27 January 2016

The Pink Leopard Dress

When my daughter tells me what she wants in a new dress, I listen, usually. She has been known to come up with weird wacky ideas, but this time I think she was onto a winner. This is how Miss 6 described her newest dress to me, complete with hand gestures - straight across at the front with a halter neck, low at the back, and with a high-low skirt.

Pretty straightforward, although the fabric she asked for was one that I simply didn't have - leopard print. Lucky for me, The Fabric Store had a VIP sale that was just starting. I vetoed every fabric she found with a leopard print: think chiffons and silks, so we brought home this rather appropriate pink fabric. It might be more camouflage print than leopard print, but it fit the bill for her.

As usual when I make dresses for Miss 6, I made this one a little bigger so that she can get a few year's wear out of it. I actually made a toile for this dress, not my usual practice for her, but it helped highlight some issues that needed to be addressed before I sewed it up. Due to the larger size, the dress gaped rather a lot around the back, so I made sure to add elastic from the edge of the straps down to the zip at the back. Zip you say? Although the waist is a little larger than her waist, as she grows the waist will probably get stuck on her shoulders as she puts it on, so I put a zip in the back, and elastic at the waist to bring it into her natural waist.

I lined the bodice so that I could sew casings at the armhole and waist to thread the elastic through. I probably could have made the elastic a bit tighter, and even brought the elastic right across the top of the bodice. I'll know to do that for next time.

I had to add a second buttonhole so the top
didn't sit too low.
The skirt is a full circle. I recently (the same day as fabric shopping actually), bought a book on draping, which covers a bit of history, fashion illustration, and also design of some draped styles. As I was flicking through it, this page caught my attention.

It was exactly what I needed for the skirt of this dress. Not having ever  done a high-low circle skirt before, I hadn't thought of simply moving the centre circle for the waist. It's such a simple method. I added the seam allowance for the zipper into my calculations for the waist circle, and cut down the centre back to allow insertion of the zipper, sewing to a point like a dart below the zipper.

I managed to squeeze this out just before the school holidays ended, and we went for a last-day-of-school-holidays-walk to get some gelato, doing our photo shoot along the way.

As well as the obligatory twirling photos, Miss 6 thought some jumping photos would be a good idea, so here we go.

Rather fortuitously, the leopard print also fits in with Jungle January. This is my first foray into Jungle January (see all posts from this second link), see comment previously regarding me not owning any leopard print.

So what do we think of Miss 6's designing skills? I think she came up with a great design here, and I was more than happy to bring it to life for her.


  1. What a great little designer she is! The dress looks lovely. I borrow that book from time to time from the local library. It's a good one.

    1. Thanks Megan. She's pretty chuffed with it. The book is quite good. It would be great for anyone wanting to learn how to draw draped designs. My daughter isn't keen on seeing all the backsides though. She didn't want me to use the picture that I did!