A Joy to the Senses

A Joy to the Senses

I recently got inspired to draft a little dress for Millie. I saw some people talking about dresses for children with sensory disorders. Someone was looking for a dress that had no closures, no major seams, lots of flow. Millie doesn’t have a sensory issue, but I thought it would be cool to tinker around with a style that would work for that kind of issue.

A Joy to the Senses

The style and shape of the dress are pretty simple, I used a t-shirt pattern that I had and just extended the neckline by a couple inches and also the armpit lines. I figured gathering the fabric would allow for some extra flow while also being a cute design. I also flared out the sides to give it more fabric. To add some visual interest, I made it a high low hem, just for fun.

A Joy to the Senses

I was kind of figuring things out as I went along- I realized I hadn’t drafted it in such a way that the ending circumference of the neck line and arm holes would be intuitive, so I just took out the original pattern and measured how big those holes were supposed to be and gathered to that. I cut the bindings to about 85% that length to pull them in a bit and not have them gape.

A Joy to the Senses

I decided it would be easier to sew the sides together before gathering the arm holes so all the gathers would be even under the pits without a weird gap at the seam. I just serged the bindings on both the neckline and the armholes. Easy peasy :)

A Joy to the Senses

The fabric I used was some stuff I bought from Joann’s ages ago that has a weird mystery fabric content. Probably polyester cotton spandex mix of weirdness. It is kind of clingy and full of static, also really warm! I think it might hold too much heat for summer in Texas, but the reason I used it was because this dress was just an experiment, I had no sentimental attachment to it, and I knew Millie would love it for the color and the butterflies.

A Joy to the Senses

As it is, I think this dress is cute, but I think I would ADORE it if it were made of some sort of thinner flowy woven fabric instead of this weird knit. But I don’t know how I would go about sewing something like that without closures.. Then again, Millie doesn’t have that sensory issue so that shouldn’t be a problem for me! I just thought it would be neat to challenge myself to create something that fit into those parameters.

A Joy to the Senses

Millie lost her tooth the morning before this little photo shoot- she was REALLY excited to show off her new little smile :) Also- holy moly this girl needs a haircut!!

A Joy to the Senses

I think I’ll keep working with this style, examining these photos, I really like how it looks. I think next time I’ll make the shoulders a bit more narrow and open up the armholes more and make it more tank top-y. I may even play around with a racer back for giggles.. Making things from scratch is fun!!

Also, every time I do make something that I’ve drawn up instead of just made from a pattern, I always think “Gee, maybe I should have taken photos of the process and made a tutorial for that”. Would anyone actually be interested in something like this? Lemme know if I should make the effort :)

A Joy to the Senses

8 thoughts on “A Joy to the Senses

  1. I love the way you did the gathers underneath the arm, that’s a really neat detail. I don’t know much about sensory clothing, but I know a lot of people need this type of apparel. So it’s a great concept to try to play around with it. And PS – I think that fabric is really cute :-)

    1. Thank you :) I don’t know much about it either, I was just brainstorming after hearing a conversation. It certainly hasn’t been something I’ve ever had to think about and it must be so difficult to find things for sensitive kids!

  2. I love this little dress…not only for my little granddaughter…but for me as well. I’m headed out to find a t-shirt pattern!

    1. How fun!! Do it! The only wiggly thing about putting it together was trying to get the correct circumference for the arm and neck holes, everything else was super simple :)

  3. Cute dress! I’ve never tried to make clothing for people with sensory issues but it reminds me of a dress I created for Valérie when she was a toddler. She loved getting dressed by herself but didn’t yet know from from back or right side out. And she wasn’t yet able to do her clothes up. So I made a fully reversible dress that could be worn on any side. With no closures. The design wasn’t perfect ( it ended up more fitted than I intended thanks to the two layers of jersey) but it was a fun puzzle.

    Do you think a full lining might help kids with sensory disorders? In my mind, the issue with seams is the seam allowance rubbing. A full lining would mean the skin only coming in contact with the smooth side of seams… Or maybe flat felled seams? I know nothing about this subject…

    1. That is certainly something to think about! The woman I was overhearing said her daughter hated things pinching or rubbing at her waist, but I bet there are lots of kids who hate all seam allowances. I bet french seams would work great in knits, I feel like two layers might be too thick and uncomfortable? Then again I’m super pregnant here in hot as Hades Texas and I feel like I might be projecting my own personal heat issues on to other people, haha! I love how you made something your daughter could wear and put on all by herself that is awesome. I’ve never really had a problem with my kids wearing their shirts inside out haha but I might think about doing something like that for the next! A fully reversible shift dress perhaps?

  4. Yes definitely do the construction techniques! I love posts like those. You know…those dress types could be an Etsy business for you. It’s a niche’ that probably is very needed. Think about it.

    1. Good point!!! I always shy away from Etsy in fear that I’ll be slave to orders and I won’t have as much fun sewing anymore. That on top of the million other moms who sew clothes for kids on there, how does one even stand out!? But if push came to shove, that is a pretty great idea to have a niche. Now I just need a kid with an actual disorder to tell me if it is comfortable or total rubbish!

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