We love this dress around here. After Ella’s tremendous effort during the draping process, I just finished it today. She loves it now, and was complemented at every turn when we were out in it for diner. We both love when that happens. I wanted to make something with gentle folds, and have been dying to try out this beautiful Tencel I purchased a while back.
In case you’re wondering what Tencel is (I was, before I bought it):
Tencel (Lyocell) is the first new fiber in 30 years, and being made of wood pulp cellulose, it is the first new natural fiber in a lot longer than that. The properties and production processes were unique enough for the US Federal Trade Commission to designate tencel as a separate fiber group. Tencel was developed by Tencel, Inc., and Tencel is the registered trademark of Tencel Ltd. (Tencel, Inc. in the US), for lyocell fibers.
Tencel is a manufactured fiber, but it is not synthetic. Tencel begins with cellulose which is processed with a non-toxic, recyclable dissolving agent, most of which is recycled back into the fiber manufacturing process. Tencel can be woven in 100% tencel fabrics (but it still is a bit expensive), or blended with other fibers. Like other natural fibers, tencel is naturally biodegradable. Tencel is yarn dyed and absorbs colors much better than most other fibers, and it is particularly striking in deep tones, taking on a jewel-like appearance. Lyocell can be made into microfibers (very fine fibers), offering depth and body to fabrics combined with luxurious drape. Short staple length fibers give a cotton-like look to fabrics. Long filament fibers give the finished fabric more silk-like qualities.
So, here she is in the Chrysanthemum Overshirt (v2) and her Woodland Adventure Dress.
The Tencel truly does feel like washable, drape-y silk. Randomized tucks at the neckline and inverted box pleats at the sleeve cap control the volume, while providing some interesting detail. The bound sleeve hem is perfectly soft and comfortable on the inside, and pushes up to the elbow for dinnertime. There is a tiny box pleat to shape the front hem. The trim is done in the same Kokka Ouka Chrysanthemum Pinwheels fabric as the Overshirt (in the twig/lavender colorway). They could be worn together, but they don’t have to be paired like this. There are so many colors in the Ouka fabric, but this putty grey happened to be the dreamy, ecologically friendly Tencel I’ve been dreaming of for this dress.
The raglan sleeves fit beautifully, and the single-button closure at the left shoulder is very easy to get onto a wiggly toddler. I used the same caramel button as on the Overshirt from Grandma’s button stash, but will have to find some similar buttons for any Overshirts sold in the shop.
She’s ready for anything in this dress…and before you ask, the boots (aren’t they fabulous?) are of man-made materials from Target. J actually ran over to Target to get a size 9 because we have a 7 now and he doesn’t want her to grow out of these yet this winter. Silly daddy.