The Minnie Mouse Dress
A little over a year ago, I met a great family out at the trapeze rig where I fly. Unlike many parents who won’t let anyone touch their babies, especially strangers, Mark and Natasha were always willing and happy to let me spend time with their daughter, Piper. I fell absolutely in love with her because she is amazing.
Unbeknownst to me, at the very time I was falling in love with their little girl, I was working on growing one of my own! Coincidentally, Natasha had a new little girl on the way too. (Our girls were born two days apart this past May.) Needless to say, we became fast friends – spending time together at the rig, having each other over for dinners, and taking long weekends down the shore. With each visit, I fell a little more in love with their sweet girl, so when I received the invitation to her Disney-themed 2nd birthday party in the mail, I knew I wanted to make her something special.
Piper’s favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and she especially loves Minnie. I decided Piper needed her very own Minnie Mouse dress. I googled “Minnie Mouse Disney Clubhouse” and found this image to help me plan the dress. I assumed I would be able to google “Minnie Mouse Dress DIY” and find instructions for making something similar, but I didn’t.
There were plenty of adorable Minnie Mouse DIY dress ideas, but none of them did it for me. There was this pillow dress from Positively Splendid which I think is adorable, but not what I was going for. (It did inspire me to add the Minnie silhouette though.) Holy Jeans and My Favorite Things did a terrific Minnie Mouse costume round-up which had a few cute dresses too, (don’t miss this one), but again, not what I was going for.
I wanted a dress like the dress Minnie is wearing in the above image. Butterfly collar, big white button, cute little puffy sleeves, and a polka dot skirt. It was time to hit the pattern books.
I found Simplicity 2989, an “Inspired by Project Runway” pattern which includes a variety of dress pattern pieces that you can fashion together to create your own dress design. I noticed one of the suggested designs (top left) and realized it would work perfectly.
For the dress construction I simply followed the pattern instructions, using the appropriate fabrics for each section of the dress. I lined the top bodice in black and added a built-in slip under the skirt using some liner fabric I had laying about.
The embroidered Minnie Mouse silhouette is my favorite detail. To create this I used my Brother SE400 embroidery sewing machine. Since I don’t own software to create custom embroidery images (It’s really pricey), I downloaded a trial version of SewArt (PC only) and used a free Disney font to create a .pdf that I could convert to .jpg and eventually to a .pes file for the machine. (If anyone wants more details on how I did this – just write a comment and I’ll oblige.) I embroidered it in pink on the black fabric, then printed out a silhouette of Mickey to use as a template to cut around the text. I used a tight satin zigzag stitch to put it on the skirt and added a polka dot bow. Ta-da. 🙂
Materials: (I purchased the following materials at Jo-Anns and capitalized on a few coupons) 1.5 yds pink polka dot fabric, 1/2 yd each of hot pink, black and white cotton fabrics,1 roll of shocking pink grossgrain ribbon, 1 giant white button, various threads in pink and black, and some lining fabric
Time: This dress took me probably around 12 hours if I am honest. Between figuring out which pattern pieces to cut, finding a creative way to work around my lack of software, and figuring out how to do things I’ve never done before like installing an invisible zipper and turning a collar… it took a while.
Good to know: When installing an invisible zipper that is too long for your garment… don’t snip the top of the zipper and then zip it so you pull off the zipper pull like an idiot or you will have to rip out that perfectly sewn invisible zipper and put another one in. Arg.
I was so excited to give Piper the dress on her birthday, but by the time I did… she was an un-napped, cake filled, exhausted, over-stimulated toddler. I could have given her a purple pony and don’t think she would have had the presence to notice. I left knowing Natasha appreciated the gesture and hoped at some point I’d see a picture of Piper in the dress. As you can imagine, my heart exploded with joy when a text arrived with four attached photos of Piper looking happy and so freaking cute in her brand new pink-polka-dot Minnie Mouse dress with matching bow.