Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sewing on a Budget - Easter Dresses and Bonnets

With Easter so early this year, there were dresses and bonnets on my mind!

This pretty balloon fabric from Abakhan Fabrics looked just perfect, mind you I didn't imagine that there could be snow for Easter when I was planning on dresses. Of course they would also be very suitable for any special occasion in (a warmer!) spring and summer!

These patterns are from a book of French patterns by Her Little World. The book is called Creations à coudre pour l'été (which includes 22 patterns) and the patterns are all in French, but the diagrams are excellent, so they are not difficult to sew from.

I picked these patterns for sewing on a budget because I had them already, so I count that as no cost! As well as patterns (French and English) and books (French only), Her Little World also have 2 very unique free dress patterns (Shutt & Mistinguette - in English) on their site, which would be another excellent way of keeping costs down.

The fabric costs for 2 dresses and 2 hats were:

4 metres cotton mix fabric (£2.85pm) £10.60

1 metre white linen fabric (similar to this) £2.99

1 metre heavy interfacing £0.89

(Elastic from a previous order with Abakhan Fabrics)

Total £14.48

(Apparently this is a 'flamingo' pose!)


The hats were easy to sew, and instructions are to sew the lining and outer layers separately, then sew right sides together, leaving a gap at the outer brim for turning. Turn right side out, then topstitch the outer brim. That's what I did for the dolls hat.

For the bigger hat I sewed it differently because I thought the interfaced brim would get very crumpled by being pulled through the opening. Instead I constructed the brim pieces first, using the method described on page 3&4 of the instructions for Oliver+S free hat pattern.
There's another free hat pattern available from Hot Patterns, which could be used for a child if printed at approx 75%

This picture of both dresses illustrates the two major changes I made to the dress pattern. I added lining (sewn to the front armholes and back top seam, then follow instructions, and sew each side seam of outer and lining all in one) to give the dress more body and sewed the straps into the top back seam of my daughters dress unlike the dolls dress. We thought this would be more comfortable to wear, rather than tying them at the back of her neck.

Of course the dress is twirly too!

It's been a while since I sewed anything for her dolls. She was so happy when she saw this dolls dress and hat, that I will have to make more, and soon, before she grows out of playing with them.


(The fabric and notions for these dresses and hats were chosen by me and supplied by Abakhan Fabrics, free, as part of their challenge to sew on a budget)

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  1. This dress will be great for summer, if it ever comes!
    The matching hat and doll's outfit is super cute. You are so kind to sew even for her doll!

    1. Oh, Karin, we so badly need summer here too! I think making these was wishful thinking, but I couldn't believe how pleased she was with them - very encouraging ;-)

  2. The dress will be perfect for a nice hot summer day! The balloon print is fun and the colors are perfect for Easter!:)

    1. Thank Cindy, I'm really looking forward to taking some pictures on a warm day - it's still so cold here! We're all wearing woollies for Easter :-)

  3. so pretty! and with the hat, it's like a little lady :-). I love your work, as always...

    1. Michal, thank you! that's a lovely compliment :-) Thankfully she still likes pretty dresses, as that might not last too long more.

  4. Just found your blog... and love this dress! So cute! My daughters are all now taller than me, but I have a little niece! ;)

    1. Hello Sally, thank you :-) Sewing small cute clothes is just irresistible! Lucky little niece!