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I'm making flower girl dresses for my brother in law's wedding next May. It would be for a 3-year-old (my daughter) and a 7-year-old (my niece) who's only 6 now but already wears size 8-9 years (she's very tall).

The future bride is very accomodating and doesn't really mind what kind of dress I make. She herself will be wearing a purple dress!

So at the moment, I have a blank canvas. I've had a look around for patterns and found the Vogue 7819 and Butterick 5458 and 3351: they all look like typicall flower girl dresses. Has anyone used those patterns? I'd say I'm a beginner but I've sewn a few toddler's dresses in different fabrics, and 3 or 4 adult dresses too. But I mainly used cotton...

I'm not keen on full floor length dresses for little ones. The other thing is that the 2 sizes I'll need will be very different (3 years and by then probably 9 or 10 years). I'm also wondering if the same dress will look equally good on a 3 and 7 year old?

I'm also unsure about fabrics: is satin really hard to work with?


I realise now there are a few questions in this post. In other words: I've been given a task and don't really know where to start! I'd be grateful for any advice or just a general discussion about past experiences from people who made flower girl or special occasion dresses for little ones.

Thanks a lot!

C x

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It's tricky, as toddlers body proportions can be quite different to older kids.  For example their arms can be a lot shorter!  I suggest you find a pattern you like and make it up in calico so something else inexpensive.  Stand the kids together and see how they look. You also have to allow for the fact that they are growing - so you don't want to get this finished too far out for the date!


It would also depend on how tall the 7 year old - some of them can be tall!


You can google to find some lovely bridal party images for inspiration.  I think really simple shapes look the best, you could embelish with some pretty flower trim.


Yes satin (most are polyester) is hard to sew.  It frays, when you sew it it puckers, it's difficult to press.  Why not try and find some silk? Or even just do a sash in silk.


I would suggest the Butterick pattern would be simpler than the Vogue - actually I think it looks a lot simpler for a beginner, as the Vogue pattern has multiple layers - that's a lot of gathering and handling!


Best of luck you have plenty of time !

I recently used Butterick 3762 for a 2 yr old flowergirl dress. It's not a special occasion pattern but it's a nice simple shape with plenty of variations. I made it from duchess satin. Which is heavy & expensive, but not as slippery as regular satin. That said it's not fabulous for large amounts of gathering because it is so heavy, but worked out ok with this pattern. I added a tulle overskirt with a satin sash.  (you can check it out in my photos)

If you're  a beginner... satin dresses will probably stress you out a bit!

What about using a sweet cotton broderie anglaise for the main dress and adding a nice wide satin sash, either in a matching or contrast colour.

Thanks for your replies. I do like the look of the Butterick 5458 and it doesn't look too tricky (I'll probably change my mind once I get started...)

I started with the idea of making a fairly simple white dress out of silk dupioni or shantung (I don't actually know anything about these fabrics, just like the look of them!) whith a purple sash. I thought a purple dress would be too dark for little ones but then i saw this dress and thought it looked quite nice and unusual:

Then I did another online search and it looks like most dresses are usually big with some kind of overskirt. I've worked with tulle before: I made my own wedding veil twice because I burnt the 1st one, a tutu for my dog and a Baby Gaga costume for my daughter's 2nd birthday party- don't ask! I love how easy it is to add some effect with it without having to bother about hems etc. Then again, maybe I'm a bit too ambitious and overskirts are harder to make than they look? Here's another dress I've found. It's huge! Not really my cup of tea:

So here's what I'm leaning towards so far: 

The Blue version above but in white with a purple sash. Anyone knows what fabric is used in the white version? It looks quite thick and heavy. I might make the sash a bit wider. I'm also wondering about lining/petticoat with tulle trimming that would stick out slightly. An underskirt rather than overskirt - am I being too ambitious?

I'll definitely make a mock one first  that I can afford to mess up in cheaper fabric to check on measurements etc. If I'm really struggling, I know I can make this dress (obviously not in the skulls and roses fabric!):

Separate petticoates made of tulle to hold out the skirts might be easier than incorporated layers of tulle. Just  make sure that there is lining fabric on the underside next to the skin or it might get itchy for the girls and then they will be squirming and grumbling about the itchyness the whole time they are wearing them.  Provided you use the same fabric and trimming  ideas it would not be unreasonable to use different patterns for the two girls, as they are dis-similar in age/height.

I made a mock one, in pink and black. i do like it! Most importantly, so does the bride to be, so we agreed on this pattern. I'll make the real ones in ivory with a plum sash. If I do find plum tulle for the pettycoat, then i'll make it in plum, if not it will be ivory too.



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