Genevieve is 9, and this is an awkward stage to dress because girl clothes don't come in size 9. Size 8 goes straight to size 10, and often it is not just size 10, but size 10-12. Clearly someone made a mistake, yes? Because I have a beautiful tall string-bean and commercial clothes either fit her shoulders while her wrists and knees stick out (size 8), or come down decently over her wrists and knees, but bag and sag off her shoulders and slender torso (size 10). And this is just for school uniforms and play clothes - try finding something that can be called dressy!
Plus, I think it's a tricky balance to strike a sweet, yet not babyish or too adult, look for a girl this age (I cannot bring myself to call her a tween - sorry). I think we might be entering the era of be-resigned-to-a-time-investment-and-take-G-shopping-so-she-can-try-on-clothes. My current method is to run errands alone during the school day, doing my research and thinking ahead of time so I can be in and out of a familiar clothing store in 10 minutes if there are no lines. I rarely browse in a store because I don't always make good decisions on the fly (thus frustrating the marketing and design of all retail stores - oh darn).
So here are my latest solutions for Genevieve's dressy clothes.
This is a gored skirt I made for her using a vintage pattern borrowed from Rebecca.
Although I measured the girl and read the pattern carefully, the skirt ended up being inches too large at the waist (another rant: trying to fit skirts that stay up on girls whose waist and hips are the same - yes, there is elastic, but I was trying for a slightly dressier, more grown-up look here).
I did not remove the waistband and reduce the waistband and seams; I simply sewed the side seam smaller, including the waistband as well, and then I cut off the excess inside. This is considered sloppy sewing, but I thought the repair would be hidden enough. I added belt loops.
Now Genevieve can adjust the waist to fit and hide the seamed waistband behind the belt as well. Braided belts are fabulous for children because they are full of holes, so you can buckle the belt however tight or loose it needs to be. I found this belt at a thrift store for $2.
|Showing a tiny flash of the yellow bias tape I used to finish the hem.|
Genevieve is also wearing her brown boots, bought from Kohl's in the fall with a coupon, and a red shirt that was passed down to her by a friend. I used fabric from my stash for this skirt, but I chose carefully so that the skirt goes with several sweaters and shirts that she already has. And given the length and waistband of this skirt, I hope it lasts for several years.
Then Rebecca's Clara passed down a vintage linen shift to Genevieve. We are using it like a jumper in the winter, and hoping it will be a sleeveless shift in the spring and fall (it's lined with polyester, so I'm not sure she will want to wear it in summer). I had so much fun going through my scarves and things to see how we could style this dress; I didn't buy anything new to go with it.
This peasant blouse
. I added a tiny vintage velvet collar - it's just buttoned around the neck and is much too small for me, but so exquisite I had it tucked in with my scarves. She could wear brown boots and tights with this. Or black flats and black tights.
Long-sleeved cream tee with another of those exquisite collars, this one beaded with seed pearls. Crazy tights, plus black flats or brown boots. But of course, she could wear cream tights with black flats.
The long-sleeved tee again, this time with this infinity scarf
at the neck.
Genevieve herself, wearing the shift with a white button-down, crazy tights, and black flats.
She is nine years old, so beautiful and funny, and definitely a strawberry blonde in the sunlight.