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London Calling Cotton Lawn – ‘ello Love!

Hi everyone! It’s Gina here for Tie Dye Diva patterns. Today I want to share with you a beautiful dress that I made for my girl and wish I had for myself instead!

As I was perusing Cali Fabrics the other day, because I never stop shopping for fabric, I was thrilled to see that they had Robert Kaufman’s London Calling cotton lawns in a variety of prints. When my eyes landed on the Swirling Leaves and Flowers in pink and orange print, I immediately pictured it as a vintage tea dress and had to have it!

One of my favorite vintage-inspired patterns for girls is the La Tulipe Dress pattern from Tie Dye Diva patterns. The sweetheart neckline, fitted bodice, and circle skirt are classic features in a tea dress, but it’s the tulip sleeves that add a delicate charm that make it perfect for a young girl. To highlight the tulip sleeves and circle skirt, I just had to include some off-white crochet lace trim. There is something so perfectly proper about the combination of cotton lawn and crochet lace.

When I ordered my fabric and trim I was happy to see how quickly it arrived on my porch! One of the things about ordering anything online is that I have to wait for it, and patience is not one of my virtues. Well I didn’t have to worry about that this time because I only had to wait for two days. Absolutely amazing, and with standard shipping too!

Anyway, I tore into my package immediately, and the first thing I wanted to see was if my trim matched my fabric. Maybe one of the toughest things about ordering coordinating materials online is making sure they match (I would always recommend ordering swatches first, but sometimes I like to throw caution to the wind). At first I thought the lace was too light, that I needed something more natural to blend in and compliment the off-white background of the fabric, but as you can see the brighter trim actually highlights the lines of this dress; a fortuitous surprise!

Now when sewing with cotton lawn, or any apparel fabric, I do take some care to prewash and prepare my fabric. When it comes to cotton lawn specifically, some sewists do not prewash it as they prefer the crispness the factory starch provides. Since lawns are a lightweight fabric, this can make it easier to cut and sew, but I don’t have any issues with this and tend to prefer prewashing all of my fabric before sewing. I do of course press after washing to remove all wrinkles. I don’t prewash my trim though, in case you’re wondering. I also use machine needles that are meant for lightweight fabrics, so for this project I used a universal 70/10 needle and Gutermann polyester thread.

My La Tulipe sewed up beautifully, and I am beyond pleased with its vintage look. The colors are also pleasant and perfect for the season.

This cotton lawn was a pleasure to sew with, and I just love the crisp drape of the skirt. The fabric moves well with this dress too, and there’s none of the stiffness that often occurs when sewing garments with quilting cotton. Cotton lawns are lightweight and can be somewhat transparent though. The bodice of this dress is lined, but the skirt portion isn’t and doesn’t seem to need one.

It also twirls perfectly. The added weight of the crochet lace really gets the skirt going too!

This is already my girl’s favorite dress and can you blame her? Well I’m off to look at Cali Fabrics’ other London Calling cotton lawn prints because Mama needs a matching dress!

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