Uncluttering Through Crafting: Easter/Earth Day Dresses!

Two years ago, I started the tradition of making Easter dresses for my girls.  At that time, I had a bunch of leftover white satin.  I invented a pattern on the fly and my tiny girls looked like little angels.  The dresses came out so well, helped me get rid of excess fabric that would otherwise be thrown out or donated, cost nothing and exercised my creativity that I decided to try again the next year.  I didn’t have any traditional Easter fabrics last year so one daughter was in a Victorian-style dress made from leftover yellow satin lining with white puffy sleeves from scraps of white linen and the other daughter in a dolman-sleeve khaki knit dress with a red fabric rose.  Again, they were unique dresses and I had a lot of fun making them while continuing to get rid of excess fabric.  (My husband calls this uncluttering very, very, very slowly.)

Since today is Earth Day where we all focus on the tenets of reduce, reuse, recycle, I wanted to share the results of this year’s dresses.

This year, my oldest daughter made a request.  “Mom, I want you to knit me something.”  she said.  I had not done very much knitting recently but this request reignited my interest.  In keeping with my Easter decluttering tradition, however, I decided to use yarns that I already had on hand.  I settled on some large cones of cotton yarn that have been sitting around for years!  I had four colors: red, blue, yellow and white.  Since I had to make two dresses, I needed a pattern that would work up quickly.  I found a great free pattern on the Lion Brand Yarn website for a simple knit sundress with pockets.  The pockets sold my daughter.

The pattern worked up very quickly and was really simple.  I made one dress red with yellow accents and the other blue with white accents.  After all the knitting was done, however, I discovered with horror that the dress would not fit over my daughter’s head!  it was too tight.  So, I made a little adjustment to one of the side straps to make it into a button tab.  Voila!  Problem solved.

For the second dress, I altered the neck shaping to start earlier so that I didn’t run into this problem and didn’t need the tab shoulder.

At this point, the dresses were done and were really cute, but they needed a little something to make them look more like Easter dresses.  Easter dresses generally have pinks and pastels.  My primary colors were a bit bold.  So, I did some thinking and again took a clue from my daughters who were thrilled with all the spring flowers coming up in the yard.  Knitted flowers!

There are a million patterns out there for yarn flowers.  A few are knitted, like the red rose above that came from Nicki Epstein’s wonderful book, Knitting Over the Edge.  But the really extraordinary (and quite frankly a little silly) flowers are crocheted.   The blue pansy above, the white “bluebell” below and daffodils came from Flower Garden Afghans by Carol Alexander.  Knitting purists may shudder at the combination of knit and crochet in these dresses but my girls LOVE the results.

Since the flowers are a bit over the top, I put all the flowers on safety pins so they can be removed if we want a plainer look or for washing.

It was a bit hard for my oldest daughter to wait for her dress to be done and she became impatient wanting to know why I wasn’t finished yet.  But she was a very willing model.

My other model was unavailable due to naptime so we present her dress below.

It was a ton of fun making the dresses and the look on my girl’s faces was worth all the effort!  At this point, I still had quite a bit of yarn left.

What to do with all the excess?  Read on for phase two!