Monday 27 August 2012

Alice in Wonderland...

Make an apron for an Alice in Wonderland outfit ~ tutorial by Threading My Way

My latest project has been to make an Alice in Wonderland outfit for a Mad Hatter's Garden Party. First up was to check exactly what Alice should be wearing to the Garden Party. A quick search online showed I needed a blue, short sleeved dress, teamed with a white apron.

It's still Winter in Australia and the dress was to be worn outside, so I bought some lovely blue flannelette. However, the weather forecast was for unseasonably warm weather, so I packed the flannelette away and looked in my stash for some suitable fabric. I didn't have any plain, light blue fabric, but I found a blue cotton fabric with a very small floral print, that I was happy with.

I didn't want to make a fancy dress that would only be worn once, or maybe put into the dress up box. I wanted to make a simple, but pretty dress that would be worn often, so I used the Marilyn's Slim Fit Peasant Dress from Create Kids Couture. This easy to follow pattern, which I've used before, is available as a free download from

I knew it wouldn't take long to make the dress, as I had made three peasant dresses earlier in the year.

As well as deviating from the traditional Alice in Wonderland dress by using a floral fabric, I have also omitted the Peter Pan collar and have made a dress without a waistline. My plan was to use the tie on the apron, to give the effect of a waistline and it worked.

I couldn't find a pattern for an apron, so I made my own. Here's how I did it.

Cutting the fabric:
There are four parts to the apron:
  • bib
  • skirt
  • waistband and tie
  • straps
First up, determine the size of the bib and skirt by visualising their sizes compared to the dress, then add seam and hem allowances. The apron can be as small or as large as you want it to be. You will need to cut:
  • a square for the bib
  • a rectangle for the skirt. Cut one an a half times the final width.
  • two long rectangles for the waistband and ties. I cut mine 3" wide, which will give you a finished width of 2". 
  • two 3" wide strips for the straps. Measure from the shoulder to the back of the waist where you want the strap to join the tie. Decide whether you want the straps to cross over or not. Add allowances.
The Bib:
Hem three sides of the bib: 
  • Turn each side under 1/4" and press or stitch 
  • Turn each side under 1/4" again and stitch.

The Waistband / Ties:
  • Fold the short ends of the waistband/tie in 1/2" and press.
  • Fold the long ends of the waistband/tie in 1/2" and press.
  • Repeat for the second waistband/tie.

Attaching the Bib to the Waistband:
  • Match the centre of the unsewn side of the bib and the centre of the waistband/tie. I had to join my waistband/tie to get a long enough length. It would have looked better if I'd made two joins at the ends of the bib, instead of the centre.
  • Sandwich the bib between the two waistbands/ties.
  • Pin

  • Hand baste
  • Remove pins

  • Stitch the bib to the top of the waistband, sewing 1/8" from the edge.
  • Continue stitching and sew the back and front of the tie together, on the top seam only.
  • Repeat for the other side of the tie.

Hem the Sides of the Skirt:
  • Turn each side under 1/4" and press or stitch 
  • Turn each side under 1/4" again and stitch.

Gathering Stitches on the Skirt:
  • Set your machine to the longest straight stitch (machine basting stitch)
  • Do NOT backstitch and leave the threads hanging.
  • Sew a row of stitching 1/4" from the top edge, going from one side to the other. Start and finish just before the side hem, so you are not sewing over the hem.
  • Sew a second row of stitching 3/8" from the top edge, going from one side to the other.

Gathering the Skirt:
  • Pin the centre top of the skirt to the centre of the bottom piece of waistband/tie. You will need to move the top piece of the waistband/tie out of the way for this step.
  • Line up the bottom gathering stitch with the bottom of the waistband/tie.
  • Decide where you want the sides of the skirt to end in comparison to the bib. My skirt extends about 2" past the bib on each side.
  • Pin.
Making the Gathers:
  • Pull the two bobbin threads on one side of the skirt and move the fabric to towards the centre front.
  • Pull until the fabric is the same length as the waistband.
  • Tie a knot in the two bobbin threads.
  • Even out the gathers and pin.
  • Repeat with the other side of the skirt.

Hand Basting the Skirt to the Waistband/Tie:
  • With needle and thread, sew the skirt to the bottom half of waistband/tie, with long stitches (hand basting stitch).
  • Remove all pins.

Machine Stitch Skirt to Bottom Half of Waistband/Tie:
  • Set machine back to normal stitch length for straight stitch.
  • Sew between the two lines of machine basting.
  • Remove hand basting.

Attach Top Waistband/Tie to Skirt:
  • Fold the top half of the wasitband/tie to cover the skirt gathers.
  • Pin in place.
  • With needle and thread, sew the top half of the waistband/tie to the skirt, with long stitches (hand basting stitch).
  • Remove pins.

