Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the perfect little dress

(Thin~higher wale~cream corduroy with dark red piping)
click photo above to see detail

Why does the fashion industry insist on making little girls grow up so fast?  Classic girls clothes are so hard to find.  I have contemplated starting my own clothing line.~ my sister in law and I actually did design clothes for a little while and sold them in boutiques.  However, we didn't feel that the time was right to get into

manufacturing, so we started pursuing other interests instead.  Maybe someday...

Anyway, a few years ago while looking for a classic holiday dress for my daughter, I found a wonderful designer named Kayce Hughes who designs classic children's clothing here. (Pears + Bears)

I love her party dresses, but at $90+ for a dress, I decided to try to have something sewn for my daughter for much less.  While shopping at Walmart a few years ago, I found an EASY Alice in Wonderland Halloween costume sewing pattern for $1.99.

After examining it, I noticed that if you didn't make the apron, and took out the interfacing in the collar, it looked just like the Pears + Bears classic party dress (back then they didn't have the tie around the waist)!

I can sew, but I don't really enjoy it.  Instead, I hired my local seamstress to make my own version of the party dress for my daughter and to hem it to the longer length that I like.  She only charged me $20, and my fabric and piping only came to about $10.  So for about $40 I had the most beautiful holiday dress made for my daughter.  I chose a tiny wale chocolate brown corduroy fabric with baby blue piping around the collar! (I cannot for the life of me find a photo of it.  But trust me, it was adorable).  She wore that dress all fall/winter long!

The next year I bought the same pattern again, in the next size up and had the cream corduroy one made with the cranberry red piping that you see in the photo above.  With dark red ribbons in her hair, this unique "Christmas" dress was classic and was worn all winter long.  It even looked cute for Valentines Day!
I didn't see the pattern this year, but I'm sure you can find something similar like this one.  Or just look through the easy dress patterns at the fabric store.   (JoAnn's usually has their patterns and fabric on sale, or you can get on their mailing list for coupons)  I never pay full price for a pattern or fabric.
I think a dark red dress with cream piping would be adorable for the holidays also.

My daughter has outgrown the pattern now, but I wanted something similar for her recent baptism.  So I found an easy pattern much like it in my "pattern stash"... told the seamstress to take off the peter pan collar and puffy sleeves...and add length to the dress.  Here is a $25 version of the original concept!  I hope my daughter will decide to have her daughter baptized in the same simple beautiful dress. (and then for it to be passed down to her granddaughters)


  1. you best keep that seamstress around here they charge that to hem things......i think pants are like 5 bucks a leg

  2. I agree... classic is hard to find!! My favorite dress of Isabel's will always be the the one I got from you and your sister in law!!!

  3. Thanks! Chris, I totally agree~ but here are some tips to paying less...

    1. find a seamstress in local paper~they charge less because don't have the overhead.

    2. make friends! I have given mine small Christmas gifts before to show appreciation

    3. Give them an EASY pattern with few pieces. Mine charges $5-$8 to hem, but by the hour to sew a dress.

  4. Same for boy clothes. I'm able to find them ... they just come at a (very high) cost because they're only in upscale boutiques. I wish I could sew!

  5. I came over from Centsational Girl because the dress caught my eye out of all the hundreds of submissions! I love it and agree...the clothing industry is causing our little girls to grow up too fast. I also agree that in order to find classic, simple, beautiful dresses, it costs an arm and a leg! Why is that? Often, classic styles are less ornate! I buy some things from Very cute clothes and when they have a warehouse sale, I buy up for the next season! Thanks for sharing the link! I loved this! Christie at

  6. I don't know how I missed this post. I also love classic girl's clothes! For dressy clothes, I've found that I can find gently used smocked dresses on ebay for $10-25 (holiday dresses are usually only worn a few times, so they are in great condition) or I also have recently found great dealers on etsy who not only make adorable clothes but will monogram them for free!

  7. I bought that very pattern years ago to make my granddaughter an apron. It turned out so cute made with red gingham and red zigzag trim. I didn't make the dress, but now I'll have to make it up for other granddaughters. Jack Folsom's grandmother (Nansi)
    P.S. The pictures you painted for Jack's room are adorable.

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