Today I am very excited to share with you my Jingle Belle Dress. This dress is very special to me as the idea has been floating around my head trying to come to life for a good few months, in fact since I started making the tutu dresses. Creating dresses which are half fabric and half crochet is something I really enjoy, and allows more creativity than just crocheting the whole thing. In fact I loved designing the tutu dresses so much, I wanted to make and sell them, however, as they come under the fancy dress category, they need testing, and there are currently a bunch of obstacles in my way, which I don’t have the time nor the resources to work through at the moment. This however, was the problem which lead to the creation of this dress. I knew I wanted to create dresses for girls that were fun, half crocheted and half fabric, but also that allowed me to use the tulle I had left over from creating my tutu dresses. This was round about where I was in September.
Since September, a bunch of ideas have been running through my head, some of which lead to the creation of the Snowflake Dress, which I love, but wasn’t exactly what I wanted in my mind. So I did some more thinking. Inspired by the lovely fat quarters of Christmas fabric I had in my stash, along with the Rainbow Yarn in Christmas Colours (from Aldi) I decided to sit down and try and work on this dress and see where it took me. I started with the crochet portion and decided to go with a similar structure to the tutu dresses, form a tube for the top and then construct the dress around that. I think this is where the dress started to take shape. After playing around with a few stitches, I decided to use the c2c method to create the top, and with the Christmas yarn, I think it worked up perfectly. It looked perfect, exactly how I was seeing it in my mind. I then made some straps with a simple button hole and added them with some small buttons then finished the whole top off with a round of crab stitch.
With the top finished, I went on to work out the bottom. I grabbed all my Christmas fabric, a bunch of tulle and ribbon and pins and sat down to figure it out. I decided I wanted this to be a shorter skirt rather than a longer one like the snowflake dress and I wanted it to have more flare and the ability to give a good twirl (which I know Lily really loves to do!). In addition, I wanted to use a bunch of different fabrics, in a patch work effect giving the dress as much colour and excitement as possible. So I grabbed 8 pieces of fabric that worked the best together and figured out the best order for them to go. Once I Figured out the measurements I pinned the skirt together and put it next to the top and it looked great, but not exactly like it was a finished piece.
Next I cut out strips of tulle and arranged it under the skirt to give the skirt some volume but it didn’t really look like a finished dress until I added the metallic silver. It turned out after some experimenting that it really needed the band of ribbon at the bottom of the skirt as well as around the waist band to finish it all off. Getting this far I got out my sewing machine and started sewing everything together. I already had some lovely silver thread and that worked perfectly to sew the dress together. It only took around an hour and a half to do all the sewing the first time, and that was with me figuring out somethings as I went. The second dress probably only took an hour of sewing and they will probably get a bit quicker every time I make another one!
Once everything was sewn together, I decided to use the rest of the ribbon to create a bow to the right of the waistband and then the dress was finished. After looking at it a great deal I eventually figured out the buttons were wrong. The small buttons didn’t do anything for the dress. I looked through my button stash and found the larger buttons I had in green and they were the perfect finishing touch to the dress. Once I changed those everything was perfect and exactly as I wanted it to be! The next morning Lily was thrilled to see her dress and was desperate to wear it, however, she had grown since I last measured her and so it was a bit tight on her, so I had to make her a larger size. This was not an issue since the smaller dress fitted her somewhat slimmer cousin perfectly and it also gave me the practice to tweak a few things and test out my pattern writing!
I have spent a bit of time since then working on the sizes for the dress. Whilst I haven’t tested every size, I am confident in my maths and have matched it up to some different sizing charts on children’s clothing size so the dress can be made now for any child from around age 2 to 10. It is worth noting here that it is absolutely best to measure the hips of whoever you want to make the dress for and go by that measurement rather than the suggested age. Its the hips that the dress is at the tightest and where it needs to fit. I would suggest going for 1-2cm bigger than whatever your child’s hip size is to get the best fit for this dress.
I definitely have plans to expand the designs for this dress, with different variations as well as colour combinations and I am definitely going to start making them to sell in my Etsy shop in the new year. If you want to make your own in the meantime then you can get the pattern for it here.
I hope that you love this dress as much as I do and I look forward to seeing other creations of this by you (don’t forget to share them on my social media pages). Finally a big Thankyou to Carolynn Utiger Clarida who suggested I call this the Jingle Belle Dress. Its the perfect name for this creation!
See you next week,