3 ingenious ways to wear a dress

My daughter doesn’t always like what I make for her these days, but if I remember comfort comes first and blue comes second then I’m half way to winning her over.

Baloon Groove on Instagram

She requested (erm! last year) that I make her a Balloon Fold Dress. She doesn’t request much by way of clothes, she takes it for granted that she’ll wake up in the morning and every now and then they’ll be something new hanging in her room waiting for her.

So when I received my navy Denim College+ from Nosh (and was as tempted as ever to keep it for myself), I generously offered to make her Balloon Fold Dress out of it.

Nosh fabric never disappoints on quality, it’s a treat to sew with. But there was a minor problem.

The heavy weight of Nosh Denim College it isn’t really ideal for making summer dresses. That would be like putting ice cream in the microwave*, it just doesn’t make sense.

But it’s still pretty cold in the UK. We certainly can’t get away with a racerback quite yet. So I decided to add sleeves to the Balloon Fold Dress. Using the easiest method possible. I grabbed a long sleeve dress pattern (the Groove Dress), placed the top half of the patten over the top half of the Balloon Fold pattern and retraced the lines to create a Balloon Fold Groove. Simple!

I sewed it together as you normally would, but added some pink self made piping between the bodice and the skirt for a little splash of brightness.

Now let me tell you about the magic of the Balloon Fold Dress. You can create 3 completely different looks from 1 dress. And I don’t mean the kind of different looks you see typically in magazines where they add a belt, add a jacket and add a necklace and try to convince you that one look is different from the other.

I mean 3 totally different garments as if by magic.

A long maxi dress

Balloon Groove dress_maxi2_Needle and Ted

A short bubble dress

Balloon Groove dress_bubble5_Needle and Ted

Balloon Groove dress_bubble4_Needle and TedBalloon Groove dress_bubble2_Needle and Ted

And a puffball skirt and top

Balloon Groove dress2 by Needle and TedBalloon Groove dress_back_Needle and Ted

So I bet you’re wondering how the magic happens. Surely you haven’t guessed already. Well, as I’m not part of the magic circle I’ll show you, with the help of my trusted assistant…



Balloon Groove dress_bubble1_Needle and Ted

Can you see why Darcy wanted a Balloon Fold Dress? Apart from it being blue and comfortable, it’s interactive so therefore fun to wear. She can create different looks throughout the day, whatever is necessary for the pending adventure.

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And what’s more, the skirt which is in effect a giant pocket, can be used to hide toys, stones and small animals. Which is what kids love to do (tell me it’s not just my kids).

Balloon Groove

In praise of the fabric

Nosh Denim College is an organic knit fabric that behaves like sweatshirt but looks like denim. The reverse even looks like the reverse of a pair of jeans. It’s my favourite fabric from all that I have tried at Nosh. It’s gorgeous on both sides and a joy to sew with. Here you can see the harem pants I made from black Denim College.

Using it for a Balloon Fold Dress means as the dress becomes a skirt, you get to see the reverse of the fabric, which of course is a different colour. No one will ever know that your outfit started off as a dress at the beginning of the day.

Madeit Patterns Balloon Fold Dress with Nosh College fabric is a magical combination.



*I actually know someone that does that.







23 thoughts on “3 ingenious ways to wear a dress

  1. Such a cool dress! When are you making the adult version?!? 😀 I too need a big pocket, to carry all the stuff my kids can´t fit in their pockets!


  2. Awesome dress! Every one needs pockets. Mine have a tendency to be filled with rocks/pebbles and seashells if I’m lucky. And interesting pieces of wood. Whatever. Fun stuff the world gives me. Feathers! I hope your kids don’t outgrow this habit. It’s fun and creative, and I have no plans of stopping (and I’m 50).


  3. Can’t comment on the dress still working out where the Teddy came from. Cool idea for a dress. The short bubble is my favourite way of making it. I am sure kids will have hours of fun with that dress.


  4. The groove dress has given me a reason to look forward to fall because I just love your version with sleeves, now you have given me a second reason 🙂 first I do need the summer!:) I love reading your blog posts 🙂


  5. I’ve been watching out for the groove dress. I love what you did and the balloon bottom… I’ve never seen that! Very fun and versatile.


  6. I love the balloon dress pattern, I made a few weeks ago and will finally blog about it later this week. Love the piping stripe you did here, now I have to se my eldest one as well!


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