About 8 years ago, my Grandmother gave my older daughter a lovely dress. It was a rich shade of purple velvet, with short sleeves and a long skirt, and the most endearing ribbons for embellishment. My daughter wore it to an egg hunt on a blustery day. When the wind picked up, there was a moment when she stood up and leaned defiantly into it, like a spunky Austen heroine.
I love that memory--and that dress. When it came her turn, my little one wore it too, but she has since outgrown it, and I have been wanting to make a knit interpretation of the dress. Things began to crystalize in my mind when I took a Nicky Epstein class at my LYS.
I came home feeling inspired by Epstein's creativity...and by the pattern for a ruched shawl that I won as a doorprize. The next opportunity I had for some really dedicated knitting time came during a road trip to visit my husband's family, and I set to work. This is the result:
I tried to maintain some of the general feel of the original dress, especially the puffiness in the upper sleeve and the use of ribbons. There were some elements, though, that didn't make it into the knit version. Because this dress is for a preschooler, I dropped the waist and raised the hemline by quite a bit to make it look a little more grown up. It didn't work well to have only 2 panels of ruching in the bodice, as the proportions looked odd to me, so I opted for 3 panels. And because I couldn't resist, I added a tiny ribbon accent to the sleeves and an extra panel of ruching to the bottom hem.
I regret that I made the armholes too deep and the arms too wide for her, but since I made it up on a whim, I am willing to forgive myself. All in all, I'm pleased. ("How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!"). More pictures are on my Ravelry page.