My daughter’s first ‘posh’ dress –

& how to change an adult pattern to fit a 12yr old!


My daughter and I were soo chuffed last night watching the final of the #GBSB to see Lauren making this beautiful evening dress from a Simplicity pattern (1874)!  I have just finished the very same dress for my daughter’s birthday… She is now a young 12year old Fraeulein!  Having her older brother’s prom ball and my best friend’s wedding lined up next month  we thought the occasion called for her first proper dressing up!

Between one of our  in-house designers  Shilpa from label ‘House of Bilimoria’ and myself we gave her several designs to choose from… from very avant-garde, to very short to very prom including a couple of commercial patterns.  She discussed these with her brother (her secret style advisor!) who discarded all knee length and shorter than knee length option as not being classy enough.

Both really liked the long Simplicity dress…  Lauren, the finalist from the Great British Sewing Bee, was really worried about fitting the dress which has many panels at the front.   Imagine making this dress for a girl’s figure which is just starting to change?!

Like Ann, the winner of the GBSB, demonstrated so beautifully in last night’s program – a good fit is always in the preparation.  So I started with a toile based on size 6… Thinking about having to make serious adjustments in height and width as my daughter is only just reaching my shoulders and not an adult size 6 yet and not to mention the missing bust…

Although I would normally not fit a toile without the skirt, as it would be missing the weight of the skirt when fitting I decided on a short cut and fitted the top part on its own.  You can see from the picture just how many adjustments were needed!  I left out the two bottom panels on the front as this seemed an easier option to keep proportions than reducing each panel.

We chose a dark green satin fabric with a nice sheen and some bright orange (daughter’s favourite colour!) chiffon.  The making of this dress is really straight forward a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.  I added an invisible zip and binding on the edges as she does not like the feeling of lining on her skin…  I also wanted to change the look slightly to make the dress more age appropriate with a younger and fresher look.  As my daughter is an enthusiastic street dancer we thought piping in luminous orange would do the trick.

We finished the dress with the orange chiffon as the Fraeulein was worried about showing her leg too much.  The colour of the chiffon really nicely matches the contrast piping.  Now it is just four weeks left until the prom night and the wedding and I am just hoping she is not going to have a growth spurt!!!