Friday, October 28, 2011

How to: Make a Dress of Many Colors

When was it that I realized I enjoyed sewing clothes for children? I learned to sew when I was nine. My Mother has a Home Economics degree from North Dakota State University and taught me by becoming my 4-H leader.  After some reflection, I remembered.
My parents bought a sewing machine as my high school graduation present. While in college I sewed a pile of clothes for my little sister, who is pictured above. I was hooked. When I see this photo, I can't stop wondering,
"Girl, where are your boots?"
She always preferred her "tenner shoes."
The Farm Inspector has been growing so fast and the Ag Analyst does not want to be left out, so I have enjoyed sewing outfits for them and finding the proper accessories to give them a special look.
They never lack for cute outfits and it is fun for me to get in on the fashion parade.
 Last weekend the Farm Inspetotr and the Ag Analyst debuted their new church dresses. I learned quite a bit during this sewing project and thought I would share a little about how to make a
 "dress of many colors."
I began choosing the fabrics by looking at the color code on the selvedge of different fabrics. I have a quilting stash and pulled the fabrics from my collection. Choosing the fabrics took a long time, because I needed to visually process the prints that I eventually included and the many I rejected. A short cut would be choosing fabric from a quilt grouping that has been designed to go together. For me, there has to be an element of matching in order for the garment to be pleasing when complete. Also, I wanted all of the fabrics to be similar in scale so the garment wouldn't  overwhelm the wearer when finished. Another way to do this would be to choose two fabrics with similar colors, then accent the garment with solid colors that both fabrics share.
 Eventually I chose four prints. All four share the same shade of green. Three contain the same shade of pink and three contain aqua. The aqua in the top fabric is subtle, so I placed the package of aqua tape on top to draw it out on the photo. I believe in using odd numbers, so tried to work in a fifth, but couldn't make it work, so four was my magic number for this project.
 There are several current patterns available that use a combination of fabrics. They claim to be easy and I intend to give them a try. I used this pattern: New Look 6745 which I have made before, for inspiration, but didn't follow it exactly. You could, however, follow it and come out with a really cute dress. The pattern buttons up the back which would be pretty. I used zippers for easy, fast dressing. I made the skirt a little fuller and lined the body of the garment with a fine cotton to make it comfortable, warm, and help it hang nicely. Since I had measured the girls pants length from waist to floor, I used that number as my finished skirt length. The high waist on the dress meant the skirt would be long, but not drag on the floor.
I decided to use two shades of pink rick rack to keep the skirt from looking too much like a quilt. Why two shades? Just for fun!
The dresses have a Fall look, because of the brown in the two main fabrics and also a cowgirl feel, which suits the girls fine. 
The fire place bellows make a perfect guitar for the Ag Analyst. 
The Farm Inspector noticed that my fireplace is dirty. It is, after all, part of her job description to inspect and report. If I am going to get a few projects done, the cleaning often gets left for another day. We quickly left for church in GriggsDakota.


  1. love the glove idea...the girls are the dresses..

  2. Lucky little girls!! Love the dresses :)

    R and boys

  3. Happy Birthday today Mom! The dresses are AWESOME and my favorite. Thanks for all that you do for our family and thanks for telling our farm story daily on this blog! We love you.