Good morning! Today we will start making the balloon dress. Before we begin, I’ll just make a quick explanation about the terms. The balloon dress is basically made up of two dresses. One wide dress on the outside (referred to in the instructions as dress in surface fabric/surface fabric), and one inner dress (referred to as dress in lining fabric/lining). The outer dress in surface fabric is wider and longer, while the inner lining dress is narrower and shorter. So that when the outer dress is gathered to fit the inner dress, it forms a balloon dress.
In the book the inner and outer dress are made using the same fabric. It is really up to you if you want to do that. You can opt to use a co-ordinating or even plain lining fabric for the inside. In my example I’m using cotton lawn for both inside and outside. But in two different colors. My surface fabric is magenta, inner fabric is a reddish pink.
If you have not bought your fabric yet, do take note that because the pattern outer/surface fabric dress is very wide, you will need to cut the fabric cross grain (see diagram below). I was using a standard 110cm width cotton lawn fabric (note that in book it’s a 90cm width), and I was making a 110cm size for my 4 yr old. I tried to save fabric by cutting it straight grain at first, but the sides were not wide enough. So it is necessary to take into consideration the print orientation if you have not bought your fabric or have not cut it yet.
Ok let’s start!
This was the method for making the loop according to the book. The loop in the end, consists of only 2 layers of fabric, with two raw edges. My first dress was made using double gauze and it frayed easily, so I could not use this method. So it depends on the type of fabric you are using. If it’s thin enough you may want to do a double fold to tuck in the raw edges completely. I leave it up to you.
Warning before the next step : This loop will be sewn on to the back in the next step. The instructions required trimming down the length to 3.5cm but the loop was a little too short to handle while sewing. It involves alot of sticking your finger very close to the needle to keep it in place. If you find it hard to handle, you can choose NOT to trim the edges down to 3.5cm. Just mark the length on the piece, and use the markings to align to the center line. In that way, you will be able to have more grip on the loop while sewing it down, and then trim off the excess later on. So read on first before deciding whether or not to cut it off, but I will follow the sequence in the book instructions anyway.
Alternatively, you can choose to do a different finishing instead of the hook+button combo in the book. I made one dress with two long cords (for a ribbon tie), and you can also use a short elastic band. Another way to get around the difficulty of sewing on the short loop (if you have cut it already) will be to tack it down by hand. Later on it will be secured with proper stitches while attaching the surface and lining pieces together.
Trim off ends leaving 3.5cm
Next, sew it to the back bodice (right side).
I’m showing you the final result first so you know where to place the loop for sewing. 1cm from the top edge, align ends of loop to centre line.
This is how I sewed the loop. First lay it flat (with raw edges facing towards you). Align edge to centre line, and sew down 0.3cm from center line.
Then, using your fingers or tweezers, lift the presser foot (with needle down) and turn the loop in. Lower the presser foot carefully as the loop may try to slip out and continue sewing the bottom of the loop.
STEP 2 :
Translation : For surface body piece, inner body pieces, sew down the side seams with right sides together, and press seams open.
(No diagrams included in the book)
First, do the lining pieces. With front and back pieces, place right sides facing, and sew down the sides.
Oops, label is crooked. Had to unpick and re-do it 🙁
ETA : Great news! This book is now available in English and the title is called Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids
Links to the sew-along