Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sports Day Dress: A Bimaa Pattern Hack!

Sports Day at school was on Friday, and it was really a lot of fun.  Both kids were on the Green Team, which means that both kids had to wear a long-sleeved green top.  No problem for the boy--green is his favorite color, and he had several shirts to choose from in his wardrobe.  But Little Sister never wears green (unless she's dressed like Tinkerbell), and therefore I had an excuse to try out my brand new Bimaa Sweater pattern from LouBee Clothing!

However, the girl also pretty much only wears dresses, and requested a short dress with pockets that she could run in for Sports Day.  So I adjusted the Bimaa into this cute, sporty tunic dress that was perfect for all of her activities!

I sewed the shawl collar option in a soft green jersey (literally the only green knit fabric I could find in Nippori last Monday--note to self, do NOT go fabric shopping on a national holiday in Japan!) trimmed with a white knit with a rainbow weave in it from Girl Charlee.  My daughter is 4.5, and usually wears a size 4 in RTW. I wanted the dress to last a while, so I cut out a size 5 but used the size 4 for the wrist cuffs to make sure the sleeves stayed up off of her hands.

To extend the top into this dress, I cut a gentle curve in the front bodice piece.  At center, the bottom edge of the bodice curve was 2.5 inches from the neckline, and it curved down to 3.75 inches away from the bottom of the armhole at the side seam.  

For the back bodice, I just cut it off straight across at the same spot as the lowest part of the curve, so that they matched at the side seam.  Like I said, this was 3.75 inches from the bottom of the armhole at the side seam.  

I have done this style of half-circle pockets before, using this tutorial.  I think they are just darling, and a fun way to showcase another fabric.  This time I didn't add an accent color, so I just topstitched the opening to keep it neat.  Just make sure that your pocket fabric isn't too see-through, since there's only one layer there.  

The fun thing about this dress was the shape of the skirt. I actually cut it wider at the top than at the bottom to get the gather at the bodice seam and the sweatshirt look at the bottom.  For the band, I used the band from the Bimaa pattern but I cut it about 2 sizes larger than the size I cut for the bodice.

When cutting out the front skirt panel, I mimicked the curve I had cut into the bodice, but cut the top of the skirt wider than the bodice so I could get a little bit of gather.  I added about an inch while it was on the fold, so the skirt front was a total of 2 inches wider than the bodice (14 inches wide total for mine).  Then I narrowed the skirt back in slightly towards the hem, so that the bottom of the skirt was about the same as the width of the bodice.  My skirt was 12 inches long from side seam to the bottom (then I added the band which gave it a little more length).  

I put in the pockets first on the front skirt panel, then gathered the top to fit the bodice, pinned, and sewed it to the finished bodice piece.  For the back piece, since I wasn't dealing with the curve, I just stretched the bodice piece while I sewed the skirt on, which worked fine. It seems that I unintentionally cut the back skirt piece a little narrower as well, so there wasn't as much extra fabric anyway.

For the rest of the assembly, I just followed the Bimaa pattern directions, which are so great and easy to follow.

Here are some action shots from Sports Day--Go Green Team!

Jumbo Stackers

Zig Zag Course

Some of our own sports action

And the amazing thing to me was that she chose to wear the green dress the day AFTER Sports Day as well!  We'll see if this pink-and-purple girl will give it any more chances as time goes by, but for now I will call it a success!

I almost forgot--I'm linking this up to the Sew and Show over at StraightGrain this week!  I could win a prize if I get the most clicks, so visit the Sew and Show by clicking the button in the sidebar or THIS LINK and click on Little Sister's picture!


  1. Eloise wants this exact dress now. It is adorable. Also she said "I want to meet up with iris again. Why is she in Japan? Is there a zoo we can go to there?" A rather expensive trip to the zoo. ;)

    1. The zoos here are pretty cool...probably not enough to justify a plane ticket though! Although the fabric shopping could balance it out! I bet the girls would have a great time together now. And I wholeheartedly endorse the Bimaa pattern--I'm getting ready to sew up a third one this weekend! It goes up to a size 12 and has lots of variations so I know I'll sew lots of them.

  2. This is so cool. I shamelessly coped your idea and made a similar (less professional looking) version for my little lady. Such a great way to adapt the Bimaa pattern!


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