I am new to this whole parenting thing, so tell me: is there a way to tune out when your child sings Frozen’s, “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman” 7,137 times a day?
“Is there any way to do that?” By the way, you can sing that to the snowman tune and it totally works because my brain has been taken over by Disney. My daughter and I have had whole conversations using songs from Frozen as the melodies… Scary, right? Even scarier is that we are roping my husband into them now.
We are all dreaming in Disney these days, but our daughter is getting to dress up like her favorite Disney princesses, Elsa and Anna! I knew I could quickly make something she would love and not grow out of in 6 months.
I made both of them for about $20 each and a few hours of snipping, sewing and stitching. You can make them, too, even if you have to borrow someone’s sewing machine. Yes, it’s that easy!
Click on “Read More” to make your own Princess Anna Dress Up Apron!
Apron? Yes. Why? Because little kids grow 2 inches every 24 hours. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but because our daughter is only 2.5 years old, she is growing out of clothes about every 6-8 months and I didn’t want to make a dress up dress that I’d just have to repeat.
By the way, if you’re interested in the Princess / Queen Elsa dress up apron tutorial I created, check back on June 20th. I’ll be sharing the tutorial here and with Kim and her followers on 733blog and I can’t wait!
Just a quick note: the Elsa dress took less time than the Anna dress because the detail work was less labor-intensive.
Follow along with this easy tutorial, however, to give your little one a new addition to their dress up box: a Princess Anna dress up apron that they will be able to use for years! I’m a beginner with sewing, so when I say “easy,” think “anyone who can push the sewing machine’s foot pedal down” kind of easy. Let’s get started.
Don’t have time to read through this right now? Tweet the message in the blue box below (by clicking on it) or Pin the image below to Pinterest so you can find it later.
A quick trip to the craft store, and you’ll be set to start. As I mentioned, this dress took a little bit longer than the Princess Elsa dress, but that’s because of the bodice piece’s designs.
If you want to use glitter glue and draw on the detail (the thought occurred to me after I finished this), it would be a shorter project.
For reference: my daughter is 2.5 years old and is wearing 2T and 3T clothes. The apron hangs down past her knees and we tie it up at the neck to bring it up on her chest. The tulle skirt grazes the floor.
The measurement I’ve given for the skirt piece (blue satin), is long enough to be just shy of her ankles and is wide enough to loop around to form a skirt, but not too wide to hinder the tie. You can do a quick measurement of your child’s waist and height from their waist to make sure it’s the best fit.
Supplies (should run you about $20 total if purchased at JoAnn’s):
- 1 child’s sized apron $2.19 (I bought a 3 pack at $6.59 with a 40% off coupon)
- 10 yards shiny tulle in cobalt ($1.99/yd)**
- 1/2 yard blue satin ($7.99/yd but on sale for $4.99, so $2.50)
- 1/4 or 1/3 yard black crush velvet ($5.99, so $2) — NOTE: You can use either, see “bodice” section below to decide how you’d like to do it. I had just enough to cut the pattern on the fold, so it must have been 1/3 yard.
- 1 yard 7/8 inch gold metallic braid ribbon ($3.79/yd but used a 40% coupon, so $2.27)
- 1/2 yard 7/16 inch gold metallic braid ribbon ($3.79/yd, so $1.90)
- craft felt (I had this on hand, but I think each sheet is about $0.30, so $0.60 for the green and a color for the flowers)
**I got the wrong tulle but had a 60% off coupon which I applied to it because I had already gotten it cut. You can get the same cobalt blue tulle in non-shiny on sale for $0.99 a yard (the same stuff I used for the Princess Elsa dress which is plenty shiny), making the cost of the tulle $10. Also, you could definitely get away with using less tulle. You could gather all of it, instead of just the top layers like I did, and it would be just as puffy.
I have provided a free printable for the bodice pattern that I made (sized for a 12″x19″ child’s apron). If your apron is a different size, you can whip up your own pattern like I did: lay some paper out on the floor and trace around the apron. It was a highly scientific and oh-so-exact kind of process, let me tell ya.
Note: the pattern should take up the entire length of an 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper. Enlarge your image on your printer if your settings aren’t producing this.
Cut the larger bodice pattern from the blue satin first (iron it first). Then cut the inside portion of the pattern out and use it to cut the velvet. *See Note below. As the pattern instructs, be sure to add the half inch at the bottom of both pieces. Pin the pieces together (satin facing up, velvet facing up – I top stitched this entire project; no turning ‘cuz I’m lazy).
Note: If you purchased (or have on hand) velvet that isn’t long enough to cut on the fold, cut out two pieces of the bodice and stitch them down the center (you will want to add a small seam allowance along the straight side of the bodice template). The felt applique will hide the majority of this center seam and you can save a bit of money by getting 1/4 yard instead of 1/3.
Cut the skirt piece (iron if you want; you can’t see it). I used a rectangle, sized at 25 inches wide by 16 inches long for my daughter. This piece covers the white canvas when the tulle is attached so no white shows through, extends about 6 inches on either side of the apron ties, and also extends a nice, non-scratchy layer past the bottom of the apron.
Cut the tulle. I wanted the dress to be long but not drag-the-floor-long like the Elsa dress I made. I measured from her waist to just above her ankles and I needed 18″ strips of tulle.
I then carefully cut two (folded over) pieces of tulle for the top layers that I would be gathering into pleats. They measured ~about~ 50 inches long. Skip to the “Pleat the Tulle” section under the “Sew the Skirt” heading to see how to do it and then cut based on the size of your skirt piece. We’re going to call these, “special layers.” Even though all tulle is special…
For the rest (and by far the majority of the tulle), I used the cardboard method. If you’re unfamiliar with the cardboard method of cutting even pieces of tulle, check out this video on YouTube here. I used binder clips to secure the tulle instead of rubber bands.
