Hot! A Tale of Five Dresses

5-dresses-graphic Last week, I mentioned that the pattern I used for Penelope's St. Patrick's Day dress has been incredibly versatile. It has, in fact, been the foundation of five dresses. 

Here's a little breakdown on how Simplicity 3854 has served Penelope well.

DSC_0624.JPGYe Olde Dickens Fair Dress (December 2008): After searching high and low for a decent reproduction pattern for Penelope's Dickens Faire dress (she had only just turned one and it seems like most babies wore gowns), I decided to purchase a modern pattern. For the fabric, I used home decor fabric to give it a richer feel. I made the pantaloons from scratch and the shoes were actually antique baby shoes I bought at the Alameda Antique Fair. I also made the bonnet from a modern straw hat and following these instructions.

DSC_6272Christening Dress (March 2009): Because Penelope was almost a year and a half when she was christened, I didn't go the traditional gown route. So I made this simple dress with a beautiful, embroidered white cotton. I just made it longer and lined it for a more finished look.

DSC_6966Polish Festival Ensemble (May 2009): For a local Polish festival, I wanted to make a traditional Polish dancing costume. I used the bodice piece as a guide to make the vest with the obvious changes (no sleeves, neckline). I hand-embroidered a little motif and added a ruffle to the bottom. Oh, and I used gromets for the first time ever! The skirt was simply detached from the bodice to form a skirt. And I added a simple apron. 

St. Patrick's DaySt. Patrick's Day Dress (March 2010): Almost a year since the last dress, this St. Patrick's day number was made with very few changes from the original Dickens Fair dress. The sleeves came off, I added the machine embroidery and sash. The length is basically the same — she just grew and turned it into a short dress.

IMG_2243Louisiana Hayride Dress (March 2010): After I made my own Louisiana Hayride-inspired dress, I just had to make Penelope her own replica of the dress that Nanette Fabray wears in The Band Wagon. I made a crinoline petticoat out of yellow cotton and tulle and the dress was basic cotton gingham. The patches are simply felt squares sewn directly onto the dress. While the skirt looks modified, it's just pinned up with a pin I made from some store-bought flowers. I kid you not when I say that Pen wears this dress Every. Single. Day. 


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. oh my gosh, she is so CUTE! I love all the dresses you’ve made for her!!!

  2. Fabulous! Sewing for little girls is so fun!

  3. Indescribably cute.

  4. I love following you along on your sewing journey (even though I have only the faintest idea how to use a sewing machine). But this post has me smiling from ear to ear. Each of these outfits are charming.

  5. Yaaaay, another sewing for Penelope post! :) She is such a cutie and now I REALLY need to get that pattern. So versatile!

  6. Beautiful dresses and your daughter is a stunning model for them! She is gorgeous!

  7. Hurrah! I love the Penelope posts! Actually, I love all of the posts. It gives me inspiration to sew!