One of my friends has three daughters, and her youngest is a year older than my oldest daughter. She often brings us bags of hand-me-downs. One thing this family is known for is the adorable and/or beautiful dresses they have. They have a set of matching dresses, of which the youngest has worn all three. My daughters are done with one of them now, too, so I’m going to make my friend a tote bag out of it!
The size of dress I used is about 2T (it’s homemade, so there’s no size on it). When choosing which dress you’ll make into a bag you want to give some thought to what size you want. Making a bag out of an infant dress is only practical if you know what kind of thing you are going to put in it. Maybe an infant sized dress will make a perfect purse for a toddler aged girl. But if you want it to hold clothes or books you’ll need it to be more like 2T. Before you start making the tote try putting some things inside the dress to see if it’s a good size. Remember that when we hem the bottom you’ll lose some space, but we won’t do anything to the sides, so that measurement won’t change. I don’t have pictures for every step, but the steps without pictures should be super easy to understand!
- Sewing Machine (and thread, scissors, pins, etc.)
- Sleeveless Baby Dress
- Webbing for straps
- Turn the darling little dress inside out. Cut the top of the straps off to make two open holes on each former strap.
2. Lay the dress flat and line up the bottom edges together. Remember to keep the dress inside-out. Turn over the hem and pin.
3. With your sewing machine sew the bottom hem.
4. Cut your webbing to the desired length. Remember to think about who it’s for. If it’s for a child to bring her piano books to her lessons it will need to be shorter than if it’s for an adult to bring her choir folder to rehearsals. I pinned mine in and then tried putting it on my shoulder. I wanted to be able to one-hand it onto my shoulder. I think my friend will probably give it to one of her daughters (in which case they can wear it over their shoulder), but I wanted it to fit her, just in case she wanted to keep it for herself.
5. Fold in the raw edge of the dress strap so it creates a hem. Insert each end of the webbing into the holes of the strap. One webbing goes into each opposite strap so the bag opens more easily, i.e. one webbing will go into the the straps on the front of the dress, and one webbing will go into the straps on the back of the dress.
6. Sew the top of the dress strap with your sewing machine. Stay as close to the webbing as you can so those loose edges of the dress don’t pull apart.
7. Turn dress right side out. That’s it! You’re done! You’ve turned a memorable dress into something practical and usable. Aren’t you happy with yourself?
I just love these adorable baby dress tote bags. So, before you hand down your hand-me-downs, be sure to pick one that that you vividly remember your daughter wearing and turn it into a memory tote. It would be such a wonderful way to keep a Christening Gown or a Baby Dedication Dress! Maybe you could offer to make these for people in your congregation! Let me know who you’re going to make your baby dress tote bag for!
If you’re looking for more practical sewing projects here at But First We Craft be sure to check out this brilliant way to salvage leggings!