Monday, August 6, 2012

Knot Dress à la Matilda Jane


So, I made Kalei (3) this dress with matching ruffle pants for Easter.  My SIL took these awesome photos of her so I wanted to wait till I got them back to post on the dress, which was my first venture into sewing boutique-ish children's clothing.  I made the dress from scratch, meaning no pattern and no prototype (existing dress to trace from).  I measured her rib cage width, shoulder for straps, skirt length, and voilà.  I had put aside these matching fabrics a coupla years earlier (the bodice and the Heather Bailey print apron were both fat quarters, the pink is leftover from a linen dress I made for Keira, and the ruffle pants, straps, and button placket are a stretch lycra cotton).  The concept for this dress came after coming across some awesome Matilda Jane dresses on eBay. 


What few glimpses I'd caught of Matilda Jane clothing over the years never really turned me into an admirer until January of this year when I saw all the cute knot dresses from their older lines.  MJC's older lines like Art Fair and House of Clouds combine some of my older favorite quilting cotton fabrics (including Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Anna Griffin) onto a palette of boutique-style dresses and ensembles.  I never really liked the boutique ruffley, layered look until I saw Matilda Jane dresses.  They combine whimsical, modern, bright colored fabrics with earth-toned, country-ish prints.  I didn't use any earth-toned fabrics in this dress, but I will next time.

Matilda Jane's more recent lines have a more commercial than boutique look, but my guess is that the boutique look has evolved via MJC.  Recent lines use more knit fabrics rather than printed woven cottons, and solid colors, matching patterns (no more pink/green polka dots and brown leaves in the same ensemble), and contemporary, bold patterns.  The hand-made look has faded, which explains the demand for pieces from older lines like Ellie that had a whimsical, un-matchy, hand-made-y appeal.  They've also started designing their own fabrics, so as a quilter/seamstress, you won't recognize many designer quilting cottons in the new lines (though I have seen some Art Gallery prints thrown in).

So, there's my synopsis on MJC.  If you're ever craving OCD-Mom banter, check out their Facebook page.  One day, MJC owner/founder posted on Fb how she had come across a little girl wearing a Matilda Jane knock off dress and how it ruined her day.  Hundreds of comments on both sides of the coin, but really?...If only these moms were as protective and obsessed over important things (not clothing).  I never saw so much passion and protectiveness and cyber-bullying over a clothing label till then.  My shoulda-posted-comment:  "All the more reason why I enjoy sewing happily at home while you beeches duke it out online."
Sandi Henderson's Portabellopixie patterns are a great place to start if you're
into the boutique look. Here's a traditional knot dress.

1 comment:

  1. Your daughter looks darling! What an artist you are!


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