My daughter made her sewing debut last year, aged 7, by sewing her first garment – a basic A-line skirt. She enjoyed the experience so much that she soon wanted to try something else and, seeing that she also really enjoys bush-dancing, we decided it would be good for her to make a costume for dancing.
We used the Simplicity pattern #9713, Dress View C, which is a simplistic reproduction of an eighteenth century style gown. I have not reproduced any instructions here, as they are included in the pattern and are easy to understand.
This dress has a fitted bodice with a stomacher-like decorative front panel, elbow-length fitted sleeves with large, full cuffs, and a long skirt with polanaise-like sections pleated and gathered on each side. It has a centre back zip and is trimmed with lace and ribbon.
My daughter made the skirt easily enough by herself but, as some of the other parts were more fiddly, it ended up being more of a joint project!
As this is an adult pattern, I did have to make quite a bit of adjustments to the bodice to fit an 8-year-old girl. The only substantial change I made to the pattern was to replace the semi-circular cuffs in the pattern with ones that were more eighteenth century in design – a scalloped and gathered cuff.
The dress has a very deep hem (of 10 inches) so that the length can be altered as she grows taller. I kept the bodice seam allowances quite large (about 1 inch) so that I can adjust the bodice later if it is needed.
She is really rapt with her new dress and is counting down to the next dancing evening we can attend together. She even went so far as to wear the outfit around the house for half of the weekend!
I find making kids dress-ups really enjoyable. They are my cup of tea!
Sources and Relevant Links
Simplicity Pattern #9713 – for sale on What-I-Found (or search on ebay or etsy for places to buy this pattern)