Letting go of creative control

I asked my daughter to draw on the bottom of this tunic dress...the process was a fine line between giving her artistic freedom and getting the effect I was after. I limited her colour palette and gave instructions to draw and not colour-in (originally I was planning to embellish the drawings with fabric remnants, but I have decided to leave it as-is).

Here are some close-ups of the hem.

Lucky it was a quick project, because she stood over me whilst I did my bit at the sewing machine. She wore it this afternoon, layered over her winter clothes. She is a natural at "layering", mostly because she likes the prettiest item to be on top where everyone can see it. This principle even extends to wearing her bikini on the outside of her swim shirt!

The pattern is from Burda WOF 4/2008 140, contributed by Paris designer Barbara Lang. It is a very simple pattern, with the back the same as the front. Instead of using facings, I used 2 layers of fabric to make the dress, with the bottom layer extended ~10 cm longer than the tunic pattern. For this bottom 10 cm I felled the side seams, so that no raw edges showed on the outside. The pictures were drawn with Crayola fabric markers.


  1. I think that is the cutiest thing I have seen in a while. She must have been so proud to wear her artwork on a garment that was made so well!

  2. What a sweet little touch! You can see how proud she was to add her touch - on the lovely dress you made her - by her lovely drawings.

    It's really really lovely.

  3. What a fabulous collaboration. I can fully understand wanting to wear the prettiest item on the outside, and this must be high up on her list, it is gorgeous.

  4. what a great idea! I've never considered using a wide hem for artwork before. I think I'm going to take a sharpie to my next skirt. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Now I want to copy your idea for a couple of my nieces. Your daughter did a great job - as did her mom!

  6. Very cute. Glad to see your are encouraging creativity! I have just discovered your blog and I really love your work, particularly your shirt dress which has just made it onto my to do list!

  7. The drawing are just really cool! What are great idea to let her do this!

  8. Hi Katherine,

    Congratulations! You were drawn out for the Cue-tee Japanese cotton.

    It will go in the post this week. Can I post it to the same address I have ?

    Have a great day,

  9. oooo this is such a fab idea!
    My son would love to do something similar his always collaborating with me on the stuff I sew for him

    Ive done similar stuff with my preschool class we used fabric crayons and they decorated some simple tote bags for chrissy presents
    they loved them!

    great idea!