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girls dresses

Free Patterns Girls Sewing Patterns Sew-along Sewing Tutorials Sewing Videos

Free Pattern, Tutorial and Sewing Video – A simple dress

February 27, 2013

I said this would be up on Monday, and now it’s Tuesday, almost Wednesday. What happened, was that I had to do a little housekeeping on my mac as I was running out of space on my startup disk, and to my horror, all my previous backups disappeared because of some spotlight indexing issue. I shall not go into so much technical details right now as my brain is half fried, but I had to re-run Time Machine and recreate a new backup. It took up the most of Monday and while it was doing that, I was afraid to tax the system further asking it the process the movie (which was 1 hour long before editing!) That’s the story in a nutshell. Back to the pattern.

This month is all about Girls’ Dresses. So I decided to draft from scratch, a simple dress (I am really not good at fancy names) that can be used to create many different looks. A dress is simply a bodice + skirt combined. My pattern shows you how to make a round neck bodice with a gathered skirt. Change the gathered skirt to a pleated skirt, or even a circle skirt, and the dress is transformed. Add a ribbon sash, or add in some frills around the shoulders, make it with cotton, double gauze, make it with stripes, prints, solids, co-ordinating quilting fabric, you get a thousand and one looks.

The patterns were drafted following the measurements in a well known pattern “textbook” Metric Pattern Cutting for Children’s Wear and Babywear by Winifred Aldrich.


Click here to download the tutorial

I’ve drafted the patterns in the following sizes. The approximate ages and body measurements the patterns are based on are listed below each size. I have only tested two of the sizes (110 and 122) since my kids currently fall into that size range. So if you are using the other sizes for the first time, do a quick muslin (something like a mock-up using a cheap fabric) before actually using it on your actual fabric. Not everyone will fit into the standard size and the ages provided by the book are approximate, so choose the one closest in terms of chest and waist sizes, and alter the length accordingly. For example my daughter is actually closed to 130 in height but being very skinny, the 122 size fits her better but needs to be lengthened for her actual waist and skirt length. The length of the skirts I’ve included on each bodice is based on knee length skirts, but that can be easily modified to your liking. Do give me your feedback in the comments below if you have tried any of the other sizes! I would appreciate it 🙂

Here are the sizes available and their key measurements.
18mth/Chest:52cm/Waist:49cm/Waist-Knee:30cm (skirts are based on knee length)
3yrs/Chest:55cm/Waist:52cm/Waist-Knee:34cm (skirts are based on knee length)
5yrs/Chest:59cm/Waist:56cm/Waist-Knee:38cm (skirts are based on knee length)
7yrs/Chest:63cm/Waist:60cm/Waist-Knee:42cm (skirts are based on knee length)
10yrs/Chest:72cm/Waist:63cm/Waist-Knee:48.6cm (skirts are based on knee length)

Click here to download from my PDF pattern store –
all the sizes are combined into 1 zip file

And last but not least, here are the sewing videos! It was too long so I had to split it into two videos, and I’ve speeded up some of the boring parts, hope it’s not too fast to follow.

Just a word or two about the sewing videos. My methods of attaching a zipper may be a little unorthodox and certainly the “textbook” way, but I find this method a lot faster than the traditional method. If you have your own preferred method, by all means do it your own way! The other thing is with regards to the sewing down of the bodice lining. It is done this way to quicky encase the raw edges of the zip and bodice+skirt seamline, which sometimes irritate little girls with sensitive skin. My girls don’t really get bothered so sometimes I sew both layers down with the skirt after gathering, serge and topstitch it flat. When I made bridesmaid dresses for my baby niece though, I even took the extra step of hand-stitching the bodice lining down with a blind stitch so that the seams won’t irritate her (and cause her to want to yank the dress off halfway while walking down the aisle ;P) It certainly took a lot more time and effort but the end result was worth it. So it’s really up to you!

Well, that’s the last of my Girls’ Dresses blog posts. Next month will be exciting, I’ve already got the theme planned out months ago. Can’t wait to show you guys!

Girls Sewing Patterns Japanese Fabrics

Japanese Fabrics – Border prints

February 21, 2013

On Monday I reviewed two single pattern sets for Girls’ Dresses. Did you notice the fabric? It looked as if there were ribbons sewn on to the bottom skirt hem. But it was actually a printed fabric.

This type of fabric print is called a border print ボーダープリント (bo-da-pu-ri-n-to) The print repeat runs parallel to the selvedge. Note that in Japanese, it also refers to horizontal stripes. So if you search using the Japanese term don’t be surprised to find lots of stripes in your search results.

There are many interesting things you can do with border prints. You can use different parts of the fabric for the bodice of a dress and another part for the skirt, you can use it in tops, skirts, even pants to create an interesting effect. Some border prints are designed specially (such as heavier weight fabric for bags) so that you can use the different parts to co-ordinate the different parts of a bag. But since this month is Girls’ dresses month, lets look at a few border print fabrics suitable for girls dresses!

