little green dress

The other day I was totally frustrated with one of my new book projects. It was just. not. working. And I felt like I’d wasted the entire night. So I woke up in the morning and just like you guys mentioned to Emma last week, realized I needed a quick pick-me-up project that I could finish and gain momentum back.So I did this: A simple little dress for Clara.

I started with a thrifted shirt (10 year-old size, Cherokee brand). And drew a little A-line dress on top—just eye-balling the measurements—and started cutting. I only had one hour between naps and picking up kids, so it was a winging-it kind of project.And….the winging-it didn’t exactly work .  I cut the neckline much too wide. So I grabbed another fabric to make it work. I love unintentional design twists.I turned it into a jumper style instead and then added my favorite knit straps:
• Cut 1-2 inch wide strips of knit
• Yank and stretch them from both ends
• They curl up creating little tube-like strings!

And that’s it for the straps….no real sewing involved (well, except for sewing them to the dress). I use these straps in my hobo sacks too. Then tie the little strings at the shoulder and you have a dress!Seeing it on the hanger, I started to doubt that it would fit a human and might become another doll cast off for Lucy.But I stuck a plain onesie on Clara, slipped on the dress, and it fit perfectly!I’m  starting to wonder if she’s going to be a redhead afterall.  Wouldn’t that be fun??

Okay, back to previous project at hand.  I think I’ve made a small break-through….

  1. That is a sweet little project! I’m so glad you got your pick me up. 🙂

    That being said. Oh my WORD, that is one cute little baby! I’m dying.

  2. 2) Chelsea


    I love your creativity! Now if only I could sew in a straight line I would make all the stuff you have on here! LOL. I am practicing and maybe one day I will get it down. Until then I will just have to save the projects and come back to them later.

    • 3) Shortymomma

      Straight lines can be difficult. Pick a thread that matches, and a project with inner seams. The more practice you get on the machine, the straighter the lines come out.

  3. 4) April

    You are so awesome! That is the cutest dress! : )

  4. I LOVE it! It’s such a sweet little jumper. Wish I could just “wing it” like that. The baby in the dress is just as sweet 🙂

  5. Amazing. You are a sewing magician to just whip that right up. Love the fabric combo too.

    And of course, baby girl could not be any cuter. Such a doll.

  6. 8) Leigh Anne

    So adorable! Great job on winging it! Hope you got your sewing mojo back 🙂

  7. 9) Lil

    so cute!!!
    I love the colors for your daughter, it fits perfectly!

  8. Oh my! That dress is adorable…or it is the baby?

  9. 11) Valerie

    Good grief, that baby is so photogenic I want to just grab her up! What a sweetie. Oh, the dress is cute too!

  10. What a sweet little dress. I almost forgot to look at it because of the cute little girl inside it. She’s lovely!

  11. What a little sweetie. And what a sweet dress! I totally agree that sometimes you need to take a break, sew a quick project (that you don’t have to write instructions for!) and then get back into your groove.

  12. 14) bdaiss

    Hahaha! I just found a pillowcase style dress I’d tried to “eyeball” for my girl back when she was a few months old. It never fit her…but it fits her baby perfectly! Hey, at least somebody’s wearing it now! : )

  13. She is just adorable! I love the dress! I might have to try one of those for Lillie:)

  14. 17) Michele

    She is such a cutie!! I love pick-me-up projects that involve making things for daughters. 🙂

  15. 18) Connie Sanders

    She is so stinking adorable! Great job on just “winging it”!!

  16. I love this dress! I had to scroll through the post first before reading so that I could see all of the photos of Clara first. She has changed a lot in the last few weeks. I was going to ask about the red hair too and then you mentioned it. She is just lovely! Thanks for the tip on the straps too. I had never thought about doing them like that without sewing! So great!

  17. Thank you for having the cutest baby ever! Good gracious. And thanks for this post. I may try this for my 4 and 6 year old with my husband’s old shirts. Keep the inspiration coming!!!

  18. It is like a mini Popover Dress from Oliver + S. So Precious. Love the color choice.

  19. 22) Gosia


    I know – because she have beautiful mother 🙂
    All your family is georgeous!
    Dress is perfect and Clara looks super in it.
    Greetings from Poland

  20. 23) Elizabeth

    Red-headed Claras are the best Claras there are! I have a four year old red-headed Clara myself, and while my sewing skills are still in their infant phase, it gets even more fun dressing them! Great dress!

  21. That baby!! She is so, super cute. Her hair is exact color of mine and baby L’s, BTW, which my grandmother assures me is “strawberry blonde” and my husband says is most definitely in the redhead family. Woot!

  22. She is too cute, and looks great in that green! I was thinking she looked a little bit red-headed in your Mother’s Day picture!

  23. Oh Dana – she’s gorgeous! And my baby #3 turned out to be a red-head after all – but it took a few months to really show through (much to my red-headed mother’s surprise and delight)! Good luck with the book sewing.

  24. 27) April Spinetti

    What a cute and inspiring project. Best of all it seems quick and simple. Seriously though I don’t know how you get anything done at all…….that last picture is filled with unbelievable amounts of baby cuteness overload. So precious.

  25. Did you pomemade her hair? So cute I want to reach into my computer and kiss her!

  26. 29) Karen

    Oh my, she is sooooooooooo cute!

  27. Oh my goodness that is probably the most adorable baby & outfit I have seen in forever. You are so creative!

  28. oh, I HATE “I-can’t-believe-I-wasted-all-night-on-this-and-it-still-failed” projects! What an adorable pick me up dress though. But…honestly, Dana, as cute as that dress is…all I see is your cuddly little Clara-bear! I want one!!

