Last summer I made myself a dress from some lovely moss green cotton fabric which had a subtle all-over leaf motif which is only visible up close. There was a fair bit of this material left over and it seemed perfect for me to make some trousers for my Autumn girls, Meili, Annika and Maru. Later on I used it once again to make a dress for a queenly new model who has recently joined the Kit’s Couture team. So over the next days and weeks you will find a number of posts entitled Variations in Green. Let’s begin with Maru who is wearing the first outfit I’ve made for her.
Maru is wearing some accidental trousers (I’ll explain in a moment) and a tunic made from a pattern by one of my favourite designers, Vanina from Les Chéries de Vaniline. She has a range of very interesting designs for Kidz ‘n’ Cats and Maru and Friends. The ‘robe chasuble’ is one of these, and the pattern offers several variations, with or without collar, with or without a box pleat. Maru wears it in its simplest ‘chasuble’ form, although I did manage to dress it up a little with a mandarin collar made of lace.
Here it looks as if the tunic is sitting too high above Maru’s shoulders, but it is actually resting on them. Her shoulders really do slope at that sharp angle. If you look at Vanina’s photographs, you can see even her shoulder seams float slightly above the tops of her models’ arms.
Another issue is that the pattern was designed for Kidz ‘n’ Cats, and although Vanina says in her ‘P’tite Ecole de Couture’ that she has modified it so it fits Maru and Friends, I have the older version of the pattern without those modifications. Maru is ‘older’ than the Kidz, and where the Kidz have a flat chest, Maru has the definite beginnings of a bust, which seems to pull the armholes out of shape a little. I had great difficulty getting a reasonable fit, and had to recut the armholes slightly. I suspect Vanina has built in some more ease across the chest which would I think solve the problem of armhole gape. Next time I will add ¼” to the width across each shoulder – or invest in another, Maru-friendly, version of the pattern!
Now to explain the ‘accidental’ trousers. These were not originally intended for Maru. I was working on an outfit for Meili, using a Dutch pattern for nightwear called ‘Goodnight Girl‘ the one and only sewing pattern for Gotz Hannah that I could find on the internet. Granted I was struggling with the instructions (I had a choice of German or Dutch, neither of which I speak) but I had carefully printed it exactly to scale, and cut ¼” seam allowance extra, as you must with continental patterns. To my disappointment the trousers turned out too tight for Meili. I was at a loss to explain this poor fit, but it occurred to me that they might just fit Maru – and they did. They are quite a snug fit around her tum, and of course her extra height is all in her legs so they are mid-calf rather than ankle length, but they look great on her.
To unify the ensemble I devised some little flourishes with some cream ribbon and lime-green flower buttons. There is another lime-green button at the back, just below the neckline and the collar. I had no more of the flower buttons so, although I dislike velcro, which seems designed to catch in hair and rip delicate fabrics to shreds, on this occasion I used it to fasten the back of the tunic. I carefully put the hooky side of the velcro so that it faced outwards away from any delicate undergarments Maru might be wearing.
So how do I feel about my first efforts at dressmaking for Maru? Well, it wasn’t as easy as I expected, but I learned a lot from the problems of fit, and I’m sure next time I’ll be better prepared to deal with fitting clothes to Maru’s rather difficult torso. I do think she looks charming in the outfit, and the moss green and amber shades suit her admirably.