I spent much of yesterday happily absorbed in design fever. (And will atone for that by spending much of today less happily mired in feverish decluttering.) After some on-the-body measuring (to the amateur violin-like strains of "but mooooom, standing still is booooooring") and some comparison measuring of existing garments, I came up with a dress shape. And then woke up in the middle of the night having second thoughts about whether it would be too loose. I have a horror of things being too small, especially kid stuff, and consequently a tendency to be over liberal with adding ease here and there throughout the calculations. C did specifically say she wanted a snug dress, not a flouncy one, so I think I will redraw the bodice a little straighter down to the waist before flaring the skirt portion. And remeasure everything in suspiciously OCD fashion. (Just ask my DH about checking the front door lock when we go on holidays - except there was that one time I was right and he HAD forgotten and it was a Good Thing I Checked.)
The graph paper was generated by Print a Grid - a simple (and inexpensive!) but mind-bogglingly useful program. I was able to generate a grid that matched my gauge specifications exactly, and thus accurately graph the design stitch by stitch.
Now to work out the dragon - it must be recognizably Norse / Celtic, tending towards cute rather than evil, but not saccharin or cartoonish, and have enough surface features that it will not form a solid blob of reverse stockinette in the centre of the dress, which could make it sag or bulge due to the elastic properties of the stitch. I've been combing google images for days, and now have a reasonable handle on the general anatomical features I want, but haven't found an existing design that comes close to being directly adaptable. Probably just as well.
After the kids went to bed, I finished up the last sleeve of my nemesis:Good thing I liberated all those pins the other day! I'm going to sew it up first, so as to be absolutely certain how wide the knotwork cuffs need to be. Oh, and this is all that was left over - seems I did manage to do the math second time around.