noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

design, fabric, family, fashion, projects, sewing, travel

teach your children well

I wish I could make the claim that I sat down with the single minded cheerful focus of a private sewing tutor, but it was probably more like… despite me and my distracted and disjointed hints and advice, my 12 year old daughter made this dress by herself.

The dress is a girls size 12, so it doesn’t quite fit across ‘Linda’s’ (the nickname for my dress form) bust, and that’s OK.

Here’s the 1958 Simplicity pattern she picked out of the pattern library. I couldn’t talk her into the playsuit (lower right corner) she had her heart set on a dress- the practical choice, good job. Actually, the sizing was right on even for a vintage pattern. Apparently it’s the full grown women- myself included- whose figures has been ‘increasing’ over the past 40 years or so.

I fell in love with this rayon fabric with it’s bright colors and retro aspects at Joann’s a few months ago. It was on the clearance shelf and I think I ended up paying $1 a yard- I took home the rest of the bolt –how could you NOT??

The texture- a fluid moving rayon and complicated pattern on the fabric helped and hindered the construction.  It is easy to hide flaws with a pattern but some patterns, like plaids or stripes, need to be matched from piece to piece (ex. front to back). The rayon is harder to cut out as you are preparing the pieces and doesn’t move through the machine as easily as a cotton might so you have to take your time while sewing so the seams don’t pull or bunch. Also, watch the iron temperature.

She did a great job, and first on her list after school today is sewing on the buttons and finishing the hem. I think we’ll make a few different colored sashes for the waist- pink, white and avocado green to add some versatility. A perfect dress for a jet-setting get-a-way planned for this upcoming Spring Break week.

She and I are off to Washington D.C. next week with her Soldier Hollow Charter School 6th grade class. They have been planning and fundraising for this trip for nearly 2 years now (good job guys!). I get to tag along as a ‘chaperone’ and I can’t wait either, it’s been a long time since I’ve wandered around in D.C. city. We’ll share some dress-in-action pictures in-historic-places next week.

If you have any tips on places to visit such as unique/eclectic shopping & dining- beyond the historical sights already on the agenda, drop me a comment and share! We have a few days on our own to wander and discover before we meet up with the other kids.


  1. futuredoll

    April 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    This should be perfect for DC this time of year & she won’t look like a tourist in shorts & t’s. Awesome job!

    1. noelleodesigns

      April 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      That’s a good goal to aim for… don’t look (or act) like a tourist, and I think we all know what that means. I’ve got plenty in my closet to jazz things up- I’m going to pack style-mindedly and leave the t-shirts and fisherman hat behind.

  2. Time To Be Inspired

    April 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I certainly understand you buying a quantity of that fabulous fabric, and your daughter did such a great job with it. You should both be proud! If you need a restful green space break at any time I’d highly recommend the gardens of Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown – really beautiful!

    1. noelleodesigns

      April 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks, I keep hearing Georgetown’s name being mentioned- I’ll move it and the gardens you mentioned to the top of the list!

  3. communicationsfactory

    April 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    What a gorgeous dress, well done to your daughter.

  4. Micha

    April 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Wow – great job by your daughter!

  5. precia

    April 7, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Wow M! I am totally shocked! We need to see you model it (ummm when the buttons are on)!

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