Claire Williams

Make a dress for a girl in need

Claire Williams
Make a dress for a girl in need

Many poverty-stricken girls around the world have never worn a dress, let alone owned one that’s been specially made for them. You can help brighten their lives by sewing a pretty, basic sundress dress for them.

You will need:

  • Cheerfully pattered cotton fabric 106-111cm (42-44in) wide and ranging from 40-90cm (16-36in) long

  • Scissors

  • 35cm (14in) of 1cm (½in) elastic

  • 2 pieces 106-111cm (42-44in) of bias binding

  • Safety pin

  • Thread

  • Straight pins


1. Take your fabric and over lock or double-seam into a ‘tube.’

2. Lay the fabric ‘tube’ flat and cut J- shaped armholes at the top corners.

3. On the top edge of the ‘tube,’ iron down a casing for elastic by turning the cut edge under 5mm (¼in) and then another 2cm (¾in). Iron in place – it needs to be wide enough so that the elastic pieces will slide through easily. Sew close to the edge. Repeat this step for the back of the dress. You should now have a casing on both sides at the top of each side of the tube.


4. Cut 2 pieces of elastic, each 7in long. Attach a safety pin to one end of one of the cut pieces of elastic and pull it through the casing using caution not to pull it too far. Sew across each end of the casing to hold the elastic in place. Repeat this step for the other side. You should now have a gathered top on both the front and back of the dress. (Make sure you remove the safety pin).

5. Using bias binding, cut 2 pieces approximately 106cm (42in) long. These will bind the armholes and become the ties at the shoulders, so they should be long enough to tie a bow at the top.

6. Now pin the bias binding to both arm edges, centering it lengthwise so there are equal amounts on each end for shoulder ties.

7. Starting at one end of the bias binding, begin sewing the tape closed. Continue sewing, binding the edge of the armhole with the tape. Make sure you give yourself enough room to catch the edges of the tape on the inside and outside of the dress.


8. Finish off the end of the tape on the diagonal with a close zigzag stitch or tie each end with an overhand knot.

9. Fold the raw edges of the ends of the bias binding inside and when you sew along the tape. Sew to the end of the bias tape. Repeat this for the other armhole.

Special note on the ties:

Packaged bias binding is folded not quite in half lengthwise. When you get ready to sew it on, make sure the narrower half of the tape faces up. That way you will be sure you are always catching the underside of the tape, even around the curves. Beginners should sew one side at a time. Open up the bias binding and attach to armhole, then fold it over and sew again. This will ensure that the ties are attached properly with
no gaps.

Where to send:

  • Post your completed dresses to: Dress a Girl, Yours Magazine, Bauer Media, Media House, Peterborough, PE2 6EA and we will forward them onto the Dress a Girl UK ambassador.

  • For more dress patterns and information visit

  • For more charity crafts get the latest issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight, on a Tuesday!


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Make a dress for a girl in need



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