For Kids Clothes Week, I knew I'd want to design something around one of Zoe's favorite books, Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman. The illustrations are just gorgeous, and Zoe requests it just about every third night.
CONFESSION: I actually designed this to be a dress, and for some girls, it would be. But Zoe prefers dresses and skirts to be all the way to her knees. "Both knees, Mom, my left knee and my right knee, too." So when we tried it on, and it was a good 2 inches above her knee, I said, thinking quickly, "It's a tunic, baby. You wear it with pants." Then we had a long discussion about what a tunic is. With some confusion on her part -- why would I want her to wear a tomato?
I searched online and in fabric stores for butterfly fabric, but everything I was finding was WAAA-YYY too nursery themed compared to what I had in mind. I had almost given up, when I saw this fat quarter bundle in the check out line at Joann's. Lodged there among the candy bars, someone had changed their mind and deposited this pack of 6 fabrics. While not an exact match, I fell in love with the greys and blues of these fabrics. God knows my eyes are always drawn to the snacks and treats while waiting my turn -- it was meant to be, I decided.
Here's an image of the bundle, which you can also find here on Joann Fabrics's website. It's called Borboletas, which means "butterflies" in Portuguese. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)
YES! I made the entire tunic out of 4 of the fat quarters (not counting the lining of the bodice, where I used an old, soft pillowcase.)
For the pattern, I Frankenstein-ed two of my favorite patterns to make the bodice. I used the front lining arm shape and the sleeve pattern piece from Compagnie-M's Louisa dress, but used the neckline and length of my go-to bodice pattern -- Burda's Child Summer Frock-- so that I wouldn't have to mess with any closures.
For the skirt, I cut one of the fat quarters in half, and one of the fat quarters into fourths, sewed them together, and used them as the skirt piece.
A few simple, small pleats, and the skirt pieces married up to the bottom of the bodice.
And a final touch, adding a pocket to the front side. Let me tell you: I have, not one, but two seam rippers ready for action, as it seems like they are needed on every project this home sewer does! This project's "oops" was sewing the back of the dress into my pocket seam -- how did that happen?