Sew Top Waistband/Tie to Skirt:
  • Stitch the top of the waistband/tie to the skirt, sewing 1/8" from the edge.
  • Continue stitching and sew the back and front of the tie together.
  • Repeat for the other side of the tie.
  • Remove hand basting.
  • Remove any machine basting that shows.

  • Fold each strap in half lengthwise and sew the long edges together with 1/4" seam.
  • With a safety pin, turn the straps to the right side.
  • Tuck the ends in.
  • Press.
  • Topstitch 1/8" from the edges.
  • Sew one end of each strap to the top of the bib.

Finishing Off:
The straps will attach to the tie at the back with buttons. Decide whether you want the straps to cross over at the back or not.
  • Try the apron on.
  • Mark the straps where the buttons will go.
  • Mark the ties where the buttonholes will go.
  • Take apron off, attach buttons and make buttonholes.
  • Finish the bottom of the apron with a hem. Turn 1/4", then 1/2" and stitch.

Today it's an Alice in Wonderland outfit. Tomorrow, who knows what this little apron will be used for...

I'm linking this little outfit to our Pretend Dress Up Clothes link party.

... Pam


  1. That's gorgeous! So perfectly done, Pam!!

  2. The perfect Alice dress! I like that you made sure it was comfortable for the wearer and made the dress so that it could be worn again and again.:)

  3. as always, you have created something darling!

  4. This is gorgeous! I might have to give one a try, I know a little girl who would love this outfit!


  5. Beyond cute, Pam... I love it :)

  6. Alice in real world :)! Perfect

  7. Ohhh so cute! If my daughter decides to be Alice this Halloween, now I know what to do!
    BTW, I just used that same pattern to make a peasant dress! That is a great pattern!

  8. The perfect Alice outfit, great thinking to make the dress for everyday wear!

  9. Perfect for the annual Mad Tea Party hosted by A Fanciful Twist.

    Popped in from the Tuesday Time Out blog hop.

  10. This Alice in Wonderland apron looks great, and we've love to feature it on as a how-to. Interested? Feel free to email me at for more info.

  11. This is so cute! I love that is doesn't just have to be a costume. If you get a chance come link up your tutorial at my Pin Party.

  12. Thanks for sharing this project with us. Also thanks for the tutorial and the inspiration. You have done a fantastic job!

  13. That came out great! I would love for you to share this on our made for or by kids linky

  14. I'm so glad that I'm following you! My daughter wants to be Alice for Halloween so this is perfect. Thanks so much for the inspiration:)


  15. Oh my gosh, that's just too cute! I love those giant cards too :-) Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  16. This is wonderful! My best friend's grandmother made a dress like this for my Alice in Wonderland Wedding. :)

  17. Beautiful!
    This is a really lovely outfit :)

  18. Hi Pam,
    This is so cute! We just had a big Alice in Wonderland Tea Party. I would love it you would share this on Super Sweet Sunday @ I might make this for Halloween. Have a great weekend

  19. Oh Pam,.. it turned out so cute!! I love the little dress and the apron is the perfect thing to make it Alice!! Thanks so much for partying with me this week.:)

  20. Beautiful dress for the tea party Pam - and so nice that it's a dress up that can be worn again as regular clothes. Great tute for the apron too!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  21. Lovely work, you have captured Alice perfectly.
    Visiting Via Sew Country Chick link up

  22. This is so pretty Pam, and so well made it doesn't look like a costume. I'm sure this little girl will wear it a lot!

  23. Thanks for linking up to my party! I wanted to let you know I picked your link to feature this week! See my post and grab my feature button here

  24. That's so cute!! Very well made! Thank you for linking up at The Little Giggler!

  25. Love it! What a great idea for a party. I can't wait to use it. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

  26. This is an awesome Alice in Wonderland costume! You did an amazing job on it. Thank you so much for linking up at Artsy Corner!

  27. Wow, what a cute costume! You did a fantastic job!!
    So glad you shared this at Artsy Corner!

  28. Very cute, this would be the perfect costume party dress.

  29. Marilyn G, my apologies for deleting your lovely comment. Somehow it was mixed in with spam comments. Thanks for stopping by...

    Very cute and easy to do. I love the way you give directions, best I have seen ,I love the pictures to. Great job

  30. Yes, it is a lovely Alice apron; but I would add a ruffle at the bottom and on the straps. Pre gathered eyelet would be easy.

    1. One of my readers did just that and her apron was gorgeous!

  31. I have just made the apron, thank you so much for your great instructions.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Lou. I'd love to see pics.

  32. Replies
    1. I don't have a pattern, just the tutorial on this page.

  33. I'm not a good sewer and am slowly teaching myself. This was very easy to follow and it looks exactly the same.

    1. I'm so pleased you found the tutorial easy to follow. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. Have fun with your future sewing.


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