This year, I am doing a series of posts to help beginner sewers learn a few tricks of the trade, and arm them with simple sewing projects too. Go and Sew!
I had too much fun this weekend. Saturday night rolled around and I realized all of the little tiny baby dresses were covered in spit-up from previous weeks. Instead of doing the much-needed laundry, I made a dress instead.
What? You actually wash your kids’ clothes? Oh.
I made one of these Saturday night-in purple, I should take photos- and figured out what needed to be changed so that I could make another one to share with you. Want to make one too? This is a great one for beginner sewing mommies/aunts/grandmas/sisters who want to expand their sewing skills.
This fits my 2-month old baby, and has room to grow.
To Begin, you need:
Pattern (8 pages, sorry! Just tape ‘em together along the dashed lines)
Two 1/2 yard cuts of coordinating fabric
1 yard of ribbon, cut into 9” pieces
1 yd Ric-rac trim (optional)
Sewing supplies (machine, pins, iron, matching thread)
*****Seam Allowances are 5/8”*******
Your Sewing Machine makes seam allowances easy, as long as you know what you are looking for. Use a tape measure or ruler to find out which markings on your machine are which seam allowance guides, measuring from the center needle position, out. Use painter’s tape, a rubber band, or a magnetic seam allowance guide to help you stay on the right spot as you learn the ropes! 5/8”, 1/2”, and 1/4” are common seam allowances.
Iron your 1/2 yard pieces and lay them on a flat surface on top of each other, with Right Sides facing up. Fold one side over so Right Sides are facing, and so you can fit your FRONT pattern piece on it comfortably. Your BACK pattern piece will fit on the rest of the fabric nicely. Pin the pieces (or use pattern weights) and cut them out of the fabric.
When you cut everything out, you will have two BACK pieces, and Four FRONT pieces: two RIGHTS and two LEFTS.
Take one fabric set (BACK, Front RIGHT, Front LEFT) and pin them Right Sides Together (RST) at the shoulders. Sew the shoulder seam and iron seams open. I like to trim the seam allowance a bit when I’m done too.
Repeat with the second fabric set.
Place your sewn pieces RST, matching shoulder seams.
Take a 9” piece of ribbon. Insert the ribbon between the FRONT pieces, on the shoulder-less side. The ribbon should be 5/8” from the top edge of the fabric.
Pin along the arm holes, front, and neckline. Sew only along these sides.
How to sew pretty corners:
Before you get to the corner, mark with a pin 5/8” (or whatever seam allowance you are using) away from the end.
When you get to the pin, remove the pin and make sure your needle is DOWN in the fabric. Lift the presser foot.
Pivot your fabric 90 degrees,
Put the presser foot down, and continue sewing. You should be at 5/8” seam allowance still!
Nice and pretty.
If you will be turning it inside out, trim your corner point off. Sometimes I trim more off the sides too.
Trim close to your seam allowance along all the curved parts of your dress.
Turn the dress right-side out by pulling the front pieces through the shoulders. It might get tight for a moment, but it will be fine in the end :). Once it is out, iron it flat. Now… if you can follow my lovely Paint job photo… you’ll want to pin a ribbon on the LEFT BACK of each fabric side (Fabric A and Fabric B, we’ll say), using the ribbon already on the front piece as a guide to where it needs to be placed (about 1” from the seam).
Next, match up the sides of the dress, RST, with the fabrics matching up as well. It helps if you first pin the seams together and pin out from there. Sew together.
Trim close to the seam allowance where the seams meet so the dress won’t be bulky.
Turn everything Right Sides out again, and iron it all pretty and flat. You should have one ribbon poking out on each fabric side.
Take your ric-rac and baste it (I use a regular stitch) to the dress on Fabric A ONLY. Make sure your raw ric-rac edges are tucked away so they won’t poke out when the dress is all sewn together; I just fold it under.
Turn it wrong sides out again, and match up the bottoms of the dress. Pin them together, leaving a 4” space for turning somewhere on the back pieces. I use pins to tell me where to stop and re-start my sewing. Sew together.
Turn it right-side out through the opening at the bottom. Iron the bottom and opening so you create a nice, clean hem. Then, top-stitch close to the edge (1/8”) around the entire dress, closing the bottom opening as you sew. Top-stitch around the arm holes as well.
Give everything another good ironing, and you are done! To assemble the dress, first tie the inside ribbon to a the front piece. When it is on the little baby, I double-knot it.
Then, tie the outside ribbon to the other front piece. Double-knot again.
Side A- CUTE!!
Side B- DOUBLE CUTE!!
Peek-A-Boo, chunky legs!
So, there you have it. Two dresses in one. And adorable to boot! ( I was chasing sunlight in these pics…)
I love making clothes for my girls. I love it when people comment on their skirts or whatever, and they proudly say “My mommy made it for me!” and I usually get a big hug from them as they say it. I do what I love, I love what I do, and I love who I do it for.
If you make one (and really, you should!), upload it to the Flickr group! Encourage each other. You CAN do it!