Friday 4 August 2017

Lottie week Day 5 - Dressing up

Little Miss E is the queen of dressing up and she loves a little bit of sparkle. I really wanted a multi-purpose dress up set.

Mermaid Lottie on Hoswick beach.

I started this set with a swimsuit tutorial. The fabric used is actually a sample piece and was just enough. The tutorial is easy to follow and really helpful. I changed the neck slightly and added a halter-neck with a popper hidden at the front making it easy for little fingers to put on and take off.


The first dress up outfit was a mermaid. The was a really simple design; I drew a wide line around Lottie lying down from one side of her waist round her feet to the other side of her waist to make the tail shape and sketched in the tail fins. I cut out two pieces of purple felt for the tail and four pieces of pink felt for the fins. I stitched the pink fins right sides together leaving the top open and turned them through this gap. I sandwiched the fins between either side of the bottom of the tail and stitched around the tail leaving the top open. I then cut 3 cm down the center of the back of the tail and folded one piece over the other and added a press stud, and I added two small darts to improve the fit.

This was all quite straightforward and took less trial and error than the rest of my self drafted patterns. That was until the sequins and beading... I decided that the felt on its own was not 'exciting' enough so I bought flat purple sequins (1cm across) that I could overlap to look like scales. This way each sequin covers the stitch of the sequin below. It also allows the sequins to shimmer in the light. For the fins I stitchd on individual 5mm pink sequins each with a tiny pink bead in the center. This took a lot longer than I had anticipated but gave a really fun effect. I finished the top line of purple sequins with pink beaded ones to cover up the purple holes.

When I am making something for a person I like to have something going on that makes me thinks of the person I am stitching for. This is normally music, a programme or even a drink. I was not able to take up the whole process with something that made me think of a (at the time, almost) 4 year old but I did sequin the tail while watching Bubble Guppies with my daughter. 

Mermaid tail


To go with the mermaid I decided to include a mini Tilda spermwhale. Lots of children’s toys include dolphins but a sperm whale seemed more unusual. I also like that Day Three had narwhal fabric so I was happy to be a little bit different again. I have made a lot of Tilda sperm whales of al sizes so it was a personal thing for me to make and give and I chose pretty flower fabric to match with the pink and purple mermaid. The whale is mostly made on the sewing machine with just the fins hand stitched on. Despite the simplicity of the pattern you get such a lovely expression just from the length of the mouth and the position of the eye. For the eyes I used a tiny black button, a French knot would have also been fine.

Pattern matching on the sperm whale
Every girl needs a flowey sperm whale

The second outfit was a fairy. This also uses the swimsuit as a base. I made a really simple skirt by gathering glittery net fabric using a large running stitch. It was so glittery that I am still finding glitter, and I may need to apologise to the Little Miss E’s family for this too. I measured Lotties waist and multiplied it by 1.5, then gathered it up by hand and added a strip of the lycra from the swimsuit which was slightly longer than the net fabric. I stitched the two short net ends together from the bottom to 1cm below the waist band. I added mini poppers and tiny buttons to finish and tidied up the open bit of net. This was not the tidiest finish and I might be tempted to take a different approach if I made one again.

Fairy dressing up set

I wanted a lovely fairy wing shape, I was thinking more insect inspired than "Tooth fairy" so I found a lovely shape and shrank it on a photocopier, I traced the details with a transfer pen and ironed the pattern onto felt. Metallic thread is difficult to use as it has a tendency to snag so I combined it with a single strand of grey thread. I used back stitch to put in the lines and then cut the overall shape. I embroidered the felt first as I was able to keep the tension by putting it in an embroidery hoop. If I had embroidered it after I had cut it out then it would have stretched and lost its shape. Having cut out the felt wings I then used it as a template to cut out a piece of metallic fabric. I stitched the two together using a small blanket stitch, and I added a press stud on the metallic side of the wings in the middle and then I sewed the other side of the press stud onto the back of the swimsuit. I pondered this solution a lot; Initially I wanted bits of elastic as you would use for a childs play wings, but it was going to be too fiddly, too easy to tangle and look clumsy. The downside of my use of the popper is that it can only be used with the swim suit. This was another time I had to remember that it is to be played with and that it is okay to use the wings just with the swimsuit.

Fairy wings

I love how fun and bright this set is and its one I can see encouraging imaginative play. As Little Miss E has more than one Lottie doll I still wonder if I should have made a second swimsuit so that there could be a mermaid and a fairy at the same time. Maybe Lottie... I mean Little Miss E... will get a surprise at some point.

Also... She might need a wand.....

Flower pot Fairy
Wing close up


  1. These are fab, I have some lottie dolls which I have bought for when grandaughter is a little older. I'm sure in time she will want Granny to make clothes too.

    1. They are lovely little dolls and I am sure she will love handmade clothes :)