Glamming up and cutting down

Excitement!! I was asked to make up a couple of little girls dresses from existing garments …

The first was a navy-blue polka-dot t-shirt, that was too long for normal wear but not quite long enough for a t-shirt dress … so a ruffle on the bottom to extend the length and glam it up a bit looked like the best idea. As it happened, I had a navy blue cotton voile scarf with a variety of polka-dot pattersn on it in stash, and the two just went perfectly together:

As makeovers go, it was pretty simple … I folded the scarf in half to make a double ruffle, and ironed it to hold the line. I marked the half-way and quarter points with a little cross-stitch, and then basted a running stitch along the crease and gathered until it was the same length as the hemline of the t-shirt. After distributing the gathers evenly along the scarf, I matched the cross-stitch marks to the t-shirt – so that it runs from one side all the way round, with the half-way cross-stitch meeting the opposite side seam, and the quarter marks matching to front and back centre. I *always* baste gathered garments before machining … it holds the gathers and stops them scooting along the hem as you sew 😉 … and then finished with a double row of contrast white machine stitching to attach the ruffle to the t-shirt.

The second wasn’t quite so straightforward … the little princess in question fell in love with a vintage ladies nightdress, but wanted it in ‘small’ so she could wear it:

The pattern and colours are glorious … but it was a sheer polyester, and would need lining and interfacing to make it decent and wearable without needing a vest and leggings underneath, and the ruffle around the top would be too much on a little one, without anything approaching a decolletage. We agreed on a simple tunic dress, without too much in the way of fancy styling. Tunic dresses are pretty simple to make, and there are loads of patterns out there. For this one, I used a simplified version of a vintage pattern:

Very seventies! But instead of the gathered front, I kept the tunic flat-fronted, and omitted the sleeves. The pattern didn’t allow for lining, either, so there was a certain amount of fiddling about to incorporate it. After a fair amount of experimentation, the lining I liked best was a pale mint-green light linen tablecloth … it was enough of a contrast underneath the sheer polyester to really bring out the colours in the pattern, without detracting from it. The polyester is so sheer that I’ve serged all the hems for extra security to try to stop it fraying and pulling, but I have my doubts about how well it will stand up to small-child abuse – we shall see. I incorporated the ribbon trim across the front and back … and we’re almost there. I’m still in two minds about whether or not to use the ruffle to make little cap sleeves for it … I like it pretty well as-is, and just need to do the final finishing and attach a button at the back.

I’m going to cut out one of the flower shapes from the leftover fabric, stiffen it, and make a little matching hair-clip to go with this super-cute dress!

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