Sunny Day Dress & Cardi
Middle school fashion is tough enough: it seems like you have to satisfy everyone else’s criteria (school, parents, the other kids); your body is changing every day, so you’re never sure how things will feel or look; and you just want something comfortable & stylish that reflects YOU. Then you discover that your scoliosis has gotten worse, and now you need to wear a Boston brace 20 hours a day to straighten your back. Overnight everything is all wrong: your clothes are all too tight or reveal too much – there’s no overlooking that brace.
Nevertheless, you are brave; you will face this thing head on: you will… GO SHOPPING! Where… you find the jeans are mostly low-cut – without a hipbone to hug, they slide right off the slippery brace. The pants that fit your brace’s large waist sag around its small hips – and at the very bottom, where your own extra-small bottom sits, it looks like you have no bottom at all! Up top is not much better; the brace doesn’t add much girth, but it does stick out, especially when you lean over. Let’s face it, you have weird proportions, new angles, and ready-made is definitely NOT ready for YOU!This is the dilemma my daughter has been facing this year. Lucky for her, right now is actually a good time, fashion-wise, to wear a brace — tops are longer & billowy; scarves, cardigans & vests are in style. If we could just resolve that problem of her pants sliding off, she could rock a look like nobody’s business. Her luck continues: her mom can sew!
This simple & slim spring shift, of brightly printed stretch cotton, features gathers that accent the neck and shoulders. A pleat at the back allows plenty of ease for the back brace. For added pop, I added bias trim to finish the hem, armhole & neck edges. One problem I’ve encountered with some women’s patterns is that the necklines are too low-cut for the younger, developing figure. To overcome that problem, I inserted a fluttery, gathered flounce at the neckline to fill in the too low neckline, echoing the other accent gathers.
To make the cardigan, I adapted the jacket pattern included in this pattern. In my version, which uses only 1 yard of fabric, I shortened the sleeves, eliminated the center back seam and reworked the lapel piece into a shawl collar. I made it up in a yellow slub-striped poly/rayon sweater knit, creating a gossamer thin spring topper. Soft, loose and drapey, it can be worn in different ways and helps to conceal the back brace.
Sunny Day Dress & Cardi
Dress front view
Another way to wear the cardi (with purchased belt)
Dress neckline detail
Dress back detail