What do you do when you’re having a Georgian dinner and your littlest guest is very little indeed?
You make a Norland Frock!
Priscilla’s daughter ‘Tobie’ is now a little bigger than she was when she was Tobie to my Jareth, but she loves dressing up. Like mother like daughter!
She was going to be at our Georgian Dinner, and that gave me the perfect excuse to try Virgil’s Fine Good’s Norland Frock. I know Amber’s research is impeccable (that’s why I collaborate with her on Scroop + Virgil’s patterns!), and who doesn’t want the excuse to make adorable little girl frocks?
I asked Miss Tobie what her favourite colours were to choose dress materials. I needn’t have bothered. She’s a girl between 3 and 8. Her favourite colours are pink and purple!
I don’t have a ton of either pink or purple in my stash, particularly not in the bright shades that the skirt wearing young fry seem to wear almost exclusively.
A thorough rummage did unearth just enough pinky-mauve silk habotai for a sash, and a scrap of coordinating cotton for an underdress.
The dress fabric is a cotton-linen blend that I had large scraps of left over from another project.
I didn’t have time to run the colours by mum or poppet before I started. Luckily Miss Tobie approves. She considered the colour for a while and decided it was ‘light purple’, not pink. Priscilla, as it turns out, also approves. She’s relieved that it’s NOT ‘five year old girl pink’. She likes bright colours, but children’s clothing makers ensure that particular shade is unrelenting in Tobie’s wardrobe!
Making the Virgil’s Fine Goods Norland Frock
The pattern research is indeed impeccable, and the instructions are thorough, but I’m also pragmatic. Miss Tobie is a child. She gets grubby and she’s growing fast. And Priscilla and I are both time poor. So we cheated and streamlined the construction as much as possible, and machine sewed everything we could.
There’s even some overlocking on the inside. (shhhhhh)
You can see the seams where I pieced the large scraps off fabric running down the front of the dress. Luckily they work well with the design.
While we machine sewed as much as we could, some steps are still more efficient to do by hand, especially if you want a good result. So there’s still lots of hand sewing. Hand sewn tape facings:
And the sleeve straps, which are assembled like 18th century sleeves:
And, of course, on the tie ends. My favourite part!
Hacking an underdress for the Norland Frock
The Norland pattern includes a petticoat to wear under the dress, which is meant to go over child stays (like the Elizabeth Stays by Willoughby and Rose).
We didn’t have time for stays, and Tobie is a very wriggly child. So, to make the dress more practical, I hacked an underdress for it.
I used the petticoat included in the pattern for the skirt. For the bodice, I traced off the shape of the pleated and assembled Norland frock. I cut away a bit on the underarms and neck, to make sure it wouldn’t show under the dress.
I added straps for the shoulders, and a simple placket with buttons and buttonholes fastened it in back.
And that’s an underdress wrap!
And an adorable Norland’s Frock:
It’s a super cute pattern, and really fun and interesting to make.
I need a friend to get married and want little Norland Frocks for all her flower girls!
I also want a photoshoot with Miss Tobie. Norland Frocks and Amalia Jackets amongst the spring flowers. It’s going to be so adorable! We just need a nice warm weekend now that spring is here…
Oh my goodness how adorable!!! I love your colour choice! (And I’m glad Tobie approved.)
Squee! Children’s clothes are the best! That looks indeed ever so sweet, and she looks comfortable and happy. Perfection!
she looks wonderful in her frock. lucky mlle. tobie to have such pretty thing made for her, and adults in her life who understand the magic of fancy dress…
Tobie and the Norland frock are a wonderful combination. She looked beautiful in it for your Georgian dinner and I’m sure there will be a couple of years of dressing-up fun for her – tying at the back allows for growth! Sensible to not hand-sew the lot, too. I would imagine it will spend time in the washing machine.
Can’t you just see a whole bridal party of little girls? Aww.
Oh, her hair – so lovely!
Isn’t it gorgeous! You can see she gets it from her mother.
Darling ! Can grown-ups wear Norland frocks?
I was wondering the same thing. 😀 I think early Regency / 1790s comes close, but then it also usually comes without the tucks at the bottom which, upon seeing this, is a shame.
it so very Kate Greenaway! what delightful pictures. and the dress looks very play-able.