Modifying the 225 Childhood Dreams Pattern

by Victoria Watkins

My latest (completed) sewing project at Folkwear has been the 225 Childhood Dreams pattern. Unmodified, the original sewing pattern serves as a re-creation of nightgowns from the early 1900s.  However, I wanted to take the foundations and create a casual day-to-day dress that wouldn't be out of place on a modern day child.

My thought process for this was to remove all of the extra ruffles, and choose the view with the higher hemline. This is straightforward in theory, but in doing so, I learned that the dress is finished with these ruffles. Removing them required a little consideration on how to finish raw edges around the neckline and sleeve hems.  So, I am going to show you how I did this so you can use this very sweet pattern to sew up a modern-ish dress or the ruffle-y nightgown.

Bias binding around the neckline of the dress.Neckline finished with narrow bias binding.

To finish the neckline, I chose a bias binding to replace the ruffle. There are a couple things to keep in mind when doing this. I was definitely winging it when constructing the dress, so being mindful of when to do this step is helpful. My advice is to complete the back and side back pieces of the dress first, then do the bias binding before attaching the center front. Be sure to have binding that extends past the box where the front neck placket gets sewn down. Then continue the dress as normal. I do wish I used a slightly wider binding, but it worked fine for this sample.

bias binding extending beyond the opening of the front neck placket

The cuffs in this pattern are also finished with ruffles.  And when it came to the that point, I let myself go on autopilot before realizing how I'd done it without the ruffles.  Last week I was working on a blouse cuff for an upcoming pattern we're developing which has a wrist placket, and so I sewed the cuffs on this dress in a similar way. I sewed the cuff pieces right sides together, along 3 sides and left one long side end open. Then I turned under about two inches of the sleeve side seam allowance and topstitched them to form a simple placket.  I encased the gathered wrist edge of the sleeve into the cuff assembly I'd sewn. This works fine (though necessitates a closure like a snap or button at the wrist), but I think you could also create cuffs without a placket for a child since their hands and wrists are usually quite small (and don't necessitate a placket).  There are several ways to finish the cuff without the ruffles.  One way to do this would be to sew the short ends of each cuff piece to themselves, then sew the cuffs together right sides together along one long side, and encase the finished sleeve end with the open ends of the cuff.  Turn under the seam allowance on the long sides of the open end of the cuff and topstitch or hand stitch the cuff over the sleeve end.

Cuffs with wrist placket openings on the dress
Cuffs with a small placket (turned under seam allowance for simplicity).

All in all, I think the dress turned out very cute and definitely wearable with these modifications. The linen contrast panel on the front yoke is especially eye catching! It surprised me how nice of a match the linen was to the darker pink birds on the print. 

This is a great sewing pattern for making an adorable dress or nightgown.  These modifications give it extra mileage as a pattern, and I hope you will give it a try!