I'm so pleased that it's turned out exactly as I'd hoped. Being knit fabric means it's comfortable and warm, but the print makes it work for a more formal holiday look and a nice change from the usual bright red & green seen everywhere:
The Nativity scene on the skirt is so lovely with all the stars & angels floating above it:
It's a little hard to tell here, but the fabric also has a slight ombre to it, so the blue lightens towards the hem, which I love. I deliberately made it a little looser & longer so we can hopefully use it again next Christmas.
The fabric is a custom print I bought from Peek-A-Book Pattern Shop. It's offered as two different types of panels, which makes it a little trickier to use - you have to figure out how to tailor your project plan to work with how the fabric is printed & calculate how much you really need. Custom fabric ain't super cheap, so no wastage is key!
The wording on the bodice comes as a big square. It's called the O Holy Night panel:
And the beautiful Nativity Border panel is printed parallel to the selvage on either side and sold by 1/2yd increment of the scene, so it requires opposite planning of how you'd usually cut out your pieces. Thankfully the knit has 4 way stretch. I carefully calculated that I could make the size 6/7 skirt, bodice & sleeves with just the O Holy Night panel and 2 of the nativity panels, which made it much more economical. I cut two rectangles from either end for the skirt and used the starry bit left in the middle for the back bodice and sleeves.
Technically there was enough left to do the cuffs & neckline too, but I prefer to use rib knits so the fabric lies smooth and has a more finished look. As luck would have it I'd bought a few solid, smooth rib knits a month ago over at Emrose Fabrics, to use for cuffs and neckbands. Amazingly, the shade called Blue Depths that I'd bought was a perfect match. How often does that happen? It's a mini-Christmas sewing miracle, I tell ya!
The dress design is actually my own chop-shop creation. I used my modified version of Ottobre Design's Banana Dress that I did in the Fall (more on that here):
I re-drew it with just the bodice section and then added on a full gathered skirt for the lower half. Since I didn't want to interrupt the Nativity scenes on my fabric, or have a seam in the center, I had to use all 4 which was about 66 inches. It made the skirt quite a bit fuller to gather, so I used the trick of a wide-zig-zag around some string to do my gathering instead of 2 rows of basting stitches:
This worked out perfectly. One of my pet peeves about gathering is ending up with one spot looking less gathered and flat after I've sewn it all together. Not this time!
It also made it easier to center two of the scenes on the front & back of the dress:
I really love this little dress & my daughter does too. I also have to say I love the quality of it too. This was the first time I'd ever bought fabric from Peek-A-Boo and it was such a nice sew. My main machine started acting up (a burr in the bobbin case housing, which now needs to go to the shop) and messed up an entire seam I'd triple stitched. With a lot of knits, this would have been a nightmare of holes after unpicking, but this fabric held up like a champ. A less stressed holiday sew is a real Christmas dream come true!