Thursday, May 23, 2013

knock it off - mini boden

Heidi from Elegance & Elephants is hosting a series this month called Knock it Off.

 Elegance & Elephants

For anyone who doesn't know what the series is about, a bunch of great designers choose outfits to imitate and then share on their blogs how they created the items.  Here's some of my favorite knock offs so far this month:

Mini Boden skirt by Sweeter Than Cupcakes

Color Pop Top by you & mie

Bulle de Savon dress by Sewing Like Mad

Plus there are lots of others to see on the flickr group!


I have always loved reading blog posts where an "everyday person" (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) knocks off something expensive ... often better than the original!  It amazes me that designer name brands can charge so much money for something that can be recreated by me ... and I am definitely an everyday person :)  So, here's my knock off for today - the chambray sun dress from Mini Boden:

I had to make a few changes to make the dress a bit more 1-year-old friendly :)  I used a slightly higher bodice than the original because toddler bellies and longer bodices don't always go together!  I also used three stripes on the skirt instead of four because I thought it looked better.  My color choices were dictated by supplies on hand because I've learned that two sick kids does not equal a trip to the fabric store :(  I was slightly short on fabric too so I fudged my pattern a little to use up all the bits and pieces.  Regardless of any changes made ... or perhaps because of them ... I love how this dress turned out!

I really winged it as I designed and sewed this.  I started with a basic bodice pattern that fits Mae well.  I drew a curve across the top of the pattern and used that to draft both the bodice and the collar.  The back of the bodice is a simple rectangle.  Because this dress is made in a smallish size (18-24 months), I was able to combine the front and back bodice pieces before cutting to make the finished bodice from one pattern piece. The stripes on the original dress appear to made of bias cut fabric, but I wanted to make it a little easier on myself, so I used grosgrain ribbon.  I drew straight lines and used a narrow zigzag stitch to attach the ribbon to the skirt before I attached it to the bodice.  Just a tip: when attaching grosgrain ribbon, the iron should be your best friend :)  It creates a much neater finished product.

The back of the dress is actually rather simple.  It closes all the way down the back with pink buttons sewn on with navy contrasting thread.  By some fluke, two of the buttons line up perfectly with two of the rows of ribbons.  I love it when that happens!

The toughest part of the entire dress was getting the straps right.  I must have basted those things on to the bodice 5-6 times before I finally got them right.  Mae has tiny baby shoulders so straps seem to just slide right off of her.  In fact, she takes advantage of that all the time to strip her clothes right off whenever possible!  I was lucky she left this dress on all the way through pictures :)

I attached the buttons using this technique again, and I love it even more on this dress.  It just gives it that little something extra!  The total cost for this dress was actually $0 (free yay!) since I had all the materials on hand.  You certainly can't beat that!  However, I imagine it would cost less than $15 even if all the materials were purchased brand new, which is still significantly cheaper than the $48 price to buy it from Boden :)

Fabric - Blue Chambray I've had for years (has a lovely sheen)
Buttons - Pink plastic from Joann's
Piping - Pink Crocus mini piping (purchased many years ago)
Ribbon - Offray grosgrain in red, pink and navy


  1. That is seriously one awesome knock off!! Ridiculous the prices they charge for kids clothes... although it's either really cheap and poorly made or really expensive and still not made much better! :)

    1. Thanks Jacinta! I agree that kids clothes can be really expensive, yet I still find myself buying the cute ones :)

  2. oh, this is too cute! What a terrific knock-off - so skillfully done! Love your color choices as well:)

  3. Wow!! This is great! You have a way with piping, lady! It's perfect!

  4. This dress came out spot on!!! You did a perfect job! I love Mini Boden!