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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kelly's Kids Mary Dress: Knock-It-Off Series

I love the Knock-It-Off Series hosted by Elegance & Elephants!  I think it might possibly be my favorite sewing series so far, so you can imagine how excited I was to be invited by the extremely talented Heidi to participate in it this year.  Thank you, Heidi!

Elegance & Elephants

Every season, I like to browse the online catalog of Kelly's Kids for ideas.  I love their items but not their prices!  Based on their summer catalog, I had no lack of inspiration for this challenge, so I turned to my readers to help me decide what Kelly's Kids look to knock off!  I set up a Pinterest Board with four dresses and a romper and asked everyone to vote for their favorite look.  After about a week and a half, the likes, comments, and repins were counted, and the Mary Dress from Kelly's Kids was the winner!  I was very pleased that you all picked this because it was one of my favorites!

This is not the first time I've knocked off a Kelly's Kids dress.  I made a size 8 pattern for the Caroline Dress last year (free pattern to download here) based on a request from a friend.  It turned out great, and it was a lot of fun figuring out the pattern pieces from solely looking at a picture online!

In the case of the Mary Dress, I first looked through all my patterns to make sure I didn't have something already similar.  Nope, no such luck!  So, the next step was to make my own pattern.

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of this process.  When I get going on a pattern design like this, I have to keep my thought process in motion instead of stopping and starting to take pictures in good light.  I'll do my best to describe it below.

I started off with a basic a-line dress pattern, traced the front and back pieces onto freezer paper in a size 5T.  The back piece had no changes to make, so I set it aside.  As for the front piece, I squared up the neck opening and then drew a line from the square of the neck to approximately 7" from the bottom on the side seam (estimated this by looking at the photo on the Kelly's Kids site).  I then added seam allowance and cut off that piece.

Now for the tricky part.  The center front piece is gathered at the top and is cut at an angle on part of the side.  You can see these finished details below.

For this, I had to use some of my engineering drafting skills and calculate proper angles and lengths.  After just a couple of drafts of this piece, I felt pretty confident that it would all go together properly.  I then took the two front pieces, taped them back together, and then traced around the upper part to create the front lining pattern piece.  I traced the upper part of the back dress piece to make the back lining pattern piece, too.  For the inseam pocket, I just borrowed a pocket piece from another dress pattern.

I'm not one to make a muslin, so I just cut into the gray polka dot fabric (purchased at Hobby Lobby) and knew that I could make it work!  Yes, I watch Project Runway and was channeling Tim Gunn's optimistic spirit!

Well, you know what?  It did all go together just fine.  I saw a couple of little things that I need to tweak to make it better for the next time I make it, but it was pretty much a simple dress to create. Maybe I should make it into a fully graded pattern?  What do you think?

To finish the look, I made up a quick fabric flower pin.  I took two pieces of fabric (probably 6" x 8") and fused them to both sides of a piece of Heat-n-Bond Lite.  I then found three or four different round objects to trace onto the fabric and then cut out the circles.  I stacked the circles, tacked them together in the center, and then created the petals by clipping the edges toward the center of the circle.  When I was done, I sprayed a little water on it and crumbled it in my hand to loosen up the fabric and then sewed a small button in the center and let it try.  Hot glue a brooch pin to the back and you're done!

And here's a neat shot of my sewVery tag!  I've been playing around with the aperture setting of my point and shoot camera, and I thought this one turned out pretty good.

So there you have it!  My knock-off of the Mary Dress by Kelly's Kids!  I spent roughly $6 in materials to make my version versus $70 (dress and flower pin) + shipping to buy the original!  Does this mean I can go buy more fabric with all the money I saved?

Original Mary Dress from Kelly's Kids on left, and sewVery's Knock-Off on right
My little model has been sick all week, but you wouldn't really know it from these outtakes!  Two hours before, she was screaming and crying in pain from an ear infection.  Thank goodness the medicine kicked in so I could finally get some pictures of her wearing it.

Thanks again, Heidi, for asking me to participate in your Knock-It-Off Series!  I've enjoyed seeing all the other knock-offs blogged about and posted on in the Flickr group.

Elegance & Elephants

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  1. I LOVE THIS!!!! I am so excited that this was the one you picked to knock off, and your fabrics are SPOT ON! The extra flower detail is super fun too!

  2. Oh PLEASE make this pattern! It is adorable!!!

  3. Great job!! I love that you let the readers vote!

  4. Adorable!! I would love a pattern!!!



  5. Beautiful! I have 2 daughters and would definitely be interested in a pattern! :)

  6. Cute dress and really looks similar to the original, well done!

  7. Yes, Yes! Make it a pattern!!! Please???


  8. Now that is an adorable dress and your little girl is too cute! What a doll!

  9. Just found your blog! I would buy this pattern if you graded it!

  10. Such a cute dress (and daughter) and a brilliant knock off. And great idea to let your readers choose!!

  11. so cute, love that it has pockets !

  12. Yes another please for a graded pattern that includes bigger sizes (my daughter just turned 5), I love the pleats and pockets!!

  13. So pretty! You knocked it off perfectly.


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