Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sewing Seeds: How to make a tee-shirt dress for a Build-a-Bear

What could be more exciting for sisters than to match each other in their tee-shirt dresses

To match their Build-a-Bears!

My girls love-love-love their Build-a-Bears. And their clothes. And their shoes. And their purses. And their ice skates. And their…well, you get the point.

They have a sensor for Build-a-Bear. If we are within a ten mile radius of the mall, the question is inevitable. “Can we go to Build-a-Bear?”

Sew So, to protect my pocket-book and to hear those squeals of delight from my girls, I make, every now and then, matching Build-a-Bear dresses.

This time they would be super-easy because they are tee-shirt dresses. I have made my own tee-shirts in the past, but, in the interest of time, I purchased a four-pack of newborn size onesies from Wal-Mart for about $7.50. For the skirt, I used the leftover fabric from the girls’ tee-shirt dresses. (Remember the dresses were too long and I had to cut several inches off the bottom?)

First, the bears tried on their onesies. I safety-pinned the spot where the skirt should attach. Each bear is stuffed a little differently, so they each tried one on.

The sticker is a name tag to keep the bears straight.

I chose to cut off the onesie (with an extra 5/8 inch for the seam) because it hung down a little long on the bear and I didn’t want the snap crotch to hang out from under the dress.

Don't throw those onesie bottoms away! There's another project coming next week.

For the bigger bears, I needed the finished skirt to be 4 inches long. So, I cut two skirt pieces 5 ½ inches long and about 15 inches wide. You can adjust the width of the piece depending on the fullness desired for the skirt.

A rolled hem
Just like the tee-shirt dresses, stitch in the side seams and over-edge for a more finished inside look. Because the skirt piece is so small, you may want to put in the simple rolled hem before the gathering stitches at the waist.

I put the gathering stitches in a little closer together for a bear dress because the skirt is so small and I don’t need a regular size seam.

Pin the skirt to the onesie and pull up the gathering stitches. Baste, and then turn the dress right-side-out to check for an even distribution of the gathers. If you are satisfied, stitch and over-edge the seam. (When attaching the skirt to the onesie, be careful of a right-side-up print for the skirt. Be sure that it will be right-side-up when the dress is right-side-out.)

Press up the seam allowance at the waist. A seam that lies flat at the waist won’t create extra bulk for the bears, and you know how figure-conscious bears can be!

Finally, drawing out their designs first, the girls used fabric paints to decorate the onesies. Fabric paints generally don’t wash well, but I figured the bears wouldn’t be spilling juice or spaghetti sauce on themselves and their dresses wouldn’t need to be washed often. J

Holly and Laura in deep concentration.

And how could the outfit be complete without a Lilla Rose flexi clip

Noelle's bear Chocolate

Total time: about 40 minutes per dress
Total cost: about $2.25 per dress (new onesie, leftover fabric and thread, fabric paint)

Happy sewing!

Have you made dresses for bears or dolls? Any suggestions for variations?

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  1. ooh what a fantastic sewing project for my daughter. Going to give this a try. I am always on the look out for simple but fun sewing projects. Thanks for following and I am following back:)

    1. It is a fun project, and a great way to use scrap. Thanks for commenting!

  2. How cute is THAT? That is awesome because the clothes at BAB are so expensive. Love it! Hopping from Life in Bloom. :)
    Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation

    1. Expensive multiplied by three daughters! And did I mention my three sons who also enjoy bears? Thanks, Mindy!

  3. Our kids just got their first bears for their birthdays - I hope to make then some more clothes!

    1. Our girls love how personal the clothing can be. Have fun sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

  4. These are adorable! We have build a bears and I would love to make homemade clothes for them! I would love for you to link this up at my Homemaking Party :).

    1. Thanks, Marcie! I'll check it out. Have fun sewing those dresses - the variations are endless!


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