Kid Couture (Part 1)

Eva has become very interested in my sewing.  She comes right up and watches me cut the fabric pieces out (and, to keep me on my toes, she’ll sometimes step ontop of the fabric, pattern, or cutting mat and shift everything around).  She begs to sit on my lap while I sew, and she is convinced that my machine sounds just like a choo-choo train, so she adds the “whoo whoo” while I stitch away.  She “helps” me pin the fabric pieces together (with some instruction she can stick the pins straight in at the right place, but needs me to stick them back through the other way).  It all takes longer with her around, but it’s fun to teach her, and it’s unquestionably a better idea than turning my back on a toddler while she’s rummaging around in my sewing room!

She LOVED watching and “helping” when I sewed my pink 50’s dress from the previous post, and she loved the fabric!  Through the whole time I worked on my dress, she would pick up lengths of fabric, drape them over herself toga style, and murmur “pretty pink”.  It was just too cute!  When my own dress was finished, I had about a half a yard leftover (because I cut more efficiently than the pattern instructions told me to) and I decided to make her a “pretty pink” dress as well.

I didn’t have a pattern for sewing anything for a 2 year old, and I didn’t want to spend money or time buying one.  So, I took out my tape measure, stripped Girly to her diaper, and took some quick measurements.  (She thought this was great fun by the way, and proceeded to hold the tape measure up to Daddy and me throughout the evening, meticulously “measuring” our arms, legs, hands, and faces).  I took her waist measurement and the length from the top of her shoulder down to her navel.  Divided the waist measurement by 2, added seam allowances to both, and cut out a rectangle in those dimensions.  I completely guesstimated how big to make the arm and neck holes, and cut those out from the rectangle to create the front bodice pattern piece.  For the bodice back, I basically cut out half the width (planning on two separate pieces that would be closed w/ a zipper) and made the neckline a lot higher.  Then for the skirt, I increased the waist measurement for extra fabric to gather at the waist, divided by 4, and cut out a trapezoid that got wider towards the bottom, in the length I wanted.  Her homemade pattern looks like this:

Pattern for Eva\'s Dress

A completely original pattern, just for my Eva doll

Since I was winging it, this seemed like an appropriate time to make a muslin mock-up.  I don’t actually have any muslin but I have about 20 yards of leftover cotton diaper twill that I bought in bulk 2 years ago, so I cut some out, basted it together, and put it on Eva.  She did NOT care for this part of the process and was just livid that I made her try it on.  Despite her protest I’m glad I did it, because the pattern needed a few tweaks to fit quite right.  Easy enough, I made the arm holes a bit larger and we were good to go.

Sewing the dress was pretty simple.  I cut out 2 bodice front pieces and 4 back pieces.  I sewed the bodice fronts to backs at the shoulders, then sewed the two bodices to each other through the arm holes and neck holes, serged, and turned right side out and topstitched the raw edges together for a “lined” bodice (although the lining and outer fabric are the same).  This was basically the technique called for in the Simplicity pattern I used for my dress, and I like it MUCH better than fiddling with interfacing and stupid pieces of fabric that stop halfway down my bust – which always make me itch, and invariably bunch up on top of my boobs.

For the skirt, I just sewed the four pieces together and serged the seams and raw edges.  I basted at the waistline so I could gather the skirt, pinned it to the bodice, and sewed the two together.  The same ribbon trim I’d used on my own dress worked great for the hemline and bodice/skirt seam on Eva’s dress too!  I got the entire dress finished in one obsessive frenzied night, except for the zipper, which my beloved husband was good enough to pick up for me since he was headed near a fabric store.  Since we already owned the fabric, trim, matching thread, and pattern paper with which I made the pattern, the total cost for this dress was the $1.29 we spent on the zipper!

The finished product turned out so stinking cute I can hardly stand it!  And Eva just looooooves this dress!  Throughout the pattern creating and sewing process, I told her I was making the dress for her.  She knows it’s hers, knows I made it, and of course she loved the fabric before I started.  Now, on days that she insists she wants to be a “nekkid baby” and stay in a diaper only, I can overcome her objections by pulling this out, and invariably she’ll all but beg to get to wear “pretty pink dress.”

Eva’s “Pretty Pink” dress


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