I have this fabric in my stash. I can’t even remember how much of it I have because I cannot bear to cut it up. So it stays in the stash 😛

This fabric was featured in Cucito, Spring 2012. It’s really sweet and I like how the bottom border is beige instead of a pink or red. I would love to use this fabric for myself!

Looks like flowers is a very popular theme on border prints. I like this one because the flowers look like they are from a watercolor painting. This was featured in Cucito 2012 Spring too.

Flowers again! But I had to show you this one. It’s so colorful and the flowers look like they are embroidered on. I love the colorful strips near the selvedge. Very folksy and happy fabric! Would be lovely on a girl’s dress!

This one has flowers too but it is a little different, because it has a scallop lace edge. I saw this fabric last year, with the pattern by Yuki Araki. The fabric alone looks more suitable for an adult. It’s cotton lawn and a little thin, but it does look cute on the girl’s dress too.

Something a little less flowery. This one is called piano polka, if I’m not wrong I have seen this in Cucito too.

I know many of you have asked about buying fabrics online from Japan especially the fabrics I have featured on my site. I hope to post a guide soon about how to buy from Rakuten shops that do not ship out of Japan. I am waiting for my fabric order to arrive so I can tell you all about it!

Next week will be the last week of February, so there will be a free pattern+tutorial+video for you to sew-along to. See you back here on Monday!

Girls Sewing Patterns Translations and Help with Patterns

Translation Request

February 15, 2013

Just wanted to share with you a recent translation request from one of my readers – Kat, that I received a few weeks ago. I was so sure I reviewed this book before but after searching my own archives, it seems that I haven’t?

Anyway, this book is all about Girls clothes using knit fabrics. Those of you who have this book may find it useful so I will post the translations below. There were two requests – pattern C and pattern P. I will post one up today and the other next week.

Picture of dress C. Round collar, short sleeves with pleated skirt and ribbon detail.

Click on the images to view in actual size.

The pattern calls for knit fabrics, but Kat was wondering if it was ok to use non-stretch fabrics, i.e. normal cottons, since there is a back closure. I believe so, since the bodice is high and the dress does not seem tight fitting. What do you think? Or if you have made this dress, will it work with non-stretchy fabrics?

Book Reviews Girls Sewing Patterns Japanese Sewing Books

Book Review – Cotton clothing for girls

February 13, 2013

It’s Girls’ Dresses month but today’s book review is not just for dresses. It’s actually a book with patterns for girls cotton clothing in general. The reason why I am blogging about this book is because it is one of the oldest in my collection, and it contains one of my favorite dress patterns. One that I have used and re-used many times. I still have the traced patterns, they are old and crinkly now, but I can still use them!

The book is called 木綿の女の子服 which means Cotton clothing for Girls. (木綿 – Cotton) (女の子 – Girls) (服 – Clothes)  The book is published by Ondori which is a very familiar publisher to me because of all the Ondori cross stitch pattern books my Mum used to buy. I guess that is why I’m a big fan of Japanese craft books myself since I grew up browsing through my Mum’s collection!

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Free Japanese Sewing Patterns Links Free Patterns

February is Girls’ Dresses Month

February 4, 2013

For the last two weeks, I have been busy sewing up dresses for both myself and the girls, because the Lunar New Year is just around the corner! The yearly tradition is that everyone should be decked from top to bottom in new clothes and go around visiting friends and relatives. What this means for the handmade+sewing obsessed Mum that I am, is lots of sewing. So far I’ve completed 4 dresses and 2 sets of pajamas for the girls, as well as 2 dresses for myself! All in two weeks. Even I’m impressed. ;P

And so, it seems only natural, that this month’s theme is going to revolve around girls’ dresses. For the next couple of weeks I will be doing a couple of book reviews and blog posts about fabrics suitable for Girls’ Dresses. There will also be a free pattern+tutorial released on the last week of the month. I hope those of you who don’t have little girls will still find it interesting. Maybe you could do some sewing for a niece or a best friend’s daughter? 🙂

To kick off “Girls’ Dresses Month”, here’s a free dress pattern from I have linked up to the clover free patterns page before in a previous post but I do not recall seeing this particular pattern. In fact, I found this pattern through a direct link from another website and not from their main website. On the heading of the page it says 2003 Summer Sewing campaign so I guess it must be quite an old pattern from the archives. Nevertheless, it is a cute pattern and it’s even designed by the famous Yoshiko Tsukiori. I believe she must be one of the more well known Japanese sewing book author since a number of her books have been translated to English (and I heard more are on the way). There is only one pattern on this page but it is a very detailed pattern. There are properly drafted patterns for sizes 95cm-130cm and there are even step by step photographs. Isn’t it a super cute dress? 🙂

All the PDF links are under the main picture, see the links to click below.


Start sewing this cute dress ahead of time for spring and summer!

Hope you like today’s free pattern. Will be back on Thursday with a fabrics post.