playtime snow day dress

also known as 'how maggie learned to sew knits' 

there is a picture of me in 1st or 2nd grade in front of the fireplace at my parents house. i'm playing with my american girl dolls and wearing a long sleeved pink knit dress. my mom bought the dress at jacobson's and we referred to it as my 'pretty in pink dress'. i wore it all the time. let me say that again for emphasis: i wore it all the time.

when oliver + s released the playtime dress in the fall of 2013 i was instantly reminded of that pink dress. i suddenly had to make similar ones for my nieces and bought the pattern right away. there was only one problem: i couldn't sew knits.

i had tried to make a pair of hopscotch dresses for nora and etta out of a lightweight (aka flimsy) polka dot print a few months earlier, but it had been disastrous to say the least. (for the record i have since made the hopscotch pattern and totally nailed it). back then i didn't even know you should use a different needle when sewing with knits. 

so for a year the playtime pattern sat on my shelf. i viewed learning to sew knits like understanding the metric system: i was aware i should learn it because it's practical and would be useful, but i was also fine with the way things were. 

then one day last fall, after a particularly tough week at work, i decided to take matters into my own hands. i may not be able to control everything in life, but i was going to learn to sew knits if it was the last thing i did. so i got on my bike and headed to stonemountain & daughter.

by this point the internet had informed be about the importance of ballpoint needles for knit sewing. however i wouldn't be writing this if it wasn't for the stonemountain & daughter staff. they gave me tips and helped me pick out a fabric for my first knit experience, a high quality 100% cotton fabric that gave up a little stretch in exchange for a less flimsy (aka heavier) weight. i left with the confidence of beyonce, the hopefulness of taylor swift, and materials for my first playtime dress.

after washing, which you should do with any fabric before sewing but especially knits, i set to work. with a more substantial fabric and the proper needle for the job i discovered sewing with knits wasn't that tricky.

as with all oliver + s patterns it came together like a dream, but i think part of my success should be credited to nicole for this awesome tutorial which i read several times before diving in. 

i did get a little rebellious and used the accent fabric for the facing,

and pockets.

as for the name: i grew up in michigan where snow days are really common. (pro tip: there is nothing one can do to guarantee a snow day but you can increase your odds substantially by doing all your homework the night before and sleeping with your pjs inside out.) this comfortable warm dress, and the coordinating leggings i made, feels like the perfect thing to wear on a unexpected snowy day at home :)


aunt maggie