My niece Nina, once she started the kindergarten, discovered the charm of pink and got hooked by it – to her mum’s horror, as it was something her mother wanted to keep her daughter save from (and maybe herself too, in a way). However, when a group of little girls meet for a couple of hours everyday – some magical force comes into existence. And my sister told me, with a shrug of resignation: ‘Whenever I come to pick her up from the kindergarten, you know, all the girls are playing around dressed up as princesses and they are all (the costumes, not the girls) so … (another sigh) … tacky, cheap, ugly and, uhm … PINK! What’s more, a dress-up kindergarten ball is coming and guess who Nina wants to dress up as? … a princess, of course! So my task was to make a princess dress but such a dress that both Nina and her mother would accept – that’s what I call a challenge!
The plan was to use tulle abundantly to make Nina gleam with happiness, while the shape and the trimmings of this dress were to be classy (so against the stereotype of a girly princess dress). To be honest I’m exaggerating a bit as my sister takes the entire matter with a pinch of salt. As I was searching for a fabric in a nice colour somebody presented a tulle skirt to my niece – so it was on this occasion when me and my sister Marynia learnt that princess dress must ‘ wave as you spin’! Oh dear, she already has a tulle skirt which waves, so all I was left with was … pink colour! I decided then to make a nice magenta dress suitable for a little girl.
And now for something completely different; one day me and Małgosia (from Brother) got a phone call that made us realised we remembered wrongly the date of the next issue of Mollie Potrafi magazine and the people from the editor office asked us why we hadn’t sent them the new tutorial and told us that they needed it urgently the following day!!!! AAAAAGGGHHHH!! Since I have always been good at time management I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make both: a dress and tutorial. But honestly, I couldn’t sleep the night before and just waited for the neighbours to wake up so I could start sewing, fortunately three hours later both things were ready! Oh yeah!
I was surprised and proud to see Nina hop quickly into that dressed and run in front of the mirror, then she ran to her mother and whispered something into her ear. (Nina is still quite shy with me, I see her too seldom, I guess). As I found later she decided to wear that dress to her dress-up kindergarten ball!!! HA, apparently little girls don’t have to be covered in tulle to feel like princesses, all you need is some pink colour a ribbon and a couple of nice buttons :)
Let’s get to work!
I’ll tell you how to make this dress, the shape is easy, but most importantly I’ll tell you how to make an convex appliqué. We’re going to use a knitted fabric as it helps to hide any sewing imperfections and is easy to sew and easy to wear. I decided to pair my pink dress with a blue appliqué (it’s supposed to have the feel of playful, out-of-comicsbooks ribbon and a collar) and four unmatched little buttons – some leftovers of old collections – thank god for them, otherwise I don’t know where I’d find nice buttons at 6 o’clock in the morning. You can cover the buttons in some fabric, just make sure the fabric is not too thick and before you take them to the professional button-coating shop make sure to prepare the fabric with which you want the buttons coated (wash it in water at least 50 Celsius):
LET”S GET WORKING!
Prepare the pattern copying the dress shape onto a paper. If the dress has a sleeve use pins to copy the shape, by piercing it through the fabric and paper along the curved seams. You can put dark fabric underneath to make the punctures in the paper more visible. Check my instruction on how to copy shape from t-shirt (HERE) . You can always cut an old dress into pieces to get the cutting pattern.
Draw the appliqué outline on the front, avoid drawing it symmetrically in the middle: be spontaneous, and draw it imperfectly to give it casual, cartoon character. I drew a collar and a ribbon, but you can go for some other designs, just make sure the shape is not too complicated.
Put a piece of blue knitted fabric under the dress front and pinned it up and stitch the outline using a special appliqué foot with open front.
Now the harder part, on the wrong side of the dress cut away the excess fabric of the interlacing,
than do the same on the right side cutting the pink fabric 4-5mm beyond the seams. Watch out not to cut two layers.
Remove only the top knitted fabric so to achieve the convex appliqué with raw, unfinished edges. If you’re worried that the fabric may fray at the edges you can secure the edges with a special appliqué stitching, but than you’ll lose this spatial effect.
Fold the neckline 1 cm inside, press it and stitch.
Sew up the front and back of the dress together along the shoulder seam and the sides.
The fold the sleeves lengthwise right sides inside and stitch them. Turn the sleeves out.
Finish their bottom hem the same way as you did with the neckline folding 1-2cm inside. When you stitch along so small circumference it’s best when you turn it to the right side but stitch it on the wrong side, placing presser foot inside sleeve.
Turn the dress inside out, but keep the sleeves on the right side: put the sleeves into the dress so that the armhole and the sleeve circumference are put together, right sides together. Make sure the front of the dress touches the front part of the sleeve. Stitch them around . You can check my other tutorial for more details on how to sew and trimm sleeves (HERE)
Finally sew on the buttons under the collar.
Done! :) I love these buttons!
This tutorial has been prepared for you by Janek