How to de-frouf a children’s dress.

At least once a week, I dig through my bin of things to finish sewing, and unearth a children’s dress to diy (which is new a verb).

I was thinking I’d give you a basic tutorial on how to make a children’s dress wearable; the directions would be very general and indirect, because each dress is different. Anyway:

1. Find a children’s dress that suits your fancy. Take it into the dressing room to see what possibly could be done with it – the most important thing is that the torso isn’t too small for you. Also, the shoulders should be appropriately loose, and it shouldn’t be shorter than you’re comfortable with. Don’t worry if the armholes are too tight – that’s an easy fix if you’re willing to part with the sleeves (which I almost always do).

2. Decide what you want to do with it. It’s not necessary to draw out your plans completely (I never do), and sometimes just going with the flow with it is fun. But you should at least know if it needs to be shortened, taken in, if the neckline needs changing, and if the sleeves are staying or going.

3. This particular dress actually fit me pretty perfectly, but I wanted the waistline to be a couple inches lower, the sleeves had to go, and I was thinking of re-creating the yoke entirely. Crew necks do not please me.

4. Off with the sleeves. Since this dress was machine-made (and had serged seams), it was easiest to just turn the thing inside out and cut off the seams altogether. Also, I knew that the bodice was going to be changed dramatically, and I could just fix the armholes later.

5. It’s also important to decide whether or not you want to keep the attached ties that come with so many children’s dresses. In this case, I don’t really want them. So, I’ll have to undo the entire side seam to get rid of them – if you just cut them off you still see the little stubs, and that’s not pretty. I usually like to get rid of the ties, because a nice sturdy belt usually does the trick in making you not look like a cupcake.

6. Since I wanted the waistline to be lower on this complicated dress, I either had to lengthen the shoulders or Use different means to lower the bodice. So, I just cut off the top of the dress haphazardly.

7. Then give up for a while. I’ll continue the tutorial later; it will include re-shaping the bodice, re-purposing the waist ties, and deciding whether I want the buttons in front or back (which will be a struggle, I can tell).

I know my tutorials are all kind of half-assed, but if anyone wants to see how to do something specific, don’t hesitate to ask.


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