Briabaloo is my first published dress sewing pattern for children, and I’m thoroughly proud of it. I’ve carefully designed and drafted it with lots of thoughtful detailing for ease of sewing, practicality, comfort and playability.
It’s a short sleeved, collarless shirt dress pattern with patch pockets and ties, with two variations which make a sleeveless pinafore with inset pockets or a cap sleeved peplum blouse with a Peter Pan collar, or any combination of these elements, and it’s available from size 1-12.
The Shirt Dress
This is a really sweet and simple dress, perfect for Spring through to early Autumn (with a nice sensible cardigan over the top). I would suggest a medium – lightweight woven fabric for this dress, such as a cotton poplin or even a quilting weight cotton – the extra body of a quilting cotton and the gorgeous prints available would work beautifully with the dresses gathered skirt.
I love a sleeveless pinafore, it’s such a simple, timeless dress that will suit all ages. And being sleeveless it can be layered over t-shirts or long-sleeved tops for year-round wear. This pattern works great in mid weight fabrics such as denim, corduroy or velvet for year-round wear, but also in lighter fabrics for a breezy summer dress
Who doesn’t love a peplum top? This top is finished with a pretty Peter Pan collar and fluttery cap sleeves with a peplum to hit the hip line, perfect to wear with leggings, trousers or jeans. Any light – mid weight woven fabric would be perfect, try something with more drape than a quilting cotton, such as a rayon blend, for a really light and floaty blouse.
The skirt is kept flat and without gathers at the front of the dress to give a cleaner, more flattering line and to reduce bulk in the seam lines around the front button band.
The ties can be applied to the front or back of the dress or top, or left out altogether according to your preference. They are a decorative element which also perform a function in drawing in the waist of your garment for a more fitted silhouette until your girl has grown to fill the bodice. They’re attached with a small length of elastic within the tie casing which nobody will see, but which allows a little extra stretch and movement to allow for play and growing space. The ties are top-stitched in place to keep the desired shape if the ties come loose, and this is easily altered to accommodate your child as she grows.
Pockets are essential for small people to keep their treasures close, so two styles are included with Briabaloo for you to choose between – a neat patch pocket with a button detail, and a deep and roomy pocket set into the side seam.
Clear, simple instructions
I’ve worked really hard to make the instructions as clear and easy to follow as possible. The step by step instructions are supported by computer drawn illustrations for maximum clarity, and have been thoroughly tested and critiqued by my amazing team of pattern testers. My testers have a varying level of expertise, from ‘I saw a sewing machine at my auntie’s house once’, to ‘I’m a professional seamstress, thank you very much’, and they have all had amazing results with the pattern and instructions.
About the sizing
Sewabaloo uses sizing charts based on 75th centile measurements. The sizes roughly correspond with age (eg size 6 – age 6), but be aware that all 6 year-olds are not built the same way, some are taller, shorter, slimmer, broader than others, so for this reason please select your sewing pattern based on your child’s measurements, not her age. For example, my 6 year old has size 3 chest, hip and waist measurements and is a size 5 in length, so I lengthen a size 3 pattern and that fits her beautifully.
To select the appropriate size to sew Briabaloo, choose the size closest to your child’s chest measurement and lengthen or shorten the skirt accordingly. There is plenty of ease in the bodice to accommodate growth so you don’t need to sew a larger size for her to grow into.
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