How to Make a Child's Southern Belle Costume: 13 Steps
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Dress up a regular tea party with beautiful Southern Belle costumes.

Your little munchkin will be as pretty as a Georgia peach in this Southern Belle costume. It will provide her with hours of trick-or-treat fun, make her the fashion diva of the preschool and help her travel to her imaginary world of tea parties and genteel ladies. The best part – each piece of the costume can be used separately or together for endless hours of dress up fun. Don't shy away from the project if you're not a crafty mama -- the costume is easy, even if you have two left hands when it comes to sewing.


  1. 1
    Measure around your little gal's waist and multiply the measurement by 2 to 2 1/2, depending on how ruffled you'd like the skirt. Measure from her waist to her knees, multiply by 2 and add an inch. Now you've got the measurements for the first tier of the skirt. Draw the measurements on your satin, organza or chiffon fabric and cut out the shape.
  2. 2
    Measure from your little gal's waist to her ankles (or a little bit further if you want the dress longer). Multiply the length by 2 and add an inch. Now you have the measurements for the second tier of the skirt. Draw these measurements on the same type of fabric as the first tier and cut out the shape.
  3. 3
    Fold each tier in half to reduce the length. Sew along the folded edge of each tier individually with elastic thread. Do not sew along the rough edges of the fabric.
  4. 4
    Measure around the rough edge and cut two pieces of ribbon for each tier (because you have sewn along the folded edge of each tier, you have two rough edges for each tier). You can use the same size ribbon for each rough edge or mix it up with different widths.
  5. 5
    Fold each piece of ribbon lengthwise and iron along each fold to crease the ribbons. Slide one rough fabric edge between the fold of one of the folded ribbons. Pin the ribbon in place and sew all the way around to attach. Repeat with each rough edge of both tiers.
  6. 6
    Have your little gal try on one of her regular little cotton sundresses. Slide the longer tier over top of the dress and then slide the shorter tier over the top.
  7. 7
    Cut a 36- to 48-inch long piece of the same fabric in a different color. Make the fabric at least 10 inches wide. Fold about 1/4 inch over around each edge and then fold over another 1/4 inch around each edge again. (This makes nice, smooth edges with no evidence of the rough cut showing.) Sew along each of the double-folded edges.
  8. 8
    Wrap the fabric around your munchkin's waist and tie it in a bow at the back of her waist. This covers up the top of the skirt's tiers and adds embellishment to the costume. Now, each piece of the skirt remains separate, so you can use them individually for other costumes, as well. You're almost done now – the end is in sight!
  9. 9
    Have your little gal stand with her arms against her sides and measure around her body, just below the top of her shoulders. Multiply the measurement by 1 1/2 and cut another 10-inch-wide piece of fabric for the costume.
  10. 10
    Fold over 1/4 inch along one long rough edge and then fold over 1/4 inch again. Sew along these edges to make a nice clean edge.
  11. 11
    Cut one more piece of ribbon to the length of the fabric, fold it in half and iron along the fold. Slide the rough edge of the fabric in between the ribbon's fold and sew all the way around.
  12. 12
    Sew along the opposite long edge with the elastic thread and when you come to the end pull the elastic until the fabric is just a little bit longer than the last circumference measurement.
  13. 13
    Slide the new ruffle over your little gal and line up the top, finished edge of the fabric with the top edge of the sundress. You can leave the ruffle like this, sew it to the top of the sundress or sew in a section of hook and loop fabric fastener to add or remove the ruffle any time you want. Voila – a costume for your little Southern Belle. Add a wide-brimmed sunhat or derby hat to complete the ensemble.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing tape measure
  • 3 yards fabric (organza, satin or chiffon)
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic thread
  • Ribbon (different widths ranging from 1/2-inch to 2-inch)
  • Sewing pins
  • Wide brimmed sunhat or derby hat

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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