Whirly Twirly Dress

Every year at Christmas time I make new dresses for the school girls to wear at their Christmas program. They wear uniforms for school so when I’m sewing non-uniform clothes I tend to go a little wild and crazy. This was the 2014 Christmas dress.


It didn’t photograph very well because it’s hard to see the details when it’s so dark. I took my inspiration from this Pinterest photo and this one too.

Now that I had those two dresses done, there remained a third girl who desperately, and I do mean desperately, needed dresses for church. You see, this child grows upward but not outward or sideways, and so dresses fit her for a long time but eventually there comes a day when her father says, ‘She needs to wear leggings or tights to church because her underwear keeps showing.’ And so the time has come to restock her closet with Sunday dresses. I pondered whether to make her dress the same as the two older sisters. I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to conduct herself in a dignified and regal manner befitting such a dress. Basically, that style dress looks best when the person is standing up, such as when in a Christmas program singing songs. I came up with a plan that would work better with a wiggly three year old and still co-ordinate with her older sisters.


Now I’m going to pause for a second here and marvel at all those bloggers who have these perfect photos of their creations. The children are nicely dressed, combed, and posed perfectly, the floor is clean and the walls do not have scribbles upon them. That, my friends, is not how it works in this house. I attempted to nicely comb her hair but she is super sensitive to any tugs whatsoever so they just stay tangled. I did wash her face, but didn’t bother sweeping the floor or scrubbing the walls. This is real life, folks, real life with fairy tale dresses. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

For Alaina and Rhiannon’s dress I cut a circular piece of fabric and then sewed it between two pieces to make the front skirt piece. Below is a very basic drawing showing how to cut the pieces and connect them.


You connect the 1 on the circle with the 1 on the skirt piece and do the same with the 2s. Then you put the other skirt piece on top, like a sandwich of skirt pieces with a circle for the bologna.

Delilah’s dress is that same concept multiplied by 9. There are various tutorials available for this kind of skirt. Here is one of them. That tutorial is only for a skirt though, not a dress. To make my version I used her regular dress pattern. I cut the bodice and sleeve pieces as always. For the skirt I guesstimated how much wider I would have to make it to account for all the cutting and resewing. Here is how it looked when it was cut up into strips.


I had already sewn the front and back skirt pieces together. The back is two sections. Then I folded it in half with the two side seams together and cut it into what was supposed to be equal sections. I goofed and made the front center panel larger than I wanted. I remedied this by later adding an extra cascade there when I saw that it wasn’t going to look right.

This entire process would be much easier if you didn’t have a skirt that was wider at the bottom than the top. I debated whether to do that but decided not to because skirts like that tend to ride up on little girls lacking lady-like manners.


I think the dress is fairly forgiving of mistakes. I didn’t get all the different flounces equally distributed but it isn’t glaringly obvious.


It also looks great when she plops down on the floor. Sorry about the headless shot, but it shows the details very well.


I may add a rosette or a sash to it yet, maybe both. Then again, maybe not, time will tell. I feel like that was already more energy and time than I usually like to spend on one dress.

If you have any questions feel free to ask and thanks for reading!