Puffed Sleeves and Pretty Dresses

One of my favorite books from my childhood is Anne of Green Gables. I was overjoyed when the mini-series by Sullivan Entertainment came out, and watched it rapturously with my sister. Everyone has their favorite Anne moments, and one of mine was when Anne revealed her love of pretty dresses. Or more specifically, puffed sleeves.

Now that I am looking over this passage below, I think that Anne's conversation with Marilla is one that I could conceivably have with my own daughters -- though I don't think I am as strict as Marilla when it comes to practicality or sensibility based on the number of twirly dresses I have made for my girls, ha:

"Oh, I can see you don't like the dresses! What is the matter with them? Aren't they neat and clean and new?"


"Then why don't you like them?"

"They're--they're not--pretty," said Anne reluctantly.

"Pretty!" Marilla sniffed. "I didn't trouble my head about getting pretty dresses for you. I don't believe in pampering vanity, Anne, I'll tell you that right off. Those dresses are good, sensible, serviceable dresses, without any frills or furbelows about them, and they're all you'll get this summer. The brown gingham and the blue print will do you for school when you begin to go. The sateen is for church and Sunday school. I'll expect you to keep them neat and clean and not to tear them. I should think you'd be grateful to get most anything after those skimpy wincey things you've been wearing."

"Oh, I am grateful," protested Anne. "But I'd be ever so much gratefuller if--if you'd made just one of them with puffed sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now. It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves."

from Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 11

Now these are some sleeves, aren't they! They were actually the reason why I bought the pattern in the first place. The pattern is called the Karen Dress (カレンワンピース) from Muni Patterns, a Japanese pattern company. It is the first pattern I have tried from this company, and I like it enough that this is my second time using the pattern. The first time I made it, I sewed the dress, HERE. For this version, I just made the top. I found the way the skirt was attached to the dress to be a bit too bulky for my taste. That said, I will probably try another pattern from this company. (They make Ladies patterns, too.) Unfortunately, I don't think they accept international orders.

Gosh, this photo is terrible. The pleats look a total mess, but this is the only close-up I managed to get of the sleeves while my daughter was dancing around, and of course I didn't think to arrange the pleats so they look as nice as they did when I first sewed them. I am sure that if you make the right size for your child, the pleats won't look as bunched up as they do here. 

I forgot to mention above that it is a paper pattern with the seam allowance included, and for the price listed on the site, you are getting just one size. (Being the cheapo that I am, I bought the next size up for my daughter rather than her current size.) There are instructions for making the dress as well as a flutter-sleeve t-shirt and skirt combination. I made the puffed-sleeve t-shirt and lengthened it a bit, though you can't see it because it's tucked into the skirt, doh! I found the instructions clear and easy-to-follow, especially with the help of the illustrations (they are hand-drawn, just so you know). There are helpful notches and indications on the pattern pieces, too.

The skirt is the Magnolia Skirt pattern from E & E Patterns. I "purchased" it during one of the promotions when it was being offered as a free download. I said, "Yipee!" and promptly printed it out. I knew my daughter would love how swingy it is. Perfect for dancing around. As you can see. 

Now for the fabric. Which comes first? The pattern or the fabric? Ahhhh, that's a tough one. I have to admit that one of my favorite parts of sewing is choosing the right fabric. And let's be honest here. When I comes to Nosh Organics, I just want to sew everything. Hahaha. I mean, look at all the goodies! 

When I first received these fabrics (I knew I wanted to use the PYRY polka dots and the solid jersey together), I wavered a bit. Should I make another dress? But my girls don't reeeeally need any more dresses. Should I make loungewear? But that hasn't proven very popular with them yet. Should I be selfish and make something for myself? (Believe me, I was so tempted!) In the end, I figured separates would get a lot of wear, especially during the school year. 

One more thing before I go. Thanks to Mie, who has made this gorgeous dress using the PYRY fabric, I was introduced to the joys of sewing with Nosh ribbing. Let me just say that it was one of those movie moments where the skies opened up and I heard singing. I am never going back. You must try it. (This picture again reminds me to try to sew my daughter's actual size one of these days!)

A big thank you to Nosh for their beautiful fabric! 


  1. That's such a pretty outfit, go the puffy sleeves and the blue Nosh fabric is perfect!

    1. Thank you, Thao! The puff sleeves are pretty fun, aren't they ;) And I have nothing but heart eyes for Nosh fabric, too!

  2. Very cute outfit. Love the colours. I'd be intrigued to see a photograph of the sleeve pattern piece.

    1. Thank you, Shelley! Yes, that sleeve pattern piece was a bit intimidating at first glance. Sort of like a soft serve ice cream cone, if that makes sense. But the markings on the piece (and the illustrations) made it easy to pleat.

  3. Muhahaha I'm so happy that I managed to add another member to the mad-about-ribbing club. This outfit is SO good Emi. Lucky lucky girl. And I LOVED Anne from Green Gables too as a child. I just showed my girls the new Anne from GG series from Netflix and I'm happy to say that they loved it too, phew.

    1. Thank you so much, Mie! And yes, I am a member for life of that club, now, hahaha. I haven't yet watched the new Anne series, but I am looking forward to watching it with my girls one day!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Daisy! I'm quite a fan of them myself now :)

  5. of course girl's outfits have to be pretty! I can imagine myself having the same conversation hahahaha The outfit looks lovely! Well done for sure! Remember when we used almost non-stretch knits when we first started sewing them? hehe

    1. Thank you, Jenya! You always seem to get me (high-five to that!). And hahaha, yes, I definitely remember when we used nearly non-stretch knits. Interlock knit, right? It's a great way to ease into sewing with knits for sure!


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