Sometimes we come across something sewn from Oliver + S patterns that makes us stop and do a double-take, like these stunning Frozen-inspired Building Block Dresses. The seamstress behind them is here today to talk about how she made her daughters’ dress-up dreams come true in this installment of the Sew + Tell series.
Name: Michelle Dale
Country: United States
Where can we find you on the Internet: Instagram
Every year, I make my children’s Halloween costumes. I love making beautiful, detailed costumes for them. Since I have three costumes to make, I try to start costume making early.
This year, my twins took a long time to decide what they wanted to be. When they finally picked Anna and Elsa as little kids like in this picture, I knew I had to work quickly. My goal was two wearable dresses by Halloween and to finish the details sometime after.
The Building Block Dress made it easy to customize the look for both girls. By Halloween, both dresses were complete except for the bottom trim. Now, I’ve finished the trim on the Elsa dress but still hope to finish the bottom of the Anna dress before my daughter grows out of it.
For both dresses, I started with the Building Block Dress pattern, adding a flared skirt, a zipper back and puffed sleeves. On the Elsa dress, I lined the bodice and left off the collar. My daughter likes the Peter Pan collar on the Building Block Dress but wouldn’t have liked the standing up collar in the inspiration photo. For the Anna dress, I used the Peter Pan collar, lined the bodice, made an empire waist and added a scalloped hem.
Quilting cotton, satin ribbon and a piece of velvet-like fabric that I found in a remnant bin.
Did the fabric work well?
Yes! The velvet was easy to embroider and the cotton worked well for the dress. Since the dresses were for costumes and playing dress-up, I wanted something easy to sew and comfortable to wear.
How did the sewing go?
I’ve made several Building Block Dresses and they always come together easily. The directions for changing the pattern are clear, which made it easy to customize the dresses to match the inspiration photo. For both dresses, I used the flared skirt and puffed sleeves.
The Anna dress in the picture has a scalloped hem and this was my first time making one. The curve of the skirt made it difficult to get the scallops even.
For both dresses, I used the bodice pattern as a guide to create the velvet apron details. I hand-embroidered the designs on the bodices, stitched the pieces to the bodice and sewed everything to the skirt. This made the seams thick in places, especially around the zipper. I would probably finish the back differently if I were to do something like this again.
The trim around the bottom of the dresses is also hand-embroidered. To make the snowflake trim on the bottom of the Elsa dress, I cut two strips of the velvet following the curve of the dress, embroidered the snowflakes, and then sewed it onto the dress. For the Anna dress, I embroidered directly onto each scallop and plan to finish it by adding a piece of fabric the same color as the sash to the bottom of the dress, like the picture of the scalloped hem in the Building Block Dress book.
What was the best part?
I loved adding all of the details and embroidery to the dresses to make something special, and I love how happy my twins are wearing them.
Beautiful dresses! The hand embroidery is very impressive and your girls must love these 🙂
Oh my word. Amazing!
Thank you so much! They were a lot of fun to make.
These are as sweet as can be! Great job.
These are great!
I really like the building block concept and have just ordered the book.
Thank you! I really love the Building Block book. I’ve used it to make a lot of different dresses now. It’s so easy to change the pattern pieces to make the dress you want.
Can’t wait to try this!! I’ve had this pattern a long time but due to distance between my grands haven’t used it. Next trip I will measure them again and get one started. Thanks!!