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Maryellen-inspired dress for girls

Maryellen-inspired dress for girls

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This is another one of my American Girl-inspired dresses. When I first saw the new Maryellen doll, I knew I had to have that dress in a life-size version. I wasn’t able to find an exact match for the fabric, but I came pretty close. The design is a basic sundress, with the top half of the skirt cut across the length of the fabric, and the bottom half across the width. I added the ribbon trim last, and made a matching headband. My little “Maryellen” is thrilled with the results!

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November 3, 20151 commentRead More
Ruthie-inspired Feed Sack Dress

Ruthie-inspired Feed Sack Dress

Ruthie dress 6

I give full credit for the inspiration for this dress to the American Girl doll Ruthie.  I made my own girl-sized version of her dress.  Even though this is supposed to be a 1930’s style dress and is made out of out of reproduction feed sack print.  I think it looks very stylish on my modern girl.  Back in the ’30’s, girls were their dresses much shorter, but I prefer my daughters to wear dresses that at least touch the knee, so I added a few extra inches to the bottom.  This is a size 7/8, but with luck, she’ll be able to wear it for a couple of years.


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January 11, 20150 commentsRead More
Recreating Sound of Music Costumes – Brigitta’s Dirndl Outfit

Recreating Sound of Music Costumes – Brigitta’s Dirndl Outfit

Brigitta's Dirndl Brigitta’s Dirndl

I love recreating historical costumes, and when rewatching the Sound of Music recently, several of the dresses caught my eye as ones I would like to recreate.  I’m starting with Brigitta’s dirndl bodice, skirt, and blouse.

I found this picture of the original costume up for auction.

I’m not too worried about matching the fabric right now.  I mainly want to get the pattern right, and then I can make it with more suitable fabric.  I’m making it in a size 7 so my middle daughter can model it.
















I made the blouse first, using a basic bodice pattern.  I simply added a few inches to the front width and gathered it at the neckline.  I cut a strip of fabric 2″ x 18″ for the neck binding, folding under 1/2″ at the back opening edges.


The bodice was more complicated.  I made the bottom half separate from the armhole and neck trim, then sandwiched the trim over it and topstitched all the way around.

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November 30, 20140 commentsRead More
How to Make a Dress with Licensed Character Accents

How to Make a Dress with Licensed Character Accents


I bought a couple yards of My Little Pony cotton fabric to make my daughter a dress, but when planning the dress, I didn’t want to go overboard with the ponies.  So, instead of making the whole dress out of the pony fabric, I chose some coordinating colors and threw in some pony accents.  This can easily be done with any character fabric.  Here is how to add accents to a basic dress pattern:

First, we’ll add pockets.  Outline the characters you want to use on the fabric.  Add about 1/2″ seam allowance to the edges and cut out.  Trim so that both pockets are the same size.


Fold the seam allowance under and press.


I put one pocket in the center of the bodice and two on the skirt.  Pin pockets in place and topstitch close to folded edge.


Next, I cut out sleeve ruffles.  For this size 4 dress, the top ruffle is 16″ long along the straight edge, and 3 3/4″ wide.  The bottom ruffle is 3/4″ wider and 3″ longer.


Narrow hem straight edge of sleeve ruffles, and attach to bodice, sewing top ruffle on first.



DSCF9267Finally, I added a double ruffle to the bottom edge.  My skirt front and back are each 44″ wide.  For the ruffles, I cut three 44″ long strips of fabric.  The top ruffle is 3 1/2″ wide, and the bottom ruffle is 4 1/4″ wide.


Coming soon: Complete pattern for this dress!  Check back soon!



November 25, 20140 commentsRead More
How to Make a Bodice with Pintuck Pleats

How to Make a Bodice with Pintuck Pleats


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DSCF9241You can easily add a little texture to any bodice by using pintuck pleats.  There is no need to alter the pattern.  Here is how:

Step 1:  Unfold fabric and press flat.  Mark evenly spaced lines lengthwise down the wrong side of fabric.  (Tip: A gingham print makes this easy)  I spaced my lines for this dress 1″ apart.  You will need to make the pleated area at least as wide as the bodice pattern you are using, plus a couple inches.

Step 2:  Fold along each line, wrong sides together, and press.

Step 3:  Stitch close to each fold, in a 1/8″ seam.  I used red thread to accent the red cherries.


Step 4:  Find the center two pleats.  The center of your bodice will be halfway between these.  Press all pleats away from center.  So, those on the right will be pressed to the right, and the those on the left pressed to the left.

Step 5:  Now it is time to place your bodice pattern on top of the pleated fabric and cut it out.  Make sure the bodice center lines up between the center two pleats.


Step 6:  Your bodice front is now ready to be sewn into the pattern following the pattern directions!  You can add pintuck pleats to the bodice back too using the same technique.



Coming soon:  Check back soon for the pattern and instructions on how to make this cherry dress.


November 8, 20140 commentsRead More
How to Make a Pirate Skirt

How to Make a Pirate Skirt



My 9-yr-old wants to be a pirate for Halloween this year.  She plans on layering a shirt, vest, and jacket, but she needs a skirt.  She specified she wants it to be black and red and poufy.  I decided to go with black tulle, red lining, and an elastic waistband.  Here is how to make your own costume skirt:

What You Will Need:

2  yds lining fabric (this can be anything – it goes under the tulle so you can’t see through it.  I’m using cotton)

6 yds tulle

1 yd silky fabric for pennants

3″ x 44″ strip of fabric for waistband

3/4″ wide elastic, enough to go around waist


Measure around widest part of hips, around waist, and how long you want the skirt to be.


For waistband, add 3″ to the hip measurement.  Cut a 3″-wide strip of fabric this length.

For skirt lining, add 1″ to the skirt length measurement.  Cut two pieces of lining fabric this length on fold of fabric.

Leave tulle in one 6-yd length.  Trim to desired skirt length.

The pennants are going to be cut out of the silky fabric.  There will be six short and six long ones, which means you have to cut out 12 of each.  To figure out what size to make them, add 2″ to your original waist measurement, and divide by 6.  Add 1″ to this.  This will be the top width of the pennant.  I made my long pennants 18″ long, and my short ones 12″ long, but you can choose any length you wish.



Sew waistband into a circle using 1/2″ seam.  The seam will be the center back of the waistband.




Sew pennants right sides together, leaving top edge open.  Turn and press.

Sew the six long pennants together in a row across the top edges, with top corners just touching each other.  Now sew the six shorter pennants on top, overlapping as shown.  Form a circle out of the row of pennants, making sure to overlap the pennants all the way around.  The circumference of this circle should be the same as your waistband.


Baste your pennant circle to one edge of the waistband, right sides together.  Make sure the shorter triangles are on top, against the waistband.


Gather top edge of tulle.  Starting at the seam on the waistband, baste tulle to wrong side of the pennants.


Sew side seams of lining.  Sew a 1/4″ hem on bottom.  Gather top of lining.  Pin right side of lining to wrong side of tulle, making sure the center back is at the waistband seam.  Baste and stitch.


Fold waistband in half to inside, wrong sides together.  Turn under 1/4″ on bottom and stitch through all layers close to bottom edge.  Leave an opening to insert elastic.


Cut a piece of elastic that fits comfortably around waist, plus 1″.  Insert elastic into waistband.  Try on and adjust.  Sew ends of elastic together and sew seam shut.






October 17, 20140 commentsRead More
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