Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Belle's Dress a tutorial

Note: If you haven't already entered the giveaway head on over here and hop to it! What are you waiting for?

So a few of you expressed interest that you would like to see how to make this crazy easy dress! Here goes!

approximately 2/3 yard for size 2t dress or 4t tunic top
1 pack coordinating double fold bias tape
coordinating thread
scraps of lace and/or no fray chiffon ruffled
a couple buttons
a bit of elastic

I started with a simple a-line dress and made a pattern. Lucky for you I am SHARING this pattern with you for absolutely free! YEAH! Thanks to Kelly over at Sewing in No Mans Land for helping me create a pattern! She is awesome!!

So go print your pattern and tape your pieces together. I did it so there are only four pieces to print. All 8 1/2 x 11. I did it in such a way so that the bottom piece (pieces B and C) stays the same and you just change out your top piece (piece A) for the front or back of the dress. So print your four sheets out, tape them together and lets get started!

Start by cutting all of your pieces out of fabric. Cut two main dress pieces (one with the front bodice piece and one with the back bodice piece) and two sleeve pieces. If you position your pieces correctly you can get it all out of a 2/3 yard. I actually only used about 20" of fabric. I left it folded in half (selvages together) and the bottom hem of the dress butted up against the selvage, neckline closest to the fold of the fabric. If you need to make it longer I would change the orientation in which you cut your fabric so that you can play with the length more and up your fabric to maybe a yard or yard and a half.

We are going to use a technique called sewing in the flat. It makes things SO much easier. Usually when sewing I will read a pattern before hand and see if there is anything I can change to sew in the flat because it makes most things (especially sleeves) incredibly easy to machine sew.

Place your body pieces right sides together and stitch both shoulder seams. Turn right side out and press seam open. Set aside for a minute.

Take your two sleeve pieces and fold in half placing WRONG sides together (so you have right sided fabric on both sides of your fold).

Stitch with your longest stitch length around the curved side. Pull your strings and gather them up nice and tight.

Fold in half (pointed sides together) and press a crease. This will be your center line. Match that up with your shoulder seam and pin in place. You want the points to come right to the curve of the armpit seam. Finally stitch it down.

Grab a strip of elastic. I used about 5 inches each arm. There is no science to how I did this I just kind of did it. So I pinned it to one side and backstitch it a couple times, until you feel it is secure.

Then I stretched the elastic and straight stitched over it along the edge of the sleeve. Making sure it was about 1/4 to 1/8 inch from the straight edge. When you get to the other end back stitch a couple times to make sure it is secure. Repeat for to the other sleeve.

At this point I decided to finish the rest of the sleeve by folding in the bit of fabric that is unfinished. I simply folded it under and stitched it down. You could also run a bit of double fold bias tape around it to finish.

Now making sure to match up the armpit seams and the bottom hem pin the side seams right sides together and stitch down. Repeat for the other side seam. Turn right side out and press each seam.

Then I stitched the bias tape around the bottom hem. You could surge this also if you dont have any bias tape on hand.

Fold your dress in half and press a crease.

Then cut a 3 inch slit down the middle of the back of the dress. This will make it easy to get on and off of your little pumpkin.

Then stitch bias tape around the entire neck opening. Starting with one side of the slit and working your way around to the other side of the slit. Making a nice 90 degree fold at each corner.

Backstitch a couple times where the two ends meet.

Then grab a dot of fray check and put some onto each end of the bias tape.

Make a little elastic loop slightly larger than you think it would need to be. I think mine was about 2 inches.

Finally attach a button to one side and loop of elastic to the other side.

This is a really cute dress on its own but it needs a little something...

So now comes the fun part! Embellishing it!

Sorry no pics of this step...I dunno where they went?

I think you can get the gist from the pic though! Originally I thought I'd just do multiple layers of no fray chiffon but it didn't give it enough umph for me. So I layered chiffon and some vintage lace that I had on hand.

I started by ruffling a couple 1 1/2 inch strips of chiffon. Then I stitched one down in a U-shape at the front center of the dress. I added a bit of vintage lace on top that already had a bit of a wave to it. Not ruffled but sort of wavy. Still not enough for me. So under the first strip of no fray chiffon I added some more lace. Finally more chiffon under the last round of lace.

After all the lace and chiffon is stitched down I added some of the same bias tape (just unfolded and pressed) then folded one side under the neckline of the dress and ironed the other side under so that it wouldn't fray. Stitched it down. Finishing it off with a couple fun buttons down the front of the bias tape.

As I mentioned before this is approximately a size 2t dress or 4t tunic. It has plenty of room in the width so even sweet Hailey could wear it as a top with some jeans!

I hope you try it out! If you do I'd LOVE to see pictures! If you have issues with the pattern pieces let me know and I'll figure it out! This is my first time offering the pattern so let me know what you guys think!!

Love and Hugs,



Bless by Tone said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial and pattern - the dress is super cute, I have just the right fabric to use - and now I know that you know how to make a pattern - I'll ask for your help - I'm designing a pattern of my own in a little while.
Thanks again

Wendy said...

This dress is so precious! Thank you for the pattern and tutorial! I'll make it soon as a tunic top for my 4 yr. old girl.

Wendy said...

Here is the link to my blog where I posted a picture of the little dress top I made for my daughter with your pattern and tutorial.

Thank you again! It really came out beautiful!!! The only adjustment I had to make was to enlarge the arm opening a little, since it was for my 4 yr. old daughter.

Jessica & Tracie said...

Wendy it is beautiful! I LOVE the fabric! You did an excellent job!!

Sew Spoiled said...

I have linked to your great sewing tutorial. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this free pattern! I made it as a birthday gift for my one year old niece and it was perfect.