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Children’s Party Dressing Made Easy.


There’s a party, so of to find a great fancy dress costume!   My first choice, especially when it’s for a fancy dress costume is to make it, which means you can individualize the whole design, and keep the cost down.  However if buying little girls clothing, the range available is unlimited; styles, colours, patterns, fitted or puffy, frilly or straight?  With the fancy dress party; to buy a ready made costume or just pick a dress that sort of suits the theme and add some accessories, but can then be used again post-party.  When I don’t have the time to make a party dress, I like just layering pieces that I pickup either new or 2nd hand into a great individual party dress.  When you let the children join in with the creation, it makes wearing their party dress even more fun.

The first step you would want to take, besides a budget, is to decide what type of costume would fit the party your child is going to:

  • a fancy dress theme
  • a Christmas party.
  • an Easter party.
  • a casual birthday party or a formal birthday party.
  • etc.


All require different design ideas.

The Fancy Dress Costume

There are a wide variety of ready to wear costumes at most toy shops for many popular birthday themes, but for the more generic parties here are some quick and easy suggestions:

Princess – a long, flowing, dress, even a long single style summer dress will do.  You can purchase a princess crown or make a paper flower halo, or the good old cardboard cone with streamers flowing out the point for a hat. There is a lot of creative opportunities for the children to make their own hats.  For the cooler months, a cape can be made out of a piece of material slung around the sholders joined with a button.   Would strongly suggest not using ties to join a cloak because of the risk of choking while playing.  Colours could range from white to bright pinks, purples or blues depending on your child’s colour preferences.

Fairy or Ballet Dancer – The key to this theme is twirlyness, the twirlier the better!   So a twirly dress or skirt is suitable, possible materials include; several layers of tulle or netting, in soft colours of coral, pinks, baby blues or brighter colours for a fairy like green, cerise, yellows, or even a rainbow of colours.  A matching top or leotard,  with a satin sash around the waist, joined with velcro for easy dressing.  Wings can be purchased or made out of cardboard and painted the correct colour, again with your child’s help, you could go crazy with the glitter, glue and ribbons for this project, and for the ballet dancer a long ribbon joined to the top of a short piece of dowel, will be a nice little accessory.  A matching pair of ballet flats, and you have a beautiful costume that will be worn again and again.

Pirate – an easy pirate costume can consist of a black and white stripe or solid brown, pant or skirt, with a long sleeved white shirt and a red sash tied around the waist.  A bandana or pirate hat with a purchased eye patch and a cardboard sword complete the effect.

Cartoon Characters Almost any cartoon character can be made into a child’s fancy dress, my son went to a Mario brothers party last year, he wanted to go dressed as Bowser/King Kuppa from the Super Mario brothers game.  For those who don’t know the Mario brothers, it is a Nintendo video game, and cartoon (Goggle: Mario brothers and Bowser 🙂  Bowser is a yellow turtle like creature with a green spiky shell, and red hair, very scary!

  • I had some old yellow fabric in my stash, bought a yellow tshirt, sewed arms onto it, made some pull on yellow pants.
  • I made black bands with webbing and drew silver dots for the spikes he’s supposed to have on the bands.
  • I used a black cap and hot glued a red feather boa down the middle for his Mohawk hairstyle.
  • I printed of a colouring in page picture of Bowser for the mask.
  • We painted an old ‘Dorothy the Dinosaur tail’ yellow (sorry Dorothy!) and made some little cardboard spikes for it.
  • My son then stuffed a small, old child’s backpack with newspaper and I covered it with green tshirt material which was nice and stretchy, so was able to form nicely around the bag.
  • We made the spikes out of white cardboard and hot glued them onto the covered backpack.  And voila!  Well, you can’t see  the spikes, but he looked really cute hehe.
My son as Bowser from Super Mario Bros


Bowser shell and tail.


And the list can go on and on.  Break down your required costume  into individual pieces you need to either find in your child’s current wardrobe, make or purchase, and you can come up with any costume you can think of.

Some other quick fancy dress costumes:

  • An old sheet can become a great cape, or ghost!
  • Tights, long sleeved black tshirt,  a little bit of black fur fabric sewn into ears and glued onto a head band, and a few black pipe cleaners and you can come up with a cute cat costume.

A Casual Party

Probably the easiest party to dress for, sometimes you can dress up a current outfit, with a matching hat or contrasting belt, nice shoes, and little jacket or shrug.  The main things to remember for a casual party is that there is likely to be alot of playing and running, comfortable clothing that is safe to play in is vital.  A knee length dress is Tights are a good idea if wearing a party dress, especially trimmed with the same material as the dress, it allows running and jumping and climbing while still looking great.

For boys, I still love them to wear button up shirts to parties, or even a polo, whether or not the theme is casual, jeans are the norm especially if there will be a lot of playing etc. but a nice pair of trousers always looks smart.  There are alot of lovely shorts patterns out there also, although I don’t like shorts at a party at all, but

A Formal Party

A formal party usually includes a dress code on the invitation, so the guess work is taken out of the planning, usually more structured than an informal party, the dresses can be a little fancier, in satins and velvets, with a petticoat or two to add a little puff under the skirt.  Matching shiny shoes, and a ribbon in the hair, either loose or tied in a braid, and your little angel will feel beautiful all night.

The boys would definitely be in at least a button up shirt and trousers, possibly even a suit jacket and tie depending on the occasion.

Holiday Parties

From casual to more formal holiday parties, the colours of the appropriate season are a good place to start for your accessories or even dress colours.  From the traditional red and green at Christmas, or silver and blue for a modern twist, to pretty spring pastels or darker winter pinks for Easter spring/winter parties, depending on what hemisphere you live in.


