Scouring all the shops in my city in the hope of finding it there; asking my friends for recommendations of where I could get one; doing the rounds around the area looking for the perfect person who will make that for me; attempting to make one myself by buying beautiful fabric and destroying some of them ( my early attempts at sewing) – I have done it all in the search for the perfect frock design for my girls.
If you have a girl child, you would have spend a lot of time like me speculating and selecting proper dresses for her. If you have more than one, you have your work cut out for you. Special occasion dresses, dresses for casual outings, loungewear to wear inside the house, School uniform dresses for schools, then seasonal dresses. It is one never-ending cycle of choosing frocks for girls
There are more 50 different types of dresses ( Check out the post ” Types of dresses ” to learn more) but the kids’ frocks can be categorized as mainly of 5 types.
5 common types of frocks for kids
A-line dress follows an Aline silhouette ie it looks like a capital A with a slight shaping near the waist. This is an especially suitable style of frock for babies and small kids. You can make it sleeveless or add simple flutter sleeves or puff sleeves to this. You can pretty up this dress with peter pan collars, cute little pockets, laces added down the front on the center fold line or along the hem and armscye.
Check out the post – Make an A-line frock – sewing pattern and tutorial – for learning to make this kind of frock for your small kids. You can design the A-line dress differently every time – by making small changes in the design like a lace trim edging to the sleeve, a yoke added etc. Some ideas area as follows
2 Yoke frocks
This is a variation of the Aline frock with a separate yoke piece and a gathered front and/or back bodice.
The yoke will be at level with the bust line or just under or sometimes a little above. You can make the yoke and the lower bodice portion in the same colour or in different colours. Adding embroidery on the yoke is the usual practice. This embroidery can be matched on the pockets or hem.
3. Waist gathered frocks
This frock will have a shaped bodice and a gathered skirt. Usually, a sash will give more fit to the dress. Instead of gathering the skirt section can also be pleated. The bottom round of these frocks is usually taken as 2 or 3 times the chest round of the kid.
4. Circular frocks
This frock has a fitted bodice, and the skirt will be fitted near the waistline but because of the way the skirt portion is cut in a circular way, it will have a lot of flare.
5. Low waist frocks
This dropped waistline style of frock is very popular with kids, because of its casual fit.
Some popular frock designs
Frock design basics
The bodice of the frock: When you design frocks for a kid you need not make it body fitting. In fact, that would not be appreciated at all. Ease is given very generously in frock patterns, because of the kids’ propensity to move around. The frock can be in one piece like an Aline frock or one with bodice and skirt separate. The A-line is a favourite style with kids but most of the occasion frocks are designed with the bodice and skirt separate with zip openings in the back. The bodice will be usually as long as the waist or about 1″ above the waist. If it is a yoke dress the yoke will usually be along the chest line or about 1 inch above it
Openings/fasteners – There are several options to use – the favourites are zippers, hook and eye and buttons. Usually, the placket opening is kept on the center back in frocks and they will be open 3 inch past the waistline.
Embellishments that you can do on your frock design
Waistline – This is one of the most visible parts of a kid’s frock. You can add many embellishments to this portion; in fact, this decoration will be more than enough for the whole frock. An embroidered panel or smocked panel or bows or fabric flowers can be added just above the waistline.
Neckline – The best necklines for kids frocks are u-shaped and sweet heart shaped necklines. Check out the post on different types of necklines for more details on these necklines
You can change the look of a simple neckline with a faced neckline which is brought to the face of the dress and worked with some embroidery like the one in this dress pattern. For special occasion frocks, an illusion neckline with the yoke made in a sheer fabric is very pretty.
Add pretty collars. Peter Pan collars are all round favorites for kids frocks.
Hem – This is another area where you can add your own trimmings galore like Pipings, ricrac trims, lace trims, contrasting fabric bands
Ruffles can be added at the hem; frilly dresses are (almost) always favoured by girls.
You can buy some braid – they come with metallic threads braided along with different coloured threads. Add this to the frock for another kind of embellishment. They can also be used as straps.
Sleeves – All the sleeves that adults wear can also be added to kids’ frocks; but some are obviously favourites like puffed sleeves and flutter sleeves. Add scallops to the sleeve hem for an added charm. You can make the sleeves with scalloped lace and the scallops are made readymade for you.
Applique work and embroidery are the usual mode of embellishments on kids frocks and no wonder they are – they look lovely. Check out this post on some popularly done baby embroidery designs
Smocking is usually done on the yoke of the frocks or added as panels. Honeycomb smocking is especially pretty.
Shirring is another popular embellishment – this is useful too as a shirred frock can stretch and accommodate growth spurts.
Sashes – Sashes are a constant on baby frocks. They look very good and are easy to make as well. Add some ribbon to the side seams of the frock just above the waist seam and you have a simple sash. Or look at this post on making sashes.
You can also check out the post on tying the perfect sash bow on the dress. The sash bow can be added to the back or front of the frock.
A sheer fabric like silk organza can be used as an overlay on the frock for a completely ethereal look. You will have to use a great looking fabric like satin as the lining as it will be visible outside under the transparent fabric.
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