Clowning Around: Part Two: Making The Dress

With my patterns measured, drawn up, cut out and ready I ran straight out and got my fabrics. I found the most perfect multi-coloured spotty on white cotton print fabric for the main dress, a couple of funky big red buttons and some beautiful silky bright red for the trim. I already had a couple of fat quarters in yellow and blue lying around that I knew would work. For a full breakdown of all the materials needed for this project please see below to navigate all the parts of this tutorial.

I started by cutting out the panels for the main body of the dress (front, sides x4 and back), I pinned these together leaving one side open and sewed.

I pinned in my zipper along the side starting at the waist just before the skirt flares out and finishing about an inch below the armpit hole.

I stitched it in place and finished the rest of the main body: tops of arms, side panel around zip and trimmed excess thread.

At this point I got my daughter back on her chair and tried it on for size, it’s best to make any necessary adjustments at this stage.

Fortunately in this case it was a perfect fit and so we continue…

Next step is to add the sleeves of which two pieces have been cut out suing my pattern.

To achieve a poofy sleeve effect, I pinned each sleeve like this:

  • Points 1 and 4 at the base of the armpit opening.
  • The dotted line between points 1 and 4 left open for the sleeve opening
  • I folded points 2 and 3 over to fin the centre point and pinned this to the top part of the armpit opening
  • what I had left was an excess of material from the sleeve in relation to the pieces left on the opening I was pinning to: this allowed me enough excess to fold over the sleeve piece to create a gathered effect.

Take your time with the pinning of this piece until you have it just right, it may be subject to some re-adjustment until it’s gathered equally on both sides. It’s not an exact science and doesn’t have to be perfect however so don’t fret too much.

Once you are happy with your pinned piece stitch together remembering to leave the opening at the bottom.

Repeat with the other sleeve.

I now have the basic dress complete, it’s time to add trimmings.

Firstly I added a yellow strip of fabric to trim the sleeves.

Here’s how:

I cut out strips from my yellow fat quarter 1.5″ wide(since I was cutting from a fat quarter my strips were 22″ long – I found that one strip of this length was enough for a dress the size I am doing).

(The blue piece of fabric you can see on this picture is a piece I’ve cut in preparation for the breast panel – the yellow strip will be added to this aswell as the sleeves so you may aswell do them both at the same time)

What I need to do with these yellow strips of fabric is create a long piece that’s like bias tape (of course you are welcome to just skip this step and simply buy bias tape but I’m all about saving money and doing what you can yourself from what you already have).

Using an iron, iron the strip in half lengthways:

You can now use this centre line to fold each side into

Iron out the first centre line you created using a spritz of water if needed and you have your bias tape effect

Pin a hemline around the sleeve openings

attach your yellow strip as pictured

and sew…

You should have enough left over to attach to your breast panel piece which you can pin and stitch like so

Now my yellow trimming has been dealt with I am going to add some red silky ruffles around the neckline, sleeves and skirt.

To achieve this rather than using yards and yards of ribbon instead  bought one meter of a red mock silk fabric and cut out 3″ wide strips using a cardboard template I’d made.

I then pinned the strips together in half lengthways (not sure of exactly how many strips I would need, I simply made them as I went along)

To add the red ruffles to the neckline, I first pinned the hem all the way around (note how I’ve marked the centre point at the front so I can attach the fold of the ruffles in opposing directions from this point).

I began attaching my red fabric using folds at around every 2″ to create this pretty gathered and ruffled effect.

before stitching this trimming I popped in the breast panel like this

Using red thread I stitched all the way around to attach the trim and the breast panel.

It’s all coming together rather nicely now isn’t it!

I did the same with the sleeves, attaching the red ruffle to the yellow strips

and again all along the bottom of the skirt

Adding a New Red Strip to the Ruffled Trim: My long strips were not quite long enough to go all the way round the neckline or skirting on one go so there were instances where I had to add a new strip as  went along.

To do this I simply pinned and stitched my next strip along the inside

and incorporated the area where the stitching could be seen into one of the folds in the ruffle.

After another quick fitting I tweaked the edges of the breast panel which  discovered to be a tough baggy.

and the dress component of this costume is finished!

Isn’t it pretty!

I’ll add the buttons to it before the final photo shoot.

Now we really need to go for it with the accessories which will really “clown-it-up” – more parts of this tutorial can be navigated below.


Clowning Around: Part One: The Pattern

Clowning Around: Part Two: Making The Dress

Clowing Around: Part Three: The Underskirt

Clowning Around: Part Four: Knitted Leg-Warmers

Clowning Around: Part Five: Knitted Armbands

Clowning Around: Part Six: Bow Tie

Clowning Around: Part Seven: Hair Ribbons

Clowning Around: Part Eight: Baton with Swirly Ribbons

Clowning Around: Part Nine: Full Materials Needed Breakdown

Clowning Around: Part Ten: Final Full Outfit Images

Clowning Around: Part Eleven: The Carnival Parade Goes Live!

(Please Note: This tutorial is presently still a work in progress and not all of the parts are available yet, please either bookmark the homepage or follow us through Networked Blogs, the WordPress RSS Feed, hit the email subscription box on the right column, or add us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates. Thank You.)


Fairy Toadstools

We’re having an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party!

Here’s the first of several crafty bits and bobs we’ve been working on to create the perfect setting.

Fairy Toadstools…

These are really basic but for our purposes, but have proven to be really effective and when you’re not so super focused on perfection the kids can get stuck in and really feel they have contributed to the finished pieces.

What You Need:

  • A selection of plastic bowls of different sizes
  • Measuring spoon
  • Spatula
  • Plain Flour
  • Cold Water
  • Table Salt
  • Strong Card
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • White Paper
  • Poster Paints
  • Glue Stick

1) Measure out the flour and water in equal parts, add a good sprinkle of salt and stir well. (Check the consistency, it should resemble wallpaper paste. You can add more flour or water until you have achieved this.) Put to one side.

2) Create your toadstool “stalks” by rolling card into tubes and securing with tape. Your display will work best if these are each slightly different in width and height.

Messy Warning!

3) Coat strips of newspaper in the glue mix and layer over the bowls and tubes with this paper mache mix until they are entirely covered. Smoothing down as you go.

4) Finish off with a layer or two of white paper so that when you come to paint them you won’t have any ugly newspaper print showing through.

It’s best to leave these for several hours to dry – we waited 24 hours before painting them.

5) Once FULLY dried, gently remove the bowls from the inside by bending them away from the paper mache. You’ll be left with some relatively sturdy paper mache bowls which can then be painted.

(In our case, the bowls were too sturdy to get out without tearing the paper mache so we opted to leave them in there and bought some more from the supermarket on our next visit. In retrospect we could have used balloons and popped them once the paper mache had dried and then cut to the desired shape.)

6) Paint your paper mache domes red, we went for two coats.

7) Once the paint has fully dried, glue on white circles for spots and pop a dome onto of each stalk.

8) Use as a whimsical table centrepiece or a decorate piece in your magical fairy woodland.

Suggestion: Paint a zig zag cut piece of card green to create strips of “grass” to accompany your toadstools.

Suggestion: If you have the time and inclination a much more profession piece can be formed using chicken wire as a mould rather than card and bowls. You would also be able to create a toadstool in a single piece this way too.


We’d love to see your own toadstools, send photos of your finished pieces to us and we will include them in our gallery. You can email your pictures to us at

or add the Lily P Chic Facebook profile to your friends list, post your pictures and send us a note.