Using a piece of cardboard cut to 18″ one way and 23″ inches the other (the width of my skirt piece after I double-hemmed it), I first cut the width (23″) and then cut the length (18″). I was able to get three 18″ pieces from the full width of the tulle, so I had a lot of sheets to work with. The length of the tulle will depend on the height of your child.
I sewed up the bodice in pieces because I had never worked with velvet before and wanted to be overly careful. I sewed up the sides first, using a 1/2 inch seam, and then sewed along the edge of the velvet (the sweetheart neckline and straps), using about 1/8 inch seam allowance. This is going to be covered by the smaller ribbon, so I didn’t care that it wasn’t pretty.
I pinned the bodice pieces together at the bottom (to avoid shifting) and then attached the ribbon to the bodice. I started with cutting pieces of ribbon for each of the ‘arms’ and then cut each piece for the sweetheart neckline, making sure to cut the overlapping piece of ribbon to line up with the first part I cut on the neckline.
Now, for those of you who know about sewing, I probably did this all-kinds-of-wrong, but it worked. After making sure the ends wouldn’t fray, I stitched two rows of straight stitch on either side of the ribbon to secure it.
After securing the ribbons at the top of the bodice, I did the same thing for the bottom. First, I stitched the blue satin and velvet together and then attached the ribbons, one side at a time. I cut each side of the “V,” making sure to use enough ribbon to overlap the edge and fold it under.
Okay, so this next part is totally optional and if I had to do it over again, being a lazy crafter, I’d probably just use green fabric paint. I came up with a simple-enough free template for Princess Anna’s dress and traced it (with chalk) onto a piece of green felt. I found that when working with very small pieces of felt, it’s best just to shade the felt with chalk around the stencil instead of trying to trace it. And, it’s much faster.
I cut it out and glued it with Aleene’s Tacky Glue and let it sit for about 30 minutes while I worked on the next steps. I glued it first because I thought that the felt would move around a lot on the velvet.
After the glue was dry, I stitched it “lazy crafter style,” which means that I just stitched straight down the middle of the thing. For those of you with embroidery or applique skills (or machines), embroider your little crafty hearts out. And just know that I am green with envy.
I had never worked with satin before and didn’t know it frayed like the dickens, so after I hemmed the skirt piece, I doubled it over and hemmed again. Lesson learned!
I only did the double-hem-thing on three sides because the edge at the waist was going to be covered by mountains of tulle and the stitching was going to be reinforced.
|Prevent fraying with a double-hem.|
After I hemmed the skirt, I placed the majority of the tulle onto the skirt piece. Making sure I lined it up as best I could, I secured it with pins.
Pleat The Tulle
The top “special layers” were next and those I used to add visual appeal to the skirt front.
|Make pleats in tulle facing towards the center|
Using both of the layers together, I made a pleat 2 inches wide every two inches, starting from the center and working my way to the edges. At right is a picture of the pleats.
Once you’ve pinned your oh-so-many-layers-of-tulle, sew those to the satin piece so that they are really on there. I used a straight stitch and a dashed-zig-zag stitch to catch as many little sections of the tulle as I could. See the picture below.
The photo on the left of the picture below is before I sewed the skirt piece to the apron. You can see that I made sure the tulle wasn’t going anywhere! And yes, I’m guilty of excessive back-stitching when designing items for my daughter – kids are rough on stuff and I knew this would see a lot of play.
The photo at the right in the picture below is indicating the skirt piece (and therefore the tulle) should extend onto the apron strings so that when you tie it, it gives the appearance of a skirt. Mine extended just shy of 6 inches on either side, so Elise has quite a bit of growing room.
Stitch the skirt piece to the apron, using whatever you feel is best to make sure it never comes off. Ever.
You could pause here to grab a glass of wine. Just sayin’ you could - we don’t judge here at Ruffles and Rain Boots. And let’s face it: if you’re making your kid a dress up outfit, you deserve a glass of wine.
Sip slowly. Add some chocolate.
I wanted the tulle’s stitching covered by the bodice, and measured my daughter to find out where the waist would be (hers was 7 and 1/8″ from the top edge of the apron). I then lined up the center of the apron with the center of the bodice (the point) and first pinned the points where the ribbon trim at the bottom of the bodice met the apron.
Once the bodice is centered and the bottom points pinned, wrap the edges of the bodice piece around the edges of the apron; just pull it around the edge of the apron and pin it. My daughter doesn’t like scratchy fabrics near her neck, so I folded down the top of the bodice (maybe a 1/2 inch) and used the already-finished apron as the top.
You could extend it all the way to the top of the apron if you are using a softer fabric or if you don’t believe your child will be bothered by it.
I left the bottom of the bodice (and the bottom point of the “V”) free because I thought it would help to allow freer movement. If you know something about sewing and know that this is WRONG, please let me know. Also, you could pretty-it-up by adding some bias tape over the tulle sewn onto the apron’s ties, but again, I’m a lazy crafter so I left it as-is.
The longest part of sewing the bodice was switching between the different colors of threads (black for velvet, yellow for gold ribbon, and white for blue satin – the light blue I had was not a match).
The last little bit for this sucker is the flower detail on the bottom of the dress [template included in the template detail for the bodice here]. No need to glue it, just pin and sew them on. Again, I stitched straight through the center of the felt to secure the stem and outlined the flower.
As I mentioned, I also made a Princess Elsa dress up apron. This (easier and faster) tutorial will be shared on June 20th here and at 733blog.com, so be sure to save the date!
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