A Dress for a 9 year old

My friend’s 9 year old daughter asked me to help her make a dress to wear to a party her  Grandparent’s are holding.  I probably set unrealistic expectations by immediately agreeing to it before realising we only had a couple of days to find a pattern, buy some fabric and make the dress (not to mention fitting in all the other activities a 9 year old enjoys)

I decided we could probably make something like the sun-dress I made last year at Make Lounge; the pattern only has to fit around the bust and the rest is taken care of with a belt. I spent a bit of time worrying about how to reduce my pattern to fit a 9 year old and in the end traced the bodice from a Burda magazine then just extended the edges out to produce the wider bottom.  Incidentally how do people sew for girls taller than 140cm?  I only managed to find one Burda pattern that went up to that size after that it was adults sizing only.

20120825-172934.jpg A visit to the local quilting shop yielded some Africa map print fabric (her Father, clearly a man with no taste, veto’d the batman fabric) and some bias binding.

We spent the morning cutting out and sewing the dress and  matching sash belt. The fit was fine (thank you Burda) and the only alteration we had to make was to change the shape of the neck line.

The next day we finished the armholes and neckline with bias binding (tricky for both of us) and hemmed the dress.  She was very particular about wanting the dress to finish just above the knee. We then spent quite a bit of time discussing how best to tie the belt and whether to wear the dress with leggings and a t-shirt or just on its own.

I must admit to feeling quite proud of the finished result.  It was the first time she had tried sewing and never used a machine before. I was a bit worried that she would get bored part way through the project or find it too difficult to finish, but it was simple and quick enough that it was completed in no time.

She’s pleased as punch with the dress and everyone who has seen her in it has complimented her on it.  Next time I’m told we’ll make matching batman dresses for both her and her sister!



9 thoughts on “A Dress for a 9 year old

  1. Very cute dress and I think I need to check out Ottobre magazine for kids clothes as my two are now 123cm tall ….. Given that it takes me an age to do anything I’ve got a few weeks before Burda mags stuff will no longer fit them either lol.

    • The sizing charts go up higher than 140cm but there just don’t seem to be clothes in those larger sizes. I guess by the time the get to that stage most kids would consider it very uncool to be wearing something home made!

  2. That is a unexpected fabric for a 9 year old girl’s dress, but it makes me want to know more about the person who chose it. Do they like to travel? Are they adventurous? It turned out great and she has every reason to be pleased.

    • It is an unusual choice. I think she was initially attracted to some safari animal type prints in the same range but then she spotted the map and went for that. Her Father was born in Nairobi but his parents moved back to the UK when he was very young so maybe that’s the connection.
      I like the fact that she chose something unique that won’t be mistaken for a shop bought dress!

  3. Jane, lovely dress I have a 9yr old grand daughter who loves wearing dresses, most of her peer group are happier in jeans. Just a tip for you – bought bias binding is sometimes fiddly, with the “stitching creases” already there for you. As a soft furnisher I use a crossways strip (which I teach to cover piping cord for cushions). Just find the “cross” of the fabric diagonally across the warp and weft and cut 1.5″ strips, which are then flexible enough to bind the neckline and armhole and a perfect match. Hope I am not preaching here but just thought you may appreciate the tip!

  4. My daughters, are taller than 140 and I have great trouble finding patterns for them. A few go above that, but they are few and far between. It is very frustrating – My 12yr old doesn’t want to wear kids stuff, but neither does she want to wear ‘boring grownup’ stuff

  5. Pingback: Spring Skirts | Jane's Sew & Tell

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