In celebration of the upcoming end of the school year, Eleanor’s school has dedicated each day of the remaining 2 weeks to a crazy-day theme. Monday was backwards shirts day, Tuesday was bring you favorite teddy, and Wednesday was PJ day. Before moving here, I had never heard about a PJ day (at least not one, where you leave your house) and at pick-up on Tuesday afternoon, I had to check twice that the kids were supposed to turn up to school the next day wearing their PJ’s.
Eleanor doesn’t use a pyjama. She’s the sleep in an old t-shirt type, but this wouldn’t work for school. Instead she remembered that I once promised to make her a night gown similar to one that she saw in an old swedish children’s film. Not even the promise of a new Frozen or My Little Pony pyjama could change her mind.
Luckily I recently discovered that we live close to one of the nicest fabric stores I’ve ever been to. The selection is small, but they stock the most amazing selection of Japanese cottons, Liberty fabrics and organic linens. Eleanor fell in love with a light Japanese cotton with a thin red line, perfect for warm summer nights and slow sunday mornings.
Since I had less than a few hours to make the dress, and my sewing skills are really basic, I had to go for the most simple version of a night gown. It turned out really nice, and if you’re in possession of a sewing machine you can easily make a similar dress in less than 2 hours. I have plans to make a few more for both girls, as they also look and feel great for hot summer days.
Here’s how I did the simple girls dress:
Find an old dress or even an oversized t-shirt that fits loosely over your child and lay it on top of your choice of fabric. It will be the base for your pattern. Draw around one side of the dress, avoiding the neckline. This dress is made from two pieces (one back and one front). Make the sleeves wide and keep them quite short. Add extra width to the neckline.
Fold the fabric around the middle of the dress (to make the left and right side similar). Cut out one front part and one back part.
Cut the neckline on the front part a bit deeper than the neckline on the back part, pin the shoulders together and make sure the child’s head will fit through the hole.
Cut out 2 pieces of bias tape for the neckline. This could be a small piece of fabric the same shape as your neckline, but slightly longer (see picture)
Sew the dress together (shoulders + sides) and fold over the bottom of the dress and the end of the sleeves, iron out and use a straight stitch to attach the folded edge, to make a nice hem.
Attach the bias tape to the neckline to create a drawstring to pull the elastic through. This is the most tricky part. The bias tape will be on the inside of the night gown. Start by attaching the front side of the bias tape to the front side of the dress. Fold the bias tape inside the dress, fold in the end and attached the bias tape to the dress using a straight stitch. Make sure it’s nice and straight as this stitch will be visible.
All there’s left to do, is to iron the dress, run an elastic through the drawstring and maybe add a trim to the sleeves and the bottom of the dress. We chose to add a simple lace trim to add a feel of a night gown, but this is not necessary.
Et voila, a simple girls dress made in less than 2 hours.