With two little ones under the age of three, I try to have a schedule to keep things going smoothly. Once a week we head to the library, and recently we came home with ‘Eloise’. I am familiar with the story, but reading it with my independent, head strong two year old, I easily pictured my daughter as Eloise.
Unrelated, lately I have been dreaming of velvet. I have seen lots of ready to wear pieces made of the lovely stuff, so I’ve had this idea of velvet in the back of my mind. When I made this post, Hancock’s was still in business. Currently, they no longer have brick and mortar stores, but a brand new online only company. The website is currently still under construction! While browsing on Hancock’s then website, I came across a beautiful, bright red velveteen. I instantly pictured Eloise’s little pinafore dress, and the deal was done. I give you my take on the modern day Eloise.
Making your pattern:
First off, you will need to take a few measurements of your child to create your pattern pieces:
-Waist front + waist back
-Skirt length (I measured waist to knees)
-Waist up to shoulder crisscrossing over to back waist, just as your strap will be.
With these measurements we will create patterns for our skirt, waistband and straps, and that’s all there is to it. Here we go:
Skirt: (front waist measurement x2 + 1” for seam allowance) x (Skirt length measurement + 2” for seam allowance)= skirt piece. Cut 2.
Front Waist Band: (Front waist measurement + 1” for seam allowance) x (1” for width + 1” for seam allowance). Cut 2.
Back Waist Band: Back waist measurement x 2 + 1” seam allowance) x (1” for width + 1” for seam allowance). Cut 2.
Straps: (1/2 the strap measurement) x (desired strap width ((mine are ¾)) + 1” seam allowance). Cut 2 on fold.
–Fabric: I used 1 yard of a lovely red velveteen for my two year old, and had some fabric left over. Eye your pattern pieces to get an idea of how much you’ll need.
-A tiny bit of fusible interfacing: 2 pieces about 3” x 2”.
Okay let’s begin!
Cut out all of your pieces.
Iron a small piece of fusible interfacing on one end of two strap pieces. Note that this end will be enclosed when sewn.
Pin two strap pieces right sides together (RST). Before we sew, make note to begin from one end, sewing all around the entire piece, and on your way back down make sure to leave about a 2-3” opening, and finish to the end. One end will be totally enclosed (fusible interfacing end) and the other open. Sew at ½” seam allowance. Trim seam allowance and corners. Repeat this step for other two strap pieces.
Turn your strap pieces right side out. This can be a little time consuming, so prepare yourself. I found it was easier to use the end of a pen and gently push the end out while also gently tugging with my hands.
Now we need to top stitch and while topstitching, enclose the opening we left for turning out the straps. Iron the opening edges in to match the already sewn seam on either side of opening, and pin together.
Topstitch about 1/8” away from strap edge, around the whole strap- make sure you catch that open edge we just pinned. I find it helpful to use my edge stitch foot.
Place two back waist pieces RST. Pin, sew along just ONE long edge at ½”. Grade + iron seam, and flip right side out. Iron again.
Cut a piece of elastic to child’s exact back waist measurement. You can see how this should look in comparison to your back waistband piece.
Now we need to create our casing. With wrong sides together, sew along the OTHER long edge of your back waist band piece, and make sure your casing measures about 1” total, just a little bit bigger than your ¾” elastic.
Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic, and insert elastic into the casing we just made. Make sure to pin each end of the elastic to casing.
(Don’t mind that I have two seams in this next picture, I made my casing a little bit smaller, leaving two lines of stitching, yours should have just one).
On one front waist piece, measure to child and decipher where you would like your two front straps to go. Mark. (I folded my front waist band piece in half and held it up to my daughters waist, and marked one strap. Then I unfolded the fabric and marked the other one to be identically placed on the other side).
Pin the open ends of your straps to the markings we just made.
Lay the other front waist band piece directly on top, RST. Pin in place.
Sew along the top edge at ½”. Grade seam, iron, and turn waistband and straps right side out. At this point I would recommend holding the waistband up to your child, making sure your straps are just right. They should just barely go beyond their back waist by an inch or so, unless you want to have two button holes to adjust the size, you will want about 1 ½-2” hanging off. I had to cut off a few inches on mine, and re-sew them into the waistband.
Sew your front waistband to your back waistband, RST, on side edges, making your full waistband piece.
Prep skirt by placing both pieces RST. Pin side seams, sew at ½”. Iron, trim and finish seams as desired.
Along the top edge of the skirt (any edge, doesn’t matter which one), baste three rows of stitches at ¼”, ½” and 3/4”, make sure your rows don’t overlap but start and end without touching, and remember to leave your threads long.
Pin the skirt into your waistband, RST, and align side seams, and centers of waistband and skirt.
Pull basting threads lightly for each row, and gather your skirt until it fits perfectly into your waistband. Make sure to evenly spread your gathers, pin in place.
Sew your waist band and skirt together at 5/8”.
Flip right side out and make sure all of your gathers look clean. Trim seam allowance, and finish as desired. I used a zigzag stitch.
Hem your skirt to desired length.
Try your pinafore dress over your child again, this time pinning the straps in place, marking where your buttons and buttonholes will need to go. Slip off child.
Mark buttonholes on edge of straps.
Sew your buttonholes. I like to use fray check after I rip my buttonholes open to prevent further fraying, this is optional.
Sew on your two buttons, make sure they are evenly lined up from each edge.
And we’re done!!
As much as I love velvet, especially for the current low temps we are experiencing here in Utah, picture this little charming pinafore in chambray for spring, gingham for summer, and plaid or even corduroy for fall. It’s such a versatile little dress. Enjoy!