the Kite dress

We interrupt the love of Shorts to bring you….a DRESS!

Last month Katy of No Big Dill asked me to participate in her fantastic series Once Upon a Thread
And it doesn’t matter how busy life is when Katy comes an-emailing…..because I just can’t say no to Once Upon a Thread.  Yes Katy! It’s a YES!  I’m sure you feel the same!  The books are marvelous, the interpretations are brilliantly fun, and the only hard part is narrowing down the book selection….because there are so many I’d love to tackle.

My favorite children’s books are those that draw me in artistically, through illustration.  So this time I went with an all-time classic because Curious George pretty much sums up my favorite design style.

It’s a smorgasbord of simple colors and shapes popping on a white background.
Lemon yellow, turquoise blue, checkers, dots, and stripes!….oh the stripes! (even the Christmas trees have them.  Cute)

I had to create something stripey something for my own little monkey.

Of course it was hard to narrow down which Curious George story to draw from, since we read these books so frequently and each have our favorites.  My favorite page is the hot air balloon race.  Too many fun colors.  We each take turns picking out OUR balloon. Can you guess mine?

Owen and Lucy love the chocolate factory and like to point out all the faces on the machinery.  Then we take turns choosing our favorite chocolate pieces as well.

 But I went with one that the kids seem to choose often since there’s inspiration everywhere:

The story starts out with George, sitting in the house, just begging to be curious (and hanging out by some pretty awesome curtains)

He spies a garden from his window and decides he must know what it feels like to hold a bunny.  So he roams through a field of flowers.

He tries fishing.
And goes head-first into the fishing.

And eventually he runs into Bill, wearing stripes, and flying his stripey kite.

So I made Lucy a kite dress.
She loved it.

…and spent the next 10 minutes running and jumping around the house declaring to everyone:

That made me happy.
The dress is a simple A-line pattern I’ve been working on (and have in-queue to share, hopefully sooner than later!)  I created the striped fabric first, sewing long 4-inch wide strips together…since good striped fabric is always harder to find that one would think.  Please.  Please designers.  Give us more cabana striped fabric!

I sewed the dress with a white lining, gave it little petal sleeves, and a red polka dot button in the back.

I must say, she makes a pretty good kite.

Thanks Katy for having me!

  1. I love this! The yellow looks gorgeous on her! The caps sleeves are a great touch. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2) katie

    So, SO darling!! Super love it 🙂

  3. 4) Debbie

    Love the dress and the inspiration! Amazingly creative. I love storybooks too and enjoy sharing them with my granddaughter…thanks for a neat idea.

  4. This dress is so very you! 🙂 It totally reminds me of your yellow necklace header and series. So fun! And in the picture of Lucy as the kite, she looks JUST like your son! Adorable.

    Great job, can’t wait to see the pattern!!

  5. 7) netty

    I want one! 🙂 Is 35 too old to rock a kite dress? 🙂

  6. We adore curious George at our house. Love the dress so much! 🙂

  7. 9) JoAnn Chambers

    I love this dress and the inspiration for it. My granddaughter and I are also Curious George fans. Lucy is so adorable and is a great model! I am looking forward to your sharing of this pattern. My head is spinning with ideas for it. Thank you!

  8. 10) Juanita in OH

    Fun, fabulous and fantastic, I LOVE your work and TFS.

  9. 11) Nancy

    Although I too wish that there were more cabana-striped materials available, I LOVE what you did with this dress to make your own. The additional stitching in your design adds dimension to this in a way that striped fabric wouldn’t.

    Great job!

  10. I love the stripes and the colors. I love the boots with the dress. It fits her perfectly- Beautiful job!

  11. 13) Farrah

    Too Perfect! Love.

  12. 14) evababedesigns

    I can’t wait to see the pattern! This would be great for all sorts of different prints. I just picked up a bunch of summery prints at Joann fabrics in Oxnard and can’t wait to start sewing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. 15) Meg

    Ok, I seriously need this in an adult size too. I love the dress and Lucy totally rocks it.

  14. 16) Terrie Brown

    Wonderful!!! When will your pattern for this come out? I have 3 granddaughters who would love, love, love these striped dresses in white and different colored alternate stripes. Thank you for this.

  15. i worked for a literacy non-profit with elementary schoolers this year, and this story was far and away one of the most-read. love it, and i second wanting a big girl size of this! love lucy’s boots, too 🙂

  16. 18) Nanci Fitschen


  17. Oh my word, Dana. This is so incredibly darling. I can’t wait to make it! 🙂 I love how you had to make the stripes…. for sure a lot more work than being able to buy striped fabric, but wow does it look awesome with the top stitching, etc… I want to be a little girl again! And what a perfect choice – the kite! ~ Dori ~

  18. 21) bel

    Love it all! Beautiful story, beautiful dress! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  19. Ummm, has this post been published before, or am I becoming psychic? I’m sure I remember it, because I remember thinking how awesome it was the first time around, but, judging by the comments, it’s new to many people here at least.

