Give Me The (Sewing Pattern) Details
The Poppy Dress and Tunic by Violette Field Threads has such cute details: from the adorable sleeves to the full skirt to the square neckline on the yoke. The pattern includes two sleeve styles: Angel & Ruffled Short Sleeves. It can be sewn in a dress or tunic version with either a flat bottom panel or a ruffle.
Designed for children’s sizes 2T-10 Years, I can’t help but wish it came in baby sizes too! I have seen so many lovely versions of this dress that I had to give it a try.
My baby girl is now six months old (how did that happen?!), but she is tall. Most of the time I have her in 12-18 month retail size clothing. While I may have to wait for her to fit the 2T sizing of the Poppy dress, I’m not sure I’ll have to wait long! She’s growing SO fast. <3 One reason I chose to sew this particular pattern is that it can be used as a dress, but when you make the version with the button back, it can also be used as a tunic top allowing it to grow with the child.
A size 2T Poppy with the short ruffle sleeves and a full bottom ruffle for the skirt requires about 2.5 yards of fabric. That’s significant for this size dress. It does give it a lovely fullness, but I think it would be just as nice with less.
I’ve now made the Poppy twice and these are my thoughts on it. (Hint: my favorite is the second one!)
Spring Fling Poppy
The first Poppy dress I made is intended to be one of three. I have two little nieces under the age of two … what could be more perfect than matching dresses for them and my daughter? I foresee a photo shoot filled with cuteness!
I found this pretty flannel on sale at JoAnn’s and thought it would make cute matching dresses. Turquoise blues are among my sister and my favorite colors, which automatically made it perfect for our daughters!
I confess to not giving this particular dress the level of attention to detail that I normally do. The yoke is a little crooked because at the time I made it, I just needed to sew. It was, quite literally, a therapy session for me. For this season of life, I think that’s ok. Sometimes letting go of perfection and enjoying life (and sewing) is a good thing.
For the edges of the sleeve and skirt ruffles, I used a three thread narrow hem on my serger. I love the effect it gives and it’s super easy!
As you can see in the photos below, I had a bit of trouble with the top stitching — and my machine goofed the buttonhole and made it smaller than intended. I decided to let bygones be bygones and just use a smaller button. 🙂
Still … those sleeves! <3 Be still my heart.
I used the solid color fabric for the skirt placket, but for the next two dresses like this, I want to use the floral fabric. The placket isn’t as noticeable that way and I like the look better.
I really like the way Violette Field Threads designed these sleeves. The seams are all enclosed between the ruffle, cuff, and sleeve. It makes a super nice finish that looks like it would feel lovely to wear.
The inside seams were finished using my Brother 1040d Serger.
For me, the exposed ruffle was the most challenging part of the dress. It was my first time sewing one, and while it looks ok on the outside, the inside stitching is all over the place. Oh well. I’ll try that one again some other day.
Thoughts On This Project
I’m ok with the way this dress turned out. It’s not my favorite because of the muffed details, but I do still like it and think that having a little girl wear it will make it infinitely cuter!
The flannel makes it a little bulkier than I would like, so for the next two versions, I plan on making the skirt narrower.
Country Girl Poppy
Hands down, this is my favorite Poppy of the two.
For Christmas, I made my nice a sweet little purse from some red checked fabric and denim from a skirt I don’t wear anymore. The result was so sweet that I decided to try and squeeze a dress out of the remaining fabric.
Introducing, the Country Girl Poppy Dress!
The ladies in the Violette Threads Facebook Group inspired me to try my hand at embroidery. It was surprisingly easy and I’m thrilled with the results.
A Few Changes
Based on my experience with the first Poppy, I made a few changes when I stitched up this version.
The skirt isn’t quite as full due to fabric limitations, nor is the ruffle on the bottom. I wasn’t mentally prepared to deal with another exposed ruffle, so I just made it a normal one. I do wish I’d had more denim for a fuller ruffle, but it still turned out nice.
I added the little ruffle at the neckline — that wasn’t in the original pattern but I felt that it needed a little something there. The ruffle was perfect, but my approach wasn’t. I’ll tell you about that in a moment.
Instead of top stitching the waist seam of the bodice, I chose to handstitch the lining. It made a much cleaner finish.
One of the details that I added to the original pattern was this adorable little ruffle in the neckline. Boy … I did NOT think that one through before doing it!
First off, I cut the strips of fabric one inch wide. Seam allowances are a half inch. Since I folded it in half to do the ruffle … that was a problem because I only had a half inch wide ruffle and needed a half inch seam allowance. I had to sew it halfway up the seam allowance … and gathering a half inch wide piece of fabric is NOT something I’m doing again! I’ll make it wider next time!
The second thing I didn’t think through was how I was going to get the ruffle to work with the neckline. The bodice is fully lined. The main problem with this is hard to explain, but basically, I had to do some serious fabric manipulation to get the ruffle to go into the side of the neckline instead of doing something wonky.
Also, next time I will decide to do embroidery before I cut out the bodice pieces. I got the itch to add embroidery after I already had it cut out. I literally had to hand baste the bodice to another piece of fabric so that I could put it in the hoop and embroider it.
I used a snap instead of a button for the back closure.
(Sorry for the color difference in the photos, I’m still working on my photography setup.)
For this placket, I used the same fabric as the skirt. I much prefer that look. 🙂
The next to photos show the lining. This time, instead of top stitching, I hand stitched the lining in place. It looks so much cleaner! Also, instead of using my serger to finish the seam allowances, I trimmed them and used a zig-zag stitch over the edge.
I decided I wanted the side seams enclosed, so I put the handy flat-fell seam to use! The ruffle was gathered with my serger.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to learn to use all 32 sewing machine feet that I purchased a few years ago! The rolled hem foot was amazing to create these tiny hems on the sleeve and skirt ruffles.
Thoughts On This Project
I am in love with the way this little dress turned out! My biggest issue? My baby isn’t quite big enough to fit it yet! Hopefully this summer. 🙂
A normal ruffle is much simpler to do than an exposed one … that being said, I do like the look of the exposed ruffle. I just need to find some tricks for doing it well.
The lighter weight fabric works really well for the Poppy. While flannel is ok, due to bulk I would narrow the skirts down, whereas this one could probably handle the full width if I’d had enough fabric.
Again … those sleeves have my heart! And the embroidery! I see more embroidered dresses in my future. <3
Conclusion & Thoughts About This Pattern
The design of this dress is just adorable. I plan on making more in the future and love that they would convert to a tunic as my baby grows. Since I can’t try it on my baby girl, I don’t have any thoughts on the fit of the dress. I expect it to be quite forgiving though as it is not fitted around the waist and is very free-flowing.
This dress isn’t a quick sew. I didn’t track my time, but it took a few evenings to complete each of these. The second was quicker in a way because I already knew what I was doing.
In general, Violette Field Threads does a very nice job with their instructions. Everything is very visual and well explained. The Poppy dress is no different and if you’re looking for a super cute dress to sew up, give it a go and let me know if you have any tips for exposed ruffles!