Sunday 18 January 2015

DIY GIRL'S FROCK: The story of the purple dress - Part 1

No, I am not a seamstress, I am a dentist. And between my work hours I love sewing clothes for my little girl.

I learnt sewing when I was on vacation, at school, waiting for my board exam results. Mostly due to the insistence of my mother who thought it may help me out in need, partly because I wanted to kill away time and the nervousness of waiting for the dreaded results of my school exams.

The teacher was an old lady, who taught me simple basics over a period of 20 days on a rickety old machine run by one's feet!! The results were out, off I went to college for a gruelling five years of dental undergraduate studies, and the years as an intern flew by. Then marriage happened, and I had long ago forgotten the sewing machine or anything to do with it. But over 4 years ago I was blessed with a sweet little daughter.

Don't know if pregnancy changes the brain, but I suddenly found myself fascinated by little girl clothes. I would day dream about some pretty little dress and conjure up images in my mind dressing up my little one in them. After choosing a fabric and a tailor I would painstakingly make sketches and explain my piece of imagination to them. I would be greeted by a vehement shaking of the head , telling me they don't do it.

Then over her first birthday, I took the plunge and bought the most basic sewing machine of the rack, my Brother Ls-2125. Dusted out my basic knowledge of sewing, Googled up so much great information available online. Many trial and errors and 3 years of sewing I have come up with pretty good end results. Often after the 8-hour work shift you will see me sewing away like crazy, making tiny little clothes for my daughter or niece.

DIY Purple dress for child
My trusty old machine!!

This simple purple frock is out a purple velvet jersey fabric and was made over say 5 hours or so.

Lets begin with some things I learned through trial and error.
- Drafting your own pattern is very simple, just use a T-shirt to draft the bodice.
- Draft your pattern on a paper or muslin if you are a beginner, saves a lot of costly fabrics from being ruined.
- Pin/ use weight as you cut or sew. Gives perfect edges.
- A serger is not necessary, just use the widest zigzag on your machine.
- Always oil and clean and use a new needle for each of your projects. Prevents you from getting stuck and frustrated in between.
- Sew on scraps of the fabric to get hang of the thread tension, before starting the project.
- Clip away loose thread and finish your inner seams as good as you can. Your end product will look like its been bought of a rack.
- Always open up a seam and iron on them before the next step. Gives a perfectly finished garment.
- Make sure that children's clothing has as minimum seams inside as possible. The technique of a lined bodice here gives perfect results each time.Here is a great tutorial on lined bodices 

And sew away.

DIY Purple dress for child

DIY Purple dress for child

1- Use a T shirt to draft the bodice and its lining. Leave 1/2" seam allowance when cutting.

DIY Purple dress for child

2- Sew the front and back pieces of the bodice along the shoulder seams. Repeat with lining.

DIY Purple dress for child

3- Iron the seam allowances along the shoulder open.

DIY Purple dress for child

4- Place the bodice and its lining, right sides facing each other. Pin along the neck and the arm holes.

DIY Purple dress for child

5- Sew along the neckline and arm holes. Once done snip along the seam allowances to get the right curves when turned.

DIY Purple dress for child

6- Turn in the bodice through the shoulder straps.

DIY Purple dress for child

7- Open up the side seams of the bodice. Sew in a straight line with the right sides of the bodice together and lining together, separately as shown.

DIY Purple dress for child

8- The bodice is ready to be joined to the skirt. The we have the sash, zipper and the embellishments.

Well I have tried my best to document the steps that went into making this dress. Jersey is a very easy fabric, and not as difficult as imagined. Its very forgiving on the fit. And looks great if you use a double needle to get the perfect edges.

The post is turning out to be humongous. Hence there will be a Part 2, coming up on thursday.
Stay tuned.

Happy Sewing

This post has been linked to Weekly story 3
April linky party

NOTE: You can find the Part 2 here

CELEBRATIONS: We have been featured here
Thank you, Pam.


  1. You have a great blog, look forward to read more fabulous DIY projects. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

    1. Hi Disha,
      Great to see you here. Thank you for the sweet comments. Its a motivation to hear from such a talented person as yourself. Thank you again.

  2. Always great to read how sewists began their sewing journey. The first sewing machine I ever used was a treadle machine, too.

    1. Thank you for visiting this post, Pam. Yes, you are right about the sewing journey :)
      Still a long way to go.

  3. oh wow!! wow!! thats impressive!!