Children's / Inspiration

Bunny’s Ellie Whittaker “Birdies” dress

Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

Meet Bunny’s current favourite dress! Last year I was in the process of buying myself some Ellie Whittaker fabric and as often happens I asked Bunny her opinion on which design i should choose. Unfortunately as soon as she saw Ellie Whittaker’s Birdies fabric she was immediately enamoured with it, lost all interest in my fabric and honestly could not stop talking about it for days hehe. So I did what any reasonable mummy maker would do – i bought the fabric to surprise her! Then true to form I stashed it away waiting to making something special for her.

Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog
Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

The perfect opportunity came when my sister in law was married this year. Bunny had designed a gown for herself to wear to the formal wedding and wanted me to make it. And because i’m not a psycho, I obviously had to make a muslin ;) I searched high and low for a pattern similar to what she had drawn and sadly couldn’t find anything like this dress, so I ended up drafted my own pattern. Funnily enough the very first pattern company i checked was BHL because this style seemed to me like something Elisalex would design. Amazingly Elisalex was actually working on a pattern almost exactly like this and just hadn’t released it yet. I found out after going through multiple muslins and even finishing the final formal gown. And i must admit – i was disappointed because I would have loved to sew By Hand Londons pattern and save myself the trouble :)

Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

So that long story is to say that though yes I did draft this pattern, I just made it for Bunny and won’t be releasing it. However, if you want something really really similar which has been beautifully designed with lots of great options, check out the Lucy dress from By Hand London.

When Bunny first told showed me her ideas for a tie back with ruffles on the straps and tiers, I honestly thought it was too many details and was going to look a bit over the top. But I am so pleased to have been completely wrong :) I think all these elements combined simply resulted in a delightful dress that makes her feel so special when she wears it.

Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

I sewed two toiles of the bodice to check the fit before we used the Ellie Whittaker “Birdie’s” fabric, but after sewing this version we still made quite a few changes before the final dress, which I’ll show you as soon as we have photos (it’s so stunning i can’t wait!). Even though there were elements that Bunny wanted changed for her final dress, it’s so wonderful to see how much she loves this dress. She has been saving it for a special occasion and this past weekend she decided to wear it to her end of year piano recital. I thought it was such a wonderful choice as back details in dress are always so nice for piano recitals.

Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

I’m so grateful that Bunny at 15 still loves me making things for her as much as she did when she was a tiny little girl. It’s been so fun seeing how our process has changed over the years. Starting with me sewing her what I wanted from fabrics I chose – we’ve been transitioning little by little over the years to her making more and more of her own choices – and I must admit it’s so satisfying to see her come to me with her ideas and ask me to make them for her. I can’t wait to see what she asks me to make next!

Bunny's Ellie Whittaker "Birdies" dress | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog
About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Sue MacLeod
Sue MacLeod
7 months ago

Beautiful dress. I love the fabric, too.