    • Me too, Willit! I KNOW I’ve seen it before on here–maybe she accidentally published it before she meant to, and we just happened on it at the right time? I’m confused 🙂 But it doesn’t change the fact that the dress is adorable and I’m about to go see if there’s a video of this Curious George book on YouTube to keep my little guy occupied during the rainstorm and while I work on a pair of shorts for him! 🙂

      • 24) Dana

        haha. I did a small teaser post about it last month when the full post was on the No Big Dill site.
        So now I’m posting it here on my site. I’m sure some people never popped over to the other site to see the post last month…so to them, it seems new 🙂

        • ah ha! Thanks 🙂 I guess we’d forgotten about the click over to the other site! 🙂

          Guess you’ll have to try out Spoonflower if the designers don’t rush to make new lines of cabana-striped fabric! 😉

        • Darn, I was starting to think I had a hidden talent 🙂

  20. 27) Carolyn Thornley

    This would be fun to make for my great granddaughter.

  21. Your posts ALWAYS brighten my days….Beautiful! It is amazing how you can even make a tutorial beautiful to look at:)

    • 29) Dana

      awww. Thanks Petra 🙂

  22. I really can’t add any more than what has been said already, what a fantastic interpretation of elements within a great children’s book. So inspiring.

  23. 32) marta

    beautiful dress and photos. Lucy will be proud to wear this fairy dress.
    have a nice day from Italy!

  24. 33) Liora

    Very nice and creative.

  25. Too. Stinkin. Cute. I hope the next addition to grammy’s clan in December is a girl. Oh don’t get me wrong, I ADORE all the boy stuff (I snagged your shorts pattern and they are fab BTW) and boys certainly have less drama than girls, but I want to sew for a GIRL! Yes, I sew for charity but I want to see my creation on one of my um…creations!

    As a side, your Red Stroganoff was for lunch/dinner yesterday. I made it sans the sour cream. Hubs stayed home yesterday so I tossed it in the crock before I left for work, made rice in the Zojirushi so it would keep all day, he had lunch and I had dinner! Delicious again! Thanks for the stand-by recipe! (You say you like heat? Get you some Slap Ya Mama! and you’ll start sprinkling it in everything. Really does some greatness on the RS.)

  26. Bravo, great story, fantastic dress, amazing model … loved it all!

  27. AWWW!!! Super great. Love the dress, and I love how her striped hair tie matches the book too. You are genius, girl, genius!!

    OK, and is it the red and white balloon? Your fave? Or did you say it somewhere in the post already and I missed it? (*I’m a shameless skimmer*)


    • 38) Dana

      the yellow and white striped one! :)….although, I pretty much love them all!

  28. 39) Erin

    I hope you do create and share the pattern! (I would love to see an adult version too!!)

  29. 40) Kari

    Beautiful! Would love to make a couple of these for my girls!!!

  30. Seriously Dana! This is too freaking adorable. I’m dying over the petal sleeves! And the button?! And the striped headband to match Bill’s shirt! Couldn’t be a more perfect touch. This post has totally inspired me to work up a “Curious” invite and some matchy stuff for my website. Cute cute cute dress and post!

  31. I love this!!! So cute! And fresh! And happy!

  32. I can’t wait for this pattern! Now that I’m going to have a little GIRL to sew for! Thanks again for the great shorts pattern! I posted it on my blog- hoping others will buy the pattern too! Got some more fabric today and I plan to bust out some shorts this weekend!!!!!

  33. 44) ana giu

    I absolutly love this, great inspiration can defenetly can come from all around us!!! Such a cute dress!!!

  34. 45) Angelique

    Please send us a tutorial soon! I was exasperated when I looked at my first grader’s closet this week because barely anything she owns is school-able. Shorts/skirt below mid-thigh, no straps/sleeveless dresses/shirts! It’s h.o.t. in houston and sleeves are so much to ask for at this time of year. And…AND! Almost everything at the stores is not appropriate in so many other ways. I just need to start sewing…

  35. 46) michelle

    I like this dress a lot, as well as the first day of school version. Who doesn’t remember the thrill of twirling in a dress with a fuller skirt!

    I so look forward to the tutorial.

    thank you for inspiring me to get into my sewing room and create something.


  36. 47) Angela

    Love, Love, Love it! Do you by chance have this available to share? Picture day is coming up for my little girl and this is exactly what I want for her to wear. I’ll let her have fun too by coming with me and picking out the fabric.

  37. 48) Megan Davis

    I this just so adorable!
    I’ve looked and looked and can’t find the pattern link.
    Am I overlooking it? I really would like to whip up a couple dresses for our daughters for Easter. Help, please! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this!

  38. 49) emilia

    hows the pattern for this coming along?

  39. 50) Chrys

    I love the kite dress and especially the way you line it to make it look professional
    Any chance that you have the pattern available? I have a granddaughter that will be in 2nd grade this fall. I would love to make it for her.

    Look forward to hearing from you!
    Thank you!

  40. 51) Vicky reynolds

    I see the beautiful kite dress. Please tell me where I can purchase the pattern.?.. Very nice….

    Thank u vicjy

  41. 52) Claudia Laperouse

    Very cute dress! Was the pattern ever posted??

    Surely could use a cute quick dress for my granddaughter.


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