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Two little girl dresses

2013 July 20
by elizabeth_admin

Going in the mail today are two little girl dresses that I finished yesterday.  My nieces Haley and Chloe have summer birthdays.  They love twirly dresses and the colors pink and purple.  Haley is the pink girl and Chloe is the purple girl.  They are super cute.  Since the live in Madison, WI, I don’t have the opportunity to fit them at all when I sew for them.  Since I’ve had disastrous results before sewing for my niece Katie when using a commercial pattern, I thought I would make the same dress for Haley and Chloe that I made for their b-day dresses last year, a shirred bodice dress with a ruffle for twirl factor.  The main measurement I needed for them being their chest circumference.

I bought my fabric at Yardage Town.  It was an impulse purchase, but when I saw coordinating gingham seersucker cottons in pink and purple, I knew I had hit the jackpot.  These are really cute fabrics; perfect for little girl twirly dresses.

This time I added a pleated pocket on the front of the dress for a little added interest.  I used Rae’s tutorial from Made by Rae for the pleated pocket.  I probably should have made Chloe’s pocket a little smaller to match the smaller scale of her dress, but it’s a minor complaint of my design ability.  😉



I added my label to the inside of the pockets so that it wouldn’t scratch their skin on the inside of the dress.  Plus, there was really nowhere to add it on the inside with the shirred bodice.



I used the same order of construction as last year’s dresses to accommodate the ruffling and finished edges.   Speaking of the ruffle, I used a new gadget to ruffle my ruffle, the ruffling attachment that came with my Singer Featherweight.  I think I have found Nirvana.  This attachment is the bomb!  It makes gathering so easy and fast.  It’s easy to use and the gathers are really consistent.  It’s so amazing in fact, I think I want to marry it.  I had those ruffles done in a flash after I figured out the ruffling ratio setting I needed (which was 2:1 for my cut pieces).



Check it out in action — I made a short video of it for Anne-Marie and thought I would add it here so you all could see too.   Please excuse the unprofessional film quality and messy sewing table.


I used my narrow hem foot that came with my Featherweight as well.  Both of these attachments are totally de riguer for making little girl dresses quick and painless.  I love them.  LOVE. THEM.

And one more pic of the dresses in all their twirly glory…



Hopefully my sister-in-law Tina will take some pictures of the girls asap for me to post so you can see the dresses on my nieces.  But for now, I’m off to muslin a bathing suit and trace off a vintage blouse pattern.  My mojo is definitely in high gear!

Happy sewing!

9 Responses leave one →
  1. July 20, 2013

    These are adorable and you get bonus points for making them similar but slightly different. each niece will be happy with her owwn dress.

  2. July 20, 2013

    The placement of the label is so smart. And isn’t that thoughtful of you!

  3. July 20, 2013

    They are so adorable! Nice job.

  4. Judi permalink
    July 21, 2013

    Cute dresses…you are a nice auntie!

  5. July 21, 2013

    This brings back SO many memories of the clothes I made for my twin daughters! They’re 16 now but at the time we had a purple girl and a pink girl, each of whom genuinely chose those colors as “theirs” despite my diligent feminism and careful avoidance of all things Disney Princess 🙂

  6. July 21, 2013

    Adorable dresses. Now that you’ve learned the ruffler shortcut, I think it will ruffle and sew to the base fabric at the same time. That’s really “Nirvana”. Great work.

  7. Karen Teel permalink
    July 21, 2013

    As I just got my first featherweight, would you post the tension and stitch length you used for the ruffle please? I am testing feet and stitches and love your ruffle results. Thanks Karen

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      July 21, 2013

      Hi Karen, happy to tell you what I did, but the ruffler attachment screw adjuster doesn’t have any dials to indicate how many times you turned it, so I can’t help you there. I can tell you that I used a thread tension of 4 and used a basting stitch. I don’t think you can escape making samples though. Especially if you need accuracy of your ratio of how much to gather to your ungathered dress. My ratio was 2:1, ruffle to dress. I had 44 inches of ruffle to 22 inches of dress. Hope that helps!

  8. September 13, 2013

    These are adorable! Would love to see a picture of the girls wearing them.

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