This article is reprinted, with some changes, from a previous blog of mine which I deleted, but I thought the article might still be of use to someone 🙂


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Victoria Jones Collection…

I have just received my first parcel of patterns from Victoria Jones in Hawaii available in our shop now HERE!  I am very excited, they are floaty and romantic and just remind me of an island holiday.  The patterns I have chosen to stock initially, are classical Hawaiian dresses or muumuu, think Blue Hawaii, and a couple of resort wear pieces of clothing, especially handy seeing as summer is knocking on the door in this part of the world.

From the Victoria Jones Collection website:

Victoria Jones Collection patterns are professionally drafted by hand, using classical techniques. The garments are then sewn and wear-tested several times. We check them for comfort and ease of movement; it is one thing to create a flat pattern design and quite another to create a design which is graceful in motion.

I will try and start some posts dedicated to the designer of each collection we stock, I think it is important that you are able to see that behind these awesome collections are real people, running their own businesses.  As with most of the patterns we stock, the designer is more than happy to hear from you when you have questions or even just to let them know how you found the patterns to sew up etc.


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New Patterns from Izzy and Ivy…

…Had a surprise in the mail today, a pile of Izzy and Ivy patterns!  I didn’t even know it was coming, my daughter was very happy until I told her I was putting them in my store.  I may have to make her a few pieces to keep her happy hehe.


Izzy and Ivy Patterns

Haven’t got the time to load them on the site yet, but hopefully will get them done by the weekend.  I have the following patterns:

Brooklyn’s Boho Beachwear pattern
Jack and Jill 

Stella Dress and Skirt
Sweet Polly’s Play clothes
Penelope Ruffles



Dreaming the Details: based in Sydney, Australia.

Stockists of historically influenced and vintage inspired sewing patterns, modest clothing patterns, epatterns, and sewing and crafting information and books.


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Sewing for Your Family – Dead or Alive?

How many of us remember the pretty little dresses or the smart little shorts with vests that our mothers sewed for us on the old singer, or other sewing machine of choice. Is sewing for the family dead or is there a revival happening in the depths of suburbia?

Sewing for Your Family – Dead or Alive?

By Turina Hira

I remember when I had my first daughter, my mother bought out of storage, my first little dress she had made to bring me out of hospital in. A sweet little white number complete with a darling little crochet cardigan, to keep her precious bundle warm. Made with loving hands and handed down to the next generation and beyond.

My mother made clothing for us as though it was another chore; wash dishes, clean bathroom, make four children their clothes for winter. As a new mother, however hard I had tried, I just could not get enough enthusiasm to spend time creating a whole wardrobe of clothing for my daughter. As my family grew I did at times attempt, and finish (sometimes) clothes for special occasions or fancy dress, I even made school uniforms (which, by the way saved a lot of money!) But I have never made it to the creative heights of those mothers that most of us had as a child.

Is home sewing declining?

  • To buy, readymade clothing, is just so much easier and cheaper these days.
  • For availability, it is extremely easy to purchase online, and have your purchases delivered straight to your door.
  • For those of you that have attempted or do sew your own and your family’s clothing, you will realise how much more expensive it is now days to sew clothes. Fabric prices have gone the same way as designer wallpaper, straight up.
  • For those short of time, nothing beats picking a wardrobe of clothing up from the local department store.

Or is home sewing part of the current revival of crafting and handmade products?

  • Sewing is fun! You’re creating something to wear from a flat length of fabric.
  • Sewing shows your individuality: You are putting your personality into your work, creating a one off garment that you or your family, should be proud to wear.
  • You can fit to your body shape. No more buying clothing off the shelf, only to return it the next day because it was the wrong size.

A quick search for sewing on internet search engines shows that sewing is alive and well. There are a myriad of blogs, forums and crafting communities all aimed at sharing resources, discussions, showing the world what you are currently working on, and giving information to those that need it. Information from helping beginners successfully start sewing, to tips and tricks for creating professional looking garments.

Websites selling fabric, patterns and notions, are still doing brisk trade. Offline, while there are still small stores dealing mainly in fabric and notions, the larger retail craft stores are alive and kicking.

Sewing is not dead, it may have gone underground for a while, but like me, people are sewing, creating and sharing their creations. I’m off to the fabric store!

Turina Hira is a homeschooling mother who runs the on-line store, Dreaming the Detail encourages creativity through sewing resources supplies and articles on creating your own beautiful world.

Article Source:—Dead-or-Alive?&id=7070030




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New Patterns from Colette Patterns!

Sarai the owner and designer of Colette Patterns, has announce the arrival of two new patterns this week on their blog, the Coletterie.   The Juniper Trouser and the Anise Jacket are both really cute pieces to make for your wardrobe, and we will have them in stock this week hopefully!.

The Juniper Trouser
The Anise Jacket


Sarai has also written a downloadable pdf ebook, The Anise Companion, as a very helpful guide to sewing the jacket.  It is available from  here for $9US.  I’ve purchased mine already, loaded it onto the ipad, and now just waiting for the pattern to arrive.

I am frightened of jackets after the really bad, dimply shouldered, sample I came up with in school, and after a quick look at the companion I am convinced I could do an awesome job of this jacket.  It is very extensive, divided into 8 days and includes information on gathering supplies, choosing fabric, sewing and fitting your muslin, adjusting the pattern for common fitting issues, complete underlining and lining directions, to detailed instructions for bound button holes, welt pockets, even instructions for making the sleeve heads, etc., etc., etc., as I said very extensive!  I would say, it contains everything you need to know to complete your jacket not only successfully, but with a professional finish.  Really excited to start!

Colette patterns will also be doing a sew along at some stage for the Anise, so keep an eye out on her blog for an announcement, and I will also let you know on my blog when the sewalong is announced.