One of our son’s favorite friends is a little girl who will be turning four soon. She absolutely loves all things girly – princesses, dresses, dolls, and changing her own dresses and the ones on her dolls several times a day. I was thrilled when I came across fabric recently that is ruched at the top and a bit poufy at the bottom, perfect length to be a dress for a little girl, already hemmed at the bottom. All you have to do is get the chest measurement, cut the fabric to the right length, and sew one seam up the back. Then you add a couple of ribbons as straps, and you have a little girl’s sundress that takes about 15 minutes to make.
There was a Tinkerbell fabric and I found adorable Tinkerbell ribbon to make the straps – all for about ten dollars.
Once we got home, I used our son (roughly the same size as his friend) to get the measurement just right on the fabric. The strip that I ended up cutting off was about five or six inches wide, and had the ruched fabric at the top… it was crying out to be made into a doll dress.
So the last time we went to Goodwill, I looked for a Barbie (our son’s friend loves Barbies) that I could use as a model for a dress. They didn’t have any, but I found a bag that had a brand new Groovy Girls doll in it, for $2.99. The bags are sealed, but they’re clear plastic so you can see a lot of what’s in them. I could tell that the doll was in brand-new-with-tags condition, so I bought the bag and brought her home.
Bonus score: Tucked in among a bunch of other stuff that we donated back to Goodwill, the bag also contained a little ziplock bag with ten Lego figurines! Our son has recently gotten into small Legos (after a few years of playing with the larger Legos), and his grandparents got him a set for Christmas and another set for his birthday. He had a total of 3 figurines before, and now has 13. They have all sorts of parties. It’s very awesome.
Anyway, yesterday I sat down to sew up a little dress for the Groovy Girls doll. She came with one dress, but I wanted to use the little fabric offcut that I had. Alas, my sewing machine bit the dust as soon as I started to use it – the thread was getting all tangled up and making a mess. My dad is my sewing machine repairman, but we won’t be seeing him again until after we go to our son’s friend’s birthday party.
So I decided to hand-sew the dress. Our son sat next to me, watching with great fascination. Every few minutes he would say something like “wow, mom! Look how far you’ve sewn already!”, which made me feel like a very quick seamstress.
I didn’t have enough fabric to wrap all the way around the doll (she’s a bit wider than a Barbie, which was my original plan), so I added a strip of the ribbon running down the back to connect the two ends of the fabric. I also added a strip of ribbon around the bottom of the dress. The whole project took about an hour.
Here’s our Groovy Girl, ready for the ball:
And here she is from the back:
I haven’t sewn the girl-sized dress yet, and I think that’s going to have to wait until after I have my sewing machine back in action. Not sure that I trust my hand-sewing skills enough to make something that will need to be laundered on a regular basis. But for a doll, it worked out just fine. Our son was thrilled with the gift we’re giving his friend, and I know she’ll love it. I love that he watched such a good gift come together from a three dollar Goodwill toy bag (which had bonus Lego figurines in it!!) and a little offcut of fabric. Plus, we’ll still be able to make a really cute dress for his friend once I have my sewing machine working again.