My daughter, Veronica, has just turned 3, and all she wants to be is a ballerina and spend all day wearing a “ballerina dress”. All day.
Her favourite colour is yellow, and we recently got a book about a girl who wears a yellow butterfly ballerina dress. So, naturally she has been asking for a yellow ballerina dress, quite persistently, so I made her one:
I used an older Ottobre pattern for this dress, number 30 from the Spring issue of 2007.
I made it up in a size 104, which is the smallest size, and its a perfect fit. Veronica is about 95cm tall, but long through the body, if i’d made this any smaller I don’t think it would have fit!
It was also really quick to make up – I was surprised at how quickly it came together.
It is constructed by making the top part, then the lower part and stitching them together whilst sandwiching a skirt inbetween.
This was the first time that I had used clear elastic. I have a small bag of it that I purchased ages ago and never had any use for before (I completely forget why I bought it in the first place). But it wasn’t too hard. The neckline, sleeves, and leg openings all include the clear elastic.
The leg seams look a little bit wobbly here in this picture, but they sit just fine when she is wearing it.
The little puffed sleeves are cute – although I think Veronica would have preferred a sleeveless look.
I also added some yellow mini-pompom trim to the neckline and sleeves, and some gathered cotton lace to the sleeves and hemline – this lace is stretchy, so it works perfectly with the knit fabric and will stretch as much as required when my little ballerina is dancing.
The whole dress did look a little plain when it was complete – just too much of the same colour all over. So I added a pre-made heart shaped shabby-rose appliqué, I stitched it on by hand.
I did make one alteration – this pattern is designed to have a short ruffle around the hips – I changed the ruffle into a skirt.
I already had the fabric for the body of the dress, its the same yellow knit that I used for an embroidered t-shirt for Mathilda, I had exactly the right amount left over! I love it when that happends.
I didn’t have anything suitable for the skirt, so I packed the kids into the car and went to Spotlight, where I managed to find a 50cm piece of chiffon in exactly the right colour in the remnant bin to use for the skirt – what are the odds of that?
To make up the skirt I used the full width of the fabric and about half of the length of that piece, so with the seam and hem allowances taken out the skirt is about 20-25cm long and is just about the right length to hit Veronica about the knees giving her enough twirl but also enough space to dance (and play – because she’ll be wearing this for everyday wear). I didn’t use the clear elastic to gather it, I just gathered it as I normally would any other fabric (with long straight stitches and the highest upper thread tension), and basted it to the pants part of the dress using a zig zag stitch, then I attached the t-shirt part over the top sandwiching the skirt inbetween. I tidied up the seam afterwards with the overlocker, this removed all the basting and gathering stitches and left a small neat seam on the inside that won’t be uncomfortable or too bulky.
The dress is a little tight to get on, but I think that’s only because I stitched the mini-pom pom trim around the neck on by hand and my stitching, whilst being quite neat, is not quite stretchy enough, but without that I think it would have been fine.
The neckline sits a little bit too low at the front for my liking.
And the shape of leg openings means that they don’t quite provide enough coverage, they are just a little bit too high at the sides.
These are both fitting issues that could easily be adjusted if I make this one again – and there is a good chance that I will.
This yellow ballerina dress was a big hit with this little girl!
Thanks for reading!