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Dress A Girl Around The World sewing bee

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just the dresses 600 

We made dresses, ate cake, drank tea ( and some wine ) and had a thoroughly lovely day – what’s not to like about a Dress A Girl Around The World sewing bee ?

As readers of this blog will know, I got involved with Dress A Girl Around The World, through Louise who runs the project in the UK, a few months ago. Her website can be found here and the Facebook page here.  So far, I have become a mild obsessive making 12 dresses myself and finding  fellow partners in crime in the Twitter posse #stitchingsisters. I have also entertained (erm……… I ike to think so anyway, maybe they were just too polite to say) friends and colleagues with tales of my dress making endeavours.



The upshot was, that a few people expressed an interest in making some dresses themselves but felt a bit unsure about how exactly to go about it, and thus the idea of a Stickytarts sewing bee was born !

Despite the weather forecast being for rain, Tuesday actually started nice and bright, and Hannah and Chris arrived  11ish bearing huge amounts of ribbon (in the case of Hannah) and a solid 70’s Singer sewing machine and a gorgeous cake (in the case of the latter). More on that cake later. Chris also brought fabric, duvets, sheets and pillowcases. She has been scouring charity shops and fabric stalls ever since she decided that she was going to be part of Dress A Girl Around The World – and once she gets going, she gets going.

I had set up the kitchen table, using an old sheet due to lack of tablecloths – I know unbelievable for someone who sews a lot – to protect it, and laid out chalks, rulers and other necessities. I also set up my sewing machine there and the ironing board nearby, although the overlocker was left in the studio for people to use. The studio is not that big, so we were never going to squeeze three people and all the equipment in there. The living room carpet was set aside for cutting out – which lead to a memorable moment of the day in which someone shouted ( mentioning no names ) “Steph does this chalk come out of carpets ?”. I am pleased to say it does.

I briefly explained the process to my two eager pupils and showed them some finished dresses,  and as we were using the serger (i.e. overlocker) version of the pillow case dress tutorial I also demoed the overlocker to them. They approached the overlocker with some trepidation but were soon flying ! With a little input from myself at each of the different stages, dresses were soon taking shape.

Given that Chris had not been near a sewing machine in over a decade, and Hannah is a relative novice to sewing, this was a real achievement.

Apart from a few mishaps, such as armholes being sewn shut (always have a seam ripper handy !), two dresses had been made by lunchtime.

Chriss first dress and cat 600-horz

As per usual the cat and Gilbert the gnome had to get in on the act !

Lunchtime was a gorgeous affair of home made cake and tea/coffee, served using vintage crockery, in the beautifully sunny garden. The cake had a secret ingredient which Chris asked us to guess – we didn’t manage ……. and it was PARSNIP ! I am currently trying to get the recipe out of Chris, so watch this blog for the recipe (hopefully).



No rest for the wicked though, and judging by the gossip that was generated during the day we are at least all slightly wicked, and it was back to work.  This time the ladies made the dresses by themselves and I was ensuring refreshments were kept up ( I even managed to sneak in a little wine for everyone ) and helping as needed. By the time the next two dresses were made it was 4 o’clock, but Chris was so keen that she quickly cut out another three dresses, overlocked the edges and chose ribbon, so that she could take the fabric away with her and make them up at home. I also heard later that day that the overlocker she had bought from a friend and we had been trying to get to work, had been booked in for service/repair so that she can really get going on the project !

hard at work combined


By 4.30 ( the original plan was to finish at two, but we had too much fun ) we were tired but happy, feeling that we had really achieved something, and making plans for a bigger sewing bee and our next little meeting in which we are going to tackle pockets and embellishments for the dresses. Hannah has quite a few contacts in the crafting and charity world ( and does a lot of charity work herself ) so will hopefully be able to put me in touch with people who can help a bigger sewing bee happen.  Speaking of Hannah, she is also the graphic designer who designed the Stickytarts logo - her website will be up and running soon so I shall provide a link when it goes live.


all the dresses 600

New dresses had been made, a great day had by everyone, I had been able to pass my knowledge onto two more people, Chris was confident with a sewing machine again, and Hannah had learned some new sewing skills and techniques.   So, why not organise a Dress A Girl Around the World sewing bee yourself  ? It’s fun and you will gain a real sense of achievement from the day. If you would like to be a part of the next sewing bee, can help with venues, loan of machines, donate fabric, etc. then please get in touch.


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  1. Wow what an amazing day. Looks like you had a great time! x

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