  29. 32) Nancy

    Downright Adorable!

  30. Clara has the world’s sweetest facial expressions! Cute dress, too. 🙂

  31. 34) Deborah

    Whats to wonder! Redhead without any doubt.

  32. 35) Alexandra

    She is so gorgeous!!! I love the dress too, the fabric combination is perfect 🙂

  33. 36) Dominique

    So cute! And I just love how in the last picture you can just feel the love your baby girl has for you!! Pure sweetness!

  34. What a fun little project!! And, OH. MY.GOODNESS… Clara is absolutely adorable! So precious!
    Good luck with your book!

  35. 38) Katie

    She is so adorable and so is the dress!

  36. 39) Amanda S.

    This is a great idea.

  37. 40) Tami B

    Clara is just the cutest baby!!! (So is her jumper!!!)

  38. 41) Carolyn

    Totally adorable!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Dear Dana,
    this is such a cute dress!
    In my blog I have a topic named “reduce…recycle…restyle”.
    Seems to me, that this dress fits perfectly 😉

  40. 43) Cheryl Pieri

    AMAZING and ADORABLE!!!! Will have to make for my 2 week old grand-daughter. 😀 Thank you sooooooooooo much for all the great ideas and tutorials.

  41. I can’t believe you. It’s absolutely mind blowing to me that you pick up a t-shirt and in an hour you have made the cutest little dress!! I’m jealous of your talent- and thanks for the fun idea!

  42. 46) Elaine

    Good gravy, that’s adorable! I can’t manage to get anything done in an hour and you made a dress? WOW, lady!

    And speaking from a mama of a curly, red-headed little boy – yay for redheads! 🙂

  43. 47) Elise

    Her sweet little face is heart melting!

  44. 48) Julia

    Very cute. I wish I could just wing things like you do!

  45. 49) Lynda

    I loved this idea! I may try it for my 3 yr old! As I was looking at your blog, my 3 yr old climbed into my lap and oohed and ahhed over your little Clara. She’s adorable!

  46. I LOVED THIS! And you rbaby firl is a dolly-dolly-doll!!!!! Ooh, you need to give her sweet baby kisses all day long! Good job, mama!

  47. I just love last-minute pick-me-up projects! And yours turned out so great. She’s a doll!

  48. 53) Valerie Nelson

    So cute Dana 🙂 Both dress and baby! WOW!! She’s losing the newborn look!!

  49. 54) Shona B.

    I don’t normally comment but I have to on this one. My 10 month old (also a red head) woke up yesterday just as I finished reading this post. I had left my computer open with the last picture on screen. When he came out to the livingroom and looked at my computer he started trying to say “hi” and “baby” to Clara. Note: this is the first time he’s tried to say any real words in context to the situation. Thank you for having an adorable child that he can relate to!

    PS. Having a red head is *awesome*

  50. 56) Michelle

    My favorite pick~me~up is a fold up shopper bag. I love to give them to friends.

  51. You are amazing. Hmmm…let me just whip up this way cute dress in an hour while completely winging it. 🙂 Hope you can get out your (other) project slump. You’ve inspired me in more ways than one with this post. Next time I feel frustrated with a project, I’ll try a simpler one to gain my mojo back. Great idea!

    And yes…Clara does look like she’s going red. How cute!

  52. Oh my goodness, she is just so cute in the dress. I have made my little one a dress and made the neck a bit wide too then gave up. Now I know what to do, lovely dress x

  53. If my girls see that flamingo at Joann’s, I think we will also be the proud new owners of some bright pink plastic!

  54. You have the cutest babies!

  55. 61) Angela

    Such a cute dress! I love it with the “accidental” top part. New follower 🙂

  56. 63) Emily

    Love your quick projects and tutorials!! I think you should do more of them! They’re so easy to follow! And, hey, the less time you spend sewing, the more time you can spend uploading crazy cute pictures of that sweet little baby, who’s cupie doll hair I just can’t get over!! She’s completely precious!!

  57. I like it better with the yellow on top — so glad you “messed up!” 🙂 Your daughter is such a doll!!

  58. That is so cute! I just gave that exact shirt to the goodwill now I am totally wishing I would have saved it:)

  59. Just had to comment the cuteness of everything in this project 🙂 And thanks for the inspiration and tips on the straps! My daughter turns out to become a redhead as well, to our surprise. We love it!
    Norwegian compliments,

  60. 67) Joan McLemore

    I love upcycling things. Very adorable!

  61. 68) Connie Scott

    That dress is precious. You are very talented. It doesn’t surprise me the dress fit Clara, she IS a doll!

  62. What a great way to recycle outgrown or otherwise discarded items. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  63. 72) jamie davis

    OH. My. GAWD! So cute!

  64. 73) Ruth Ann

    This is adorable. The problem I see is the buttons on the dress. Safety issue?

  65. 75) nikki

    love this dress, im going to have a go at this its so sweet, thanks for pattern and sharing great work keep it up il be waiting for your next pattern thanks again x

  66. 76) Momsgoneridin

    Swell idea!!!!! & we Always need another REDHEAD!!!! : )

  67. 77) DEEPTHI

    Thank you Dana….its from India…..I was just following my mind to find out what I can do in my spare time… no doubts…..its thrilling me because I have two daughters to dress up…..Thank you once again…

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