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Girls Shapeless Beach Dress: Drafted From a Store-Bought Dress

shapeless beach dress

I wanted to make my girls some summer dresses and signed up for some great kits for the Ofelia Dress from Above All Fabric (note: kits are no longer available). The Ofelia Dress does not go up to my oldest daughter's size (she's 10) plus she thought the dress looked too "little kid" for her (sigh, 10-year-olds!). But, she loved the fabric combinations Melanie (of Above All Fabric) had put together for the kits so we decided to go with a different dress pattern and use one of those fabric combinations.

Well, do you know how hard it is to find a dress sewing pattern a 10-year-old girl likes?!? Sheesh! We couldn't find anything. So my thoughts went to this great sundress she has and is growing out of. It's shapeless, breezy and only has four parts (well, six if you include the facings). I thought it would be perfect for a first attempt at drafting a pattern from a store-bought dress.

The original (the top dress) is a hand-me-down from my niece. Judging from the tag, it came from Target. It is made of a very light material, likely lawn, and is lined. I decided to go with quilting cotton on the chance that it might not need to be lined. And it doesn't, the weight is perfect for a summer day but not transparent enough to need a lining.

I somehow drafted the dress part of the pattern way too big. But that's why I chose a dress that didn't need a lot of any tailoring for my first attempt. Lots of room for trial and error. I used French seams for the side seams so it was easy to take the sides in another inch. There are just some big seams in there. And, oh well.

You can see, the Target dress needed gathering to attach the collar/straps (is that what you would call that top piece...?), but somehow my version did not. Hmmmm. Also, I made a mistake with cutting one of the facings for one of the collar/strap pieces and didn't have enough fabric to make another. So I used the main dress fabric and it now indicates which part of the dress is the back (though it doesn't really matter, the dress is identical front and back).  I am very pleased with the outcome of the dress but if I learned anything it's that I'm not ready to do anything more complicated than this without a pattern and instructions. 

At first she wasn't thrilled with how the dress came out. As you can see in the top pictures, it's much plainer than the original (and, hello, she picked the fabric! and I told her so!). Ahem. However....

The dress looks beautiful when it is worn. It's one of those dresses that you need to take off the hanger and try on. She really likes it now and it's perfect for what we it intended it to be - a simple summer dress to wear to the beach.


Dress pattern: drafted from hand-me-down, store-bought dress from Target

Blue fabric: Moda Cross Weave purchased from Above All Fabric

Polka Dot fabric: Pastel Polka Dot from Hullabaloo by Urban Chiks purchased from Above All Fabric