Follow the links below to downloadable patterns for dresses, shorts and also links to guideline pages from some of our fantastic sewers. Just click on the buttons.
Main Guidelines for the basic pillowslip dress- adapted from the US FABRIC
ONLY 100% cotton or a cotton/poly blend (with mostly cotton) should be used.
The dresses will be washed in rivers, creeks, watering holes and maybe scrubbed with rocks. Only cotton will stand up to this treatment.
When choosing fabric, consider the size it will be. Use baby/nursery patterns for smaller sizes.
Avoid white fabric or thin fabric (gingham, for example, tends to be very thin).
We are trying to give the girls dignity and their dark skin would show through. Hold fabric up to a light source. Is it see-through?
We no longer use pillowcases
Ties should be 90 - 100cm each. 70 - 80cm is acceptable on extra-small (size 0-2).
Ties should also be made of double-wide, double fold bias tape.
This is enough length to be tied into a bow; otherwise it’s only enough to tie in a knot, which the girls then might not be able to untie. Ties should also be in one length (not pieced together) with the ends either turned under or zig-zagged across.
Please do not use thin bias tape or ribbon for the ties.
NO buttons or zips are used as these cannot be replaced when broken or lost.
Placed slightly below the mid-point of the dress (slightly below the waist…think about putting your hands in your pockets and where you’d like them to be.)
Measure approximately 15cm wide x 10cm high--any smaller won’t give much room, AND hands might not fit, any larger and the dress looks out of proportion.
Pocket fabric can match or be a coordinating colour/pattern.
We prefer 2 pockets (this might be the only place a girl has to herself for her ‘treasures', often several family members live in a very tiny house).
Inside seams should be overlocked or zig-zagged in the seam allowance. Double machined seams are great.
This ensures that the seams will not break through. Think of little girls playing and running. If the seam opens, she has no way to repair it.
HEMS: should be very shallow and either overlocked on the raw edge or turned under, there is no way of letting down the hem in case of growth, so a shallow hem (1 - 2 cm) is plenty.
ELASTIC: 20cm elastic for ALL sizes, both front and back, elastic stretches and most of the girls are small across their chest area, so larger elastic isn’t needed.
Should all be securely SEWN on
Could include appliques, buttons, braided or woven trims, ric rack, lace, or eyelet.
Please do not use hot glue to attach decorations or embellishments.
If using ribbon as decoration please ensure to use a FABRIC ribbon (ie grosgrain), not CRAFT ribbon (craft ribbon will eventually disintegrate in water, which would be problematic with washing!)
LABELS be sewn onto the dress on the front hem.
For those who prefer commercial patterns these are suitable, just remember to use ties not buttons