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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Squirrel Dress (and a mini rant about clothes for girls)

Those plaits. I love them.
I bought this fabric a year or so ago, totally on a whim.

It is a lesson if ever there was one on the dangers of the internet and a Paypal account when in the hands of someone like me who is prone to impulsive buys when lovely fabric pops up before her eyes on the Fabric Rehab Facebook feed.

This fabric was used to make a pair of pyjamas worn by Taylor Swift. (Not that I would have had a clue about this fact had it not been for a dealer dangling another enticing prospect under this fabric addict's nose for her to be tempted by. In no way did I then see myself inserted into the picture below, every bit as cool as soon as I was sporting my own pair of pyjamas with squirrels all over them.)

Shortly after my fabric arrived, I found out I was pregnant, and, well, any inclinations I had to spend time making myself a pair of pop star pyjamas (because wearing them would have made me cool, right?) left me. Instead, I eventually made a Roman blind for what would be the new baby's room out of some of the fabric I'd bought.

Squirrel Blind
And then (knowing I had blown enough of the fabric to rule out the pyjama option), I made a little covered notebook for the littlest big girl. And then, a little purse to match (which she proudly pulls out of her monkey messenger bag every Saturday when buying her sweets).

My simple tutorial on how to make your own covered notebook is here
And finally (for now anyway), a dress. For the littlest big girl again. Well, she is so incredibly sweet in her appreciative `thank you Mummy for making me...'s. I cannot resist spoiling her a bit. Not least because she exhibits pure delight without any of the constructive design feedback her two big sisters are sometimes prone to dishing out. And besides, I'd recently bought the bigger two a few new clothes - and the littlest big girl had a new t shirt and that was about it, due to all the hand me downs available to her. Time for something just for her.

This came together pretty easily. New Look 6016 is a favourite and well used pattern of old. I have made about ten versions, and enjoy seeing them passed down as each owner out grows one. For me, this simple design works beautifully well and is exactly the sort of dress I want my girls to wear. It is loose fitting and comfortable for playing in. It looks like a dress for a little girl, not a mini adult. And, it is great for showing off some funky fabrics and big buttons. Perfect, if you ask me.

So, big corporations who make clothes for kids, please take note. This is how I'd like to dress my daughters. And, I don't think I am alone. Just because they reach the age of five, I don't want them to be clumped in with fashion conscious young teenagers, made to look like miniature grown ups, stuck in styles that restrict their movement, that come in depressing greys and blacks with token bits of sparkle. I want their clothes to be fun and with plenty of room to run/jump/hop/spin/leap around in. Oh, and with a pocket for the endless stream of tissues they get through (and all the random treasures they collect throughout an average day).

So please can we have more children's clothes in shops that have animals all over them, and lots of bright colours (not just a million different shades of purple and pink) and, well, spell fun, I guess.


  1. Ooh I love this dress, such a cute pattern (might have to copy for my little girl) and it looks great in your squirrel fabric. Gosh I know what you mean about the temptation of online fabric yarn store / Paypal - it's a disease I have!! And fabric re-hab - well the name suggests one may get healed, but not in my case, it made my condition worse!! Have a good day xx

  2. Oh so true about clothes - December 2012 I had a terrible time trying to find a 'Christmas dress' for my granny to give small one for Christmas... all I could find in most places were adult dresses scaled down and that just doesn't work for me. I have a busy girl, who loves exploring, collecting, digging, painting etc - and yes she'll do all this in a dress because that's sometimes what she wants to wear.

  3. I completely agree and I have two boys that I have the same problems with buying clothes. My boys like bright fun clothes and everything is in tight fitting blues/greys/greens. My boys want to be little boys in childish clothes not teenage angst. The squirrel fabric is just fabulous and even at the age of 32 I would wear that fabric x

  4. I have been inspired by your mini rant! Today I bought 3 patterns with a view to making my girls some skirts and dresses. However, my girls are 3 and 5. Do you have any tips on being able to get different sizes from the one pattern sheet? As you may have guessed, I am quite the novice! Thank you x