This little puffball bunny outfit has VELCRO® Brand fastenings on the straps to make it easier for little ones to get the dress on and off when playing dress up. But really who is going to want to take it off!

This outfit consists of two tube like dresses, one inner and one outer. The outer one is bigger in both width and length so that when it is gathered and sewn onto the inner dress it puffs out like a cute little bunny rabbit’s body.

To make the step by step photographs clearer we’ve used a contrasting fabric to make the inner dress but the whole dress works just as well using another two pieces of the grey mar fabric. If you don’t want to use sweatshirt material then choose something that has a bit of body to it, is stretchy and doesn’t fray.

Difficulty level intermediate - experienced.

You will need: (depending on measurements)

 - Approximately 3/4m of grey marl sweatshirt material or similar for the outer dress 25 cm of white fleece or felt

 - 1/2m t-shirt material or similar for the inner dress

 - Scissors

 - Sewing machine

 - Pins

Begin by working out the measurements for the dress. The measurements here were for a dress from the model who is 4 years old. Your measurements will differ but the main aim is to create two pattern pieces that look like they are in similar ratio to the diagram below. The inner dresses measurements are the most important as the outer dress size can vary - it will just mean your final bunny body will be more or less puffy. 

For the inner dress:

First measure your child around their chest just below their armpits divide this measurement in half and add 5cm to allow for seam allowance, this is measurement A. Add another 10cm for the width of the bottom of the dress this is measurement B. Also measure the length from the middle of their chest to where you would like the dress to finish approx. mid-thigh, this is measurement C. On a piece of paper draw a shape using these measurements. Curve the top of the shape down at each side so it looks like the one in the diagram below.

For the outer dress:

Use the same measurements as before but add 16cm to measurement A, 10cm to B and 32cm to C. Draw another template piece that looks like the diagram.

For the straps:

Hold the inner dress pattern piece up to your child and then measure how long the straps need to be to overlap the front and the back of the dress by roughly 5cm. Cut a template pic that is this measurement by 7cm.

Using the templates cut out 2 inner dress pieces, 2 outer dress pieces, 4 star pieces and finally an oval bunny tummy approximately 28 x 21 cm.

To make the straps:

Take two of the strap pieces and pin right sides together. At one end draw a curve. It is best to create a template for this so both straps match.

Machine sew the strap together leaving the small straight edge unsewn. After sewing carefully trim away any excess material and snip a few notches around the curve. Then turn right side out, press and repeat with the other strap.

To make the inner dress:

Pin the two lining pieces right sides together down each side. Machine sew together then trim away any excess fabric

To make the outer dress:

Pin the tummy piece to the middle of one piece of the grey fabric. Use a zigzag stitch to machine sew the tummy in place.

Take the two dress outer pieces and place right sides together, pin along the two side edges then sew.

To gather the outer dress:

Keeping the outer dress right sides facing sew all around its top edge two parallel rows of stitching about 5mm and 1.5cm in from the edge. If you have it use a stronger thread, set your machine to its longest stitch length and don’t back stitch at the beginning and ends. Leave long lengths of thread at each end. Repeat around the base of the dress.

 

At the top of the dress take one of the threads from one of the rows of stitching and pull gently, the stitches should start to gather up, keep going till the top of the outer dress is as wide as the top of the inner dress and the gathers are even. Repeat with the lower row of stitches. NB: You can do this with just one row of stitches but the second row stabilise the gather and helps keep it in place.

Repeat with the two rows of stitching around the base of the dress, gathering the fabric tilt is as wide as the base of the inner dress.

Place the outer dress (still right sides facing) tummy down onto a flat surface. Take the two straps and place them on to the dress so the curved ends are facing down the dress towards the bottom hem. Place them approximately 10cm apart from the middle (this is a good time to try the dress on your child to make sure the straps are in the right place.) Make sure about 2cm of fabric is sticking up beyond the top of the dress, then pin in place.

Carefully insert the outer dress into the inner dress lining the side seams up. Also line up the inner and outer dress top edges all around and then pin in place.

Machine sew around the top of the dress, sew approximately 2cm down from the edge of the fabric so you sew beyond the two rows of gathering stitches. Keeping right sides facing trim away any excess fabric.

Turn the dress right sides out (the two straps will pop out!) and then manipulate the fabric till the inner dress is inside the outer dress, line up the top edge so you can’t really see the inner dress. Press with an iron to keep this edge crisp.

At the bottom of the dress begin pinning the edge of the inner dress to the edge of the outer dress - remember the outer dress is longer than the inner dress so you will be pulling the inner dress down slightly to line the two edges up. Pin around the whole dress. Then machine sew. Again sew approx. 2cm in from the edge of the dress so you avoid the double row of gathered stitching.

Carefully cut away all this excess material. You will notice that you have a raw seam edge on the right side of the dress, but as this will be hidden by the excess outer dress material it’s not too much of a problem.

 

Once again manipulate the fabric so the top edges of the dress are aligned, the bottom of the dress will now be pulled up by the inner dress and the puffball effect will be created.

Take a 10cm strip of VELCRO® Brand Stick on for Fabric hook and press in place on the underside of one of the straps. Cut a 5cm strip of the loop and press into place on the dress. (A longer strip on the underside of the strap means you are able to adjust the straps when the dress is worn.)

To make the tail:

Using VELCRO® Brand Stick On For Fabrics Tape to join the tail to the dress means it can be removed if it’s a bit uncomfortable when sitting down!

Cut 10 circles of white fleece approximately 14cm in diameter. 

Fold each circle into quarters and either machine or hand sew a couple of stitches at the point of each circle to hold the layers in place.

Place 4 of the folded circles together to form a circle. Hand stitch these together. Repeat with 4 more circles then place one set on top of another and sew in place.

Take the final two folded circles and sew to the top of the stack, open each circle out a little to create a nice fluffy tail. 

Place a cross of VELCRO® Brand Stick On For Fabrics hook onto the back of the tail and the loop side to the back of the dress, then fix the two together.