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May 5 is Red Dress Day in Canada, and Canadians are encouraged to wear red in order to draw attention to the more than 1000 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

Materials Needed

  • starched red felt—usually available at Michaels and Dollar stores (regular felt won’t work as too flimsy)
  • photocopied dress tracers
  • small broach fasteners
  • dress pins (optional)
  • sewing needles (small enough for your beads)
  • thread—red or black
  • variety of seed and other beads
  • sequins that can be stitched on
  • your choice of other items that can be sewn onto a dress


  • Photocopy templates—using card stock will make durable tracers.
  • Using double thick felt, trace and cut out dress shapes (you need to use double thick felt to create a sturdy broach.)
  • If you are sewing your broach fastener onto the back of your broach (which is recommended), do this first on the back of ONE of the dress pieces before sewing the two pieces together—you can use a hot glue gun to apply the broach fastener, but it doesn’t last as well as stitching.
  • Once your broach fastener is applied, carefully line up the edges of your “dresses” (use a dress pin to hold the pieces together if desired) and sew all around the outer edge of the dress.

If you wish to make a display with your red dresses, leave the bottom of the dresses unstitched so you can stand them up by putting them over something like a tiny glass bead jar, cork, rock, etc., as was done for the displays pictured on this page. Design your dress however you wish by sewing on seed beads, other beads, sequins, feathers, or anything else you wish. A few decoration examples are provided on this page, along with ideas for displaying your dresses.

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