Minnie is a French bulldog whose owners treat her like a princess, so it's only fitting that she was bedecked in this fairytale princess costume for our photo shoot. Her dress is entirely handmade, making it a fun project for someone with a bit of sewing knowledge. If you feel daunted by the idea of creating a dress by hand, you can always create the hat yourself and embellish a pre-made dog dress with rhinestones to give it some extra sparkle. Step one: Measure the circumference of your dog's chest just behind its front legs. Cut two 3 1/2-inch wide satin strips that are 3 1/2 inches longer than your measurement. Set one strip aside.
Step two: Make a mark 8 inches from the left edge of a strip that is facing right side up. Fold the strip lengthwise at the mark (wrong sides together) and sew a 1/4-inch seem along the fold. Open the strip back up. Lay this strip and the other strip together and even the ends so that they are the same length. Set both strips aside.
Step three: Cut an 8-inch wide strip of satin that is twice the length of your thin strips. You may need to piece the satin together to achieve this length. Cut two pieces of 9-inch wide tulle the same length. Lay the satin strip lengthwise and wrong-side up on a table. Align the two pieces of tulle with the top edge of the strip. Baste the three pieces together along the top edge. Pull at the seam to gather the fabric until it is the same length as the short strips.
Step four: Lay all of your strips of fabric lengthwise so that the top edges are aligned in the following order: the unaltered short strip right side up, the gathered strip satin side up, the altered short strip right side down. Make sure that the flap that was created stitching near the fold is pointing to the short end of the strip. Sew a seam along the top edge of the layered strips.
Step five: Flip both short strips away from the gathered strip and hand sew the edges to each other so that they form a satin band just above the gathered skirt. Cut four 3-inch strips of Velcro. With the skirt tulle side down, sew or glue two pieces of Velcro to the left side of the band. Flip the skirt over and attach the other two pieces to the left side of the band. When finished, the Velcro should be able to attach to itself and create a wrapped skirt.
Step six: Overlap the Velcro so that the skirt is closed. Attach four sterling silver heavy closed jump rings under the flap, along the vertical fold line that you created in step two. Attach the other four jump rings along the short edge of the end of the band that is currently showing. These will act as a lace up closure.
Step seven: Cut two long strips of tulle. These strips will tie around the dog's neck like a halter top and keep the dress from sliding off. Gather one end of the tulle and sew it to a short piece of ribbon. Sew the ribbon with the tulle facing the satin to the inside of the front section of the band spaced about 4 inches apart.
Step eight: Try the dress on your dog, wrapping it and securing it with the Velco. Lace the organza ribbon through the jump rings and tighten the laces to get a good fit. Tie the tulle halter straps. Look at where the front of the dress falls on the dog. You will need to shorten the front section of the skirt so that your dog doesn't trip over it. You may need to make the front section of the skirt almost half as long as the back. Once you have shortened the front of the dress to the appropriate length, hem the satin so that it won't fray. Trim the tulle so that it just peeks out under the satin.
Step nine: When you are sure of the fit, you can embellish the top of the dress as you desire with rhinestones. Take a look at the components list to see the rhinestones we used in this design.
The Hat To give the hat shape and rigidity, we used a plastic cone, which you can find at a local craft store.
Step one: Decide how big you want the hat to be based on the size of your dog's head. We wanted ours to fit between Minnie's ears. Cut the cone down to fit. Create a template from a piece of paper so that you know how much fabric to cut to cover the cone. You'll want the template to be at least 1 1/2-inches longer than the cone and to have at least a 1/2-inch overlap at the seam that runs up the cone. Cut the fabric using the template.
Step two: Use strips of 1/2 Inch Terrifically Tacky Tape to attach the satin to the cone. Make sure to fold over the edges of the satin so that they will not fray.
Step three: Cut a 9-inch wide piece of tulle a little over a foot long. Gather one end of it in your hand and make a knot. Stuff the knot through the top of the cone. Pull most of the tulle through the inside of the cone and add a dab of E6000 glue to the top of the knot. Then, pull on the opposite end of the tulle until the knot rests against the top of the cone. Let it dry. Use a hole punch to create two holes about 1 1/2 inches apart on both the left and the right side of the cone near the base. Thread the holes with organza ribbon. When the hat is placed on the dog, the ribbons should rest just behind and just in front of the dog's ears.
Step four: Apply rhinestones to the cone and to the tulle using Gem-Tac. We chose to create a band of rhinestones around the bottom edge of the cone and up the cone's seam. We scattered some of the smaller rhinestones across the tulle to add sparkle. Take a look at the components list to see what rhinestones we used in this design.
Tools and Supplies Used: 3/8-inch organza ribbon-pink by the foot (R38-PINK) 7/8-inch organza ribbon-pink by the foot (R78-PINK) Terrifically Tacky Tape 1/2 inch (TAPE03) Jewel setter 2 pack (TOOL-170) Knotting tweezers (TOOL-112) E6000 glue 1oz tube - medium/clear (E6000-01) Gem-Tac permanent adhesive (GEMTAC) E6000 glue tip (E6000-TIP)
List of Components: Swarovski 2058 SS12 XILION rose flatback light rose ab (2058-LROAB12, qty 20) Swarovski 2058 SS12 XILION rose flatback light rose (2058-LRO12, qty 13) Swarovski 2058 SS12 XILION rose flatback jonquil ab (2058-JONAB12, qty 20) Swarovski 2028 SS34 XILION rose flatback light rose ab (2028-ROLTAB34, qty 9) Swarovski 2058 SS30 XILION rose flatback light rose ab (2058-LROAB30, qty 11) Swarovski 2028 SS34 XILION rose flatback light rose (2028-ROLT34, qty 9) Swarovski 2058 SS30 XILION rose flatback light rose (2058-LRO30, qty 12) Swarovski 2028 SS34 XILION rose flatback jonquil ab (2028-JONAB34, qty 10) Swarovski 2058 SS30 XILION rose flatback jonquil ab (2058-JONAB30, qty 14) Swarovski 2058 SS9 XILION rose flatback jonquil ab (2058-JONAB9, qty 26) Swarovski 2058 SS9 XILION rose flatback light rose (2058-LRO9, qty 15) Swarovski 2058 SS9 XILION rose flatback light rose ab (2058-LROAB9, qty 18) Swarovski 2058 SS20 XILION rose flatback jonquil ab (2058-JONAB20, qty 14) Swarovski 2058 SS20 XILION rose flatback light rose (2058-LRO20, qty 8) Swarovski 2028 SS20 XILION rose flatback light rose ab (2028-ROLTAB20, qty 8) Swarovski 2058 SS16 XILION rose flatback light rose ab (2028-ROLTAB16, qty 9) Swarovski 2058 SS16 XILION rose flatback light rose (2058-LRO16, qty 6) Swarovski 2028 SS16 XILION rose flatback jonquil ab (2028-JONAB16, qty 9) Sterling silver heavy closed jump ring (1x7mm) (SS-CJR-HG, qty 8)
Alternate Components: These are fun alternatives to those listed above: Swarovski 2200 8mm navette flatback crystal (2200-CRYS8) Swarovski 2035 14mm chessboard circle flatback crystal ab (2035-CAB14) Swarovski 2709 10mm rhombus flatback crystal ab (2709-CAB10) Swarovski 2797 8mm diamond leaf flatback light topaz (2797-LTO8) Swarovski 2058 SS20 XILION rose flatback indian pink (2058-INP20)