Tuesday, June 28, 2011

T.T.- Toddler Dress- Firecracker!

We have a few outfits for E for 4th of July, but when I was digging through my fabric tubs, I couldn't resist making her a dress out of some fun fabric I found.  I remember getting it at Savers for something like $2.  
(The Savers near my house has THE best selection of cheap, but fun fabrics! I've gotten as much as 7 yards of fabric for only 6 dollars!)
Anyway- I looked over a ton of tutorials, but couldn't find what I had in mind... so I just made my own.  Let me know if you have any questions! 

Ellie's Fire Cracker Dress

This dress and the pattern are for 2T size.  To make a different size, use a dress that you already have as a template the same way I did.  Here's how I made my pattern: 
I just cut out pieces according to the sizes of this dress.  I cut the chest piece, allowing a 1/4" seam allowance, and shorter sleeves since I'd be adding the braided element.  Then I cut to blocks of fabric according to the length of the bottom of each part on the dress.

What you will need: 
-about a yard of fabric (probably less, but just to be safe)
-Coordinating jersey fabric and thread
-1/8" elastic, measured and cut to your child's chest size. 
(where the hem of an empire waist would fall) 
-Safety pin and pins
-Rotter cutter (not required, but it makes like way easier!) 
-Sewing machine

Step One- 
Start cutting out your pieces.  First, cut your top piece, the chest piece.  Remember to call all of them on the fold!  Double your fabric for the chest piece so that you have two! You'll also want to cut a strip of fabric to make your own bias tape type lining for the sleeve area. 
 I just cut mine 1 1/2" wide, and about 12-14  inches long.  
(I have pictured 2 strips, you only need one.)

Step 2- 
Sew your two chest pieces together at the arm area.  Make sure to sew them inside out so that the seam is on the inside.  Only sew the inch or sew that is right below the sleeve area (where the arm pit of the dress is.) 
Sorry I don't have a photo for that step.  If you have questions, feel free to email me!

Step 3- 
While your chest pieces are inside out and attached to one another, iron a 1/4" up on a fold so that you will have an area to run your elastic through the bottom part of the chest pieces.)

Step 4- 
Sew the 1/4" fold starting right after one of the side seams, and ending about 1/2" before it, leaving a 1/2" hole to thread the elastic through.  Put a safety pin on the end of your elastic and string it through the chest piece of the dress. 

Step 5- 
Sew this area closed.  Make sure that there aren't any areas that are open.  
It should look like this when you turn it right side out:

Step 6-
Iron your strip of fabric to make your own bias tape.  To do this follow these steps: 
Fold one half over, and iron. 
 Fold over the other half and iron.
 It should look like this at this point:
 Then fold it over in half and iron. 
When finished, if done right, you should be able to place this on fabric so that the fabric is inside the fold, giving your sleeves a clean look. 

Step seven- 
Add your "bias tape" to your sleeves.  Pin them in place.  An easy way to do this is to open your shirt and place it so that the you see the "u" of the sleeves, then run the bias tape along it as you pin.  Hope that makes sense...

Step eight- 
Moving on to your first block of fabric for the bottom of the dress. This is the smaller of the two. 
Iron a hem on the bottom of your block to start.  Then sew your hem. After, use the largest straight stitch that you have and sew the opposite side of the block (lengthwise) and sew along the top. 
Make sure to leave a long tail when you cut the thread after you have done your long straight stitch.  
Using just the top of the two threads in your tail, pull and create a ruffle.  Pull until the ruffle matches the size of our elastic on the chest piece.  It is ok if it's even just a little bit bigger. Then hem the side of the block so that it makes a circle. 

Step nine- 
Pin the bottom block to the chest piece.  I wanted the elastic seam to show on the outside, this isn't common, so if you don't want the seam to show, pull both parts inside out and pin them so that they will not show the seam.  To do it the way I did it, I just pinned the block to the top the way it is laid in the photo above. 

Step ten-
Sew your block onto the chest piece.  Use a zig-zag stitch so that it keeps it's stretch.  If your block was a little bigger than your chest pieces, pull your elastic while you sew.  

Step eleven- 
Start on your next block.  Iron a clean hem (folding twice) and sew.  Then do the same as your first block and use a long straight stitch and create a ruffle the same width as your first block's bottom.  This time make it exact, not a little bigger.  Hem the side to make a circle. 

Step twelve- 
Pin your bottom block to your first block.  This time we don't want the seam to be on the outside, so we will keep the top part of the dress right side out, and turn the block inside out.  Pin together and sew.

Step thirteen- 
You are almost finished! Change your thread in your sewing machine to match the jersey you have picked out.  Cut three strips of jersey and braid it.  I used a left over bottom of a tank top that I already used in a project, so the strips were probably 20-24" long and about 1/2" wide.  After you have your braid, pin the braid to your dress starting at a sleeve.  Run the braid down the neckline to the other sleeve, and back down the back neckline back up to the first sleeve.  Remember to make sure the whole braid is on the fabric so that when you sew in the middle of the braid, it attaches to the fabric. Sew the braid in place with a straight stitch. 

Tada! You have your dress! 

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