleeves of my next one to make them a little puffed.
Overall grade: I give the Pristine Swing Dress an A. The construction is straightforward, and the woven placket is so great for so many reasons. This is a great pattern to make an interesting knit dress!