How to Sew an Indian Maiden Dress

By Ann Johnson

When a little girl needs a costume for the upcoming school program on Native American culture or for the school's Thanksgiving feast reenactment, make her this Indian maiden dress. When the event is over it will make a popular addition to the dress-up box in the playroom. You can also use this pattern for an Indian maiden costume for an adult. First locate the right fabric. Look for material that has the look of leather or a textured material, such as velour. Then choose a natural color, like tan or brown.

Measure the person who will be wearing the costume. Use a measuring tape to measure the distance from the right wrist, up the arm, across the shoulders, and to the left wrist. This will be measurement A.

Measure the desired length for the dress. Use the measuring tape to measure the distance from above the shoulder, to the desired hemline. This will be measurement B.

Cut fabric into a rectangle. The width should equal measurement A, and the length should equal twice the measurement of B. For example, if A was 30 inches, and B was 32 inches, the fabric should measure 30 by 64 inches.

Fold the fabric in half. The width of the folded half will be the measurement of A.

Cut a T-shaped slit at the center of the fold, as indicated in the picture. This should be just large enough to slip over the head. After the slit is cut, slip over the head of the person that will be wearing the costume, with the right side of the fabric in.

Fold the collar down, where you made the cut.

Pin the two sides of the fabric together, between the right arm pit. Cut a straight line from the pin, to the right corner of the hem. Repeat on the left side.

Look at the results. The cut line on the right side of the fabric separates the lower edge of the right sleeve from the right side of the skirt of the dress. The cut line on the left side of the fabric separates the lower edge of the left sleeve from the left side of the skirt of the dress.

Sew the two sides of fabric together, buy stiching along the lower edge of each sleeve, and each side of the skirt, as shown by the red lines in the drawing.

Turn the dress right side out, to hide the seam lines. Fold the collar down.

Cut the tips off the bottom of each sleeve and cut fringes along the hem of the skirt and sleeves.

Decorate the dress by sewing on beads and creating patterns.

Tip

Do not cut and sew while the fabric is actually on the person. The pictures show this for illustration only.

About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.