How to Turn Any Dress Into a Filipiniana Costume (No Sewing Machine Required)

I still can’t believe how fast 2019 is coming by! With just a blink of an eye, it’s August!

Most people associate August as the ghost month, but if you are a mom like me with school age kids, you know very well that August is time for Linggo ng Wika – hence, most likely your kids will be asked to wear a Filipiniana costume anytime soon.

I usually refrain from buying my kids costumes unless it’s really needed. I think it is a waste of money to buy them something that they will only wear once. Aside from that, it also takes up precious closet space after! So if you’re trying to be practical like me, you’re in the right page, because I am going to show you how to turn any of your daughter’s existing dress into a Filipiniana costume. And the good thing about this is that the sleeves is detachable – you can remove it after the program so she can still use that dress after as if nothing happened!

No, you also don’t need a sewing machine for this project as you can sew everything by hand. So here goes:

Materials Needed

First, you need a dress. You may choose from your child’s existing dresses. The perfect dress would be one a simple sleeveless dress, it can be of any material also although based on my experience, cotton would be the easiest to sew

Second, you need a coordinating fabric. Take this also in consideration when choosing a dress. You don’t need to buy this too – if there’s no actual fabric, you may use an old pillowcase, a throw pillow, bedsheet or curtain. Preferably a fabric that is thick and has structure, although soft fabrics will also be okay

Third, a cardboard. Either an illustration board, or a corrugated one.

Fourth, your sewing tools: a nice pair of scissors, thread, needle, and pins

Now that you have all the materials ready, it’s time for the fun part!

Step by Step Instructions

.1. Determine how big you want your sleeves to be. This is entirely up to you. In my daughter’s case, I just let it rest about 2 inches above her elbow so she will still be comfortable while wearing it. Draw your desired size in your cardboard and cut 2 pieces.
2. Using a ruler, get the midpoint by drawing a horizontal and a vertical line in the middle of your sleeves. Mark it.
3. Get your dress and lay the opening of the sleeves down the sleeves board. The midpoint should be in the middle of the sleeves opening. Draw the sleeves opening using a pencil following the curves
4. Measure around the sleeves opening. Add 1 inch allowance then right it down the board
5. Lay down the sleeve board on top of the coordinating fabric. Use the measurements taken earlier plus the 1 inch allowance and mark. Cut a mountain-like shape similar to the one above.
6. Sew together the lower part of the sleeves (see red lines)
7. With the carbdboard sleeves inside, carefully fold the outer fabric towards the center to be able to get the shape of the board The number of pleats depend on how big your sleeves is. Pin each of the pleats and sew the ends to keep the pleats in place
8. Get a long strip of fabric. Cut it into 2inches x the sleeve opening measurement. Fold the fabric such that both outer ends meet in the middle. Iron
9. Fold it again in the middle
10. Sandwich the middle part of the sleeves board in between the long strip of fabric. Handsew to make sure that all layers of fabric are in place
11. Repeat steps 1 to 10 to create the 2nd sleeves
12. Now get your dress and attach the sleeves to it! The middle part should be tucked inside the dress when sewn as shown above

And there you have it!

I really hope the instructions made sense! hahaha. If you have any questions, just feel free to send me a message in instagram or in facebook. 🙂

Do send us photos too of your finished products should you decide to give this a try. Good luck and happy sewing!