customizing with oliver + s: snow white puppet show dress

Quite some time ago, I saw the most interesting dress show up in the Oliver + S Flickr group. Jan had used Kona cottons and the Oliver + S Puppet Show pattern to create her daughter a one-of-a-kind Snow White dress.


Oliver + S Puppet Show Dress as Snow White Dress


It’s been about a year since she made it, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what a wonderful job she did with it and how she came up with such a creative solution to making a wearable costume that made a little girl very, very happy. When we started this little series of posts on customizing with Oliver + S, I immediately thought of Jan and wanted to feature her fantastic dress.


Snow White Dress in Action


I recently asked Jan if she would share her process, and she was kind enough to write up a description of how she did this for our series on customizing Oliver + S patterns. Here’s what Jan has to say about her project. Thanks, Jan!

The Thought Process

We were planning a trip to Disney World, and I had bought my daughter Delilah some princess outfits to wear.  But as I looked at them, although they were pretty, they didn’t appear comfortable for hanging out in the Florida sun.  The fabric was scratchy, and they were not sized quite right for her.  I imagined her wearing them for all of two minutes and then needing to take them off.

So I decided to make her something to wear using cotton, something comfortable, that would breathe, and still be pretty and “princess.”  I bought some fabric with princesses printed on it, and considered making a dress out of that.  But when it came down to it, I just didn’t like the fabric.

I was trying to convince myself to go ahead with the project and started looking through my Oliver + S patterns to see how I could use the princess fabric. When I saw the Puppet Show pattern, it struck me that it could be made into a great Snow White dress.  It probably helped that Snow White was the first Disney princess movie I showed my daughter, and by then I had probably seen it 100 times.  Her outfit is so ingrained in my head!

How To

I bought Kona cottons and used three different colors of buttons. Then I thought about the sleeves. At first I bought red ribbon and considered sewing that on in stripes, but when I held the ribbon to the blue fabric I just didn’t like it. I went looking for feedback by posting on the Oliver + S discussion forum. I watched the movie to see how the animated character moved in her dress. And I finally decided to try pleating in the red.

After I was done, I wrote a short tutorial on how I made the sleeves.  The tutorial contains photos of the construction method I used and the dimensions of the pleats.


Snow White Dress


Snow White Dress


The Trip

Delilah wore the dress at Disney World May 2011 when she was 2 1/2. She and I returned in January of this year and she wore it again!


Snow White Dress


Delilah wore the dress to dinner at Cinderella’s castle.


Snow White Dress


The princesses couldn’t get enough of her.


Snow White Dress


Snow White spent more time with us than anyone else!


Snow White Dress


We have actually gotten quite a bit of wear from the dress and it always gets compliments.  I am going to make it again in a larger size for our next trip!


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  1. I am so honored that you noticed this dress. Thanks so much for the kind words.

  2. What a great idea! Delilah is adorable! I would recommend that all little girls and boys who go to Disney World dress up, because it’s true……they get way more attention 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness, that is adorable, I can’t wait to try the sleeves.

  4. I’ve always loved this dress!

  5. R Gold

    I have eyed that dress repeatedly wondering how the sleeves were constructed – thanks so much Jan for the tutorial!

  6. That is AMAZING! I love it. Makes me wish I had a little girl. What a great idea. Maybe I’ll make one for my niece 🙂

  7. I remember when Jan made this dress for Delilah! (well, when she was searching for a pattern for making this dress).
    The puppet show looks totally adorable for Snow White and sweet Delilah looked so cute wearing it.
    Thank you for the tutorial!

  8. Soooo cute. Pinning for our next Disneyland trip!

  9. Claudia

    What an awesome idea!!! You are my hero. My little girls have been wanting princess dresses but I think the same thing…scratchy, uncomfortable..ect. This is such a great idea, and I happen to already have the Oliver+ S puppet show pattern. 🙂

  10. KerryQ

    This is so cute! There is nothing natural about those “official” princess dresses. I always thought that if my daughter was near an open flame in that dress, it would be curtains for her. Heck, even a lightening bug! It’s great to see adaptations to your patterns, because sometimes its hard to picture it in my head. Thanks!

  11. Sarah

    Thank you for the tutorial! My daughter saw this post over my shoulder this morning, so now I may really have to make her one. Good thing I downloaded this pattern!

  12. Sarah

    What a beautiful alternative to the usual sparkly pink tutu princess outfits – I love it!

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