Monday, February 14, 2011

Elephant Dress

T-shirt Dress

Another new dress for the little girl (who insists she is not little). The dress is a very basic T-shirt dress, made by modifying an out-of-print Kwik Sew pattern (2315 - actually for pajamas).

Elephant Dress and Elephant Stuffy

Inspired by her beloved stuffy, I added an appliquéd pair of elephants. I'm terrible at drawing, so this is a rather modified form of an image I found online.

Elephant Applique

The braided tails were a hit, but I think they're a little long. Also, maybe I should add eyes. I didn't think about that until looking at the picture just now. It seems I have difficulty making complete elephants.

I stitched a tear-away stabilizer to the skirt piece and fused the elephant shapes on. I opted for the raw-edge appliquéd look and stitched about 1/8" away from the edge all the way around. I stitched around each shape three times to give it a slightly bolder line.

Stripy Leggings

The fabric for the dress and leggings came from three XL adult T-shirts purchased from the clearance table at Zeller's. There are some advantages to this over cut yardage:

1.  Accessibility - Zellers is in my town, the nearest fabric store is 45 minutes away.
2.  Coordinates - The solid and the stripe match perfectly - often not the case with bolts of fabric
3.  Pre-finished - I used the hem of the shirt for both the leggings and the skirt. Hemming isn't one of my favorite parts of the sewing process, so I like to have it done already.

However, there are some disadvantages:

1.  Grainlines - These weren't exceptionally high-quality T-shirts, so there were some grainline issues that were hard for me to work around. You can see that the stripes don't match at CF of the leggings.
2.  Limited layout options - Since the T-shirt already has a certain shape, you have to work within those boundaries sometimes being creative with what you can put where.
3.  Size limitations - I was able to squeak out the leggings from one T-shirt, but had to add a separate piece for the elastic casing. The next size up would not have been an option. Making a big T-shirt into a smaller T-shirt works well, but I don't know that I'll be able to do more dresses or leggings.
4.  Waste - It seems like there was more waste compared to working with yardage - a lot of smallish, un-useable pieces leftover.

Elephant Dress and Elephant Stuffy

I continually had the tune of "Baby Elephant Walk" by Henry Mancini in my head while I was working on this project. It was subconscious at first and it took me a couple of days to even remember the name of the song and figure out why I was humming it. Funny stuff. Thankfully, it is a fun tune because it is quite tenacious and once it's there, it is hard to get rid of!


  1. This is the sweetest little ensemble! I love the braided tails on the elephants, it's the perfect touch.

  2. How absolutely gorgeous - the elehants, the braided tails, and your little "big" girl!

  3. Really cute! I always enjoy seeing what you have made! My DGD got a can can skirt because I saw yours...very clever dress and leggins too!

  4. She looks So sweet. This is a wonderful outfit..and maybe I've said this here before ~ I love elephants ~ so I am a big fan of this
    detail :)

    I've been trying to make an elephant fabric design over at the Spoonflower day I'll get what I have in mind.

  5. I am in awe of how cute this is. When I see outfits like this, I wish I had a little girl to sew for! Where is that stork anyway? Just Kidding. Three boys are good for me.

  6. This is so cute! The elephants are adorable, and they fit so well with your daughter's lovey!

  7. I was doing a search on Oliver + S patterns (looking for inspiration) and stumbled upon your blog! I love it! How you get so much sewn is amazing to me - a slower sewer. I will have fun looking at some of your older projects as I have time.
    I love the elephants, what a cute idea!

  8. This outfit is adorable...and just you wait, it will be your daughter's favorite.