I’ve made a few attempts at following patterns to make myself some clothes recently. I made two skirts and a dress. Well, both the skirts came out too small (I am telling myself it was the pattern. It WAS the pattern) and the dress didn’t fit round my boobs. All that lovely fabric… ugh. So, sod that – I’m having a break from adult sized clothes! But I love making baby dresses – they use less fabric, don’t require much shape and take a lot less time.
This dress is pretty easy – it follows a similar method to the little bunny dresses we made for Hobbycraft back in the spring. I made a dress to fit my 6 month old, but you can make it to any size – just select an existing non-stretch dress in a similar style to get the measurements. This dress is reversible by design too – you just need to use poppers rather than buttons and skip the pockets. This tutorial is for a pinafore dress. The dress you use as template doesn’t need to be a pinafore – it just needs to give you a guide for width, height and arm holes.
You will need:
- existing dress for template
- tracing paper
- fabric for dress
- fabric for lining
- fabric scraps for applique
1. Place the template dress onto some tracing/parchment paper and, using a ruler to give accuracy (and adding a 3/4 seam allowance), draw around one side and along the top and bottom to the centre point of the dress. You could draw around the whole thing but this method ensures symmetry.
2. Fold the paper in half and cut out the template. You now have the template for the front of the dress. For the reverse, you just need to trace the front panel and add an inch to the top of the strap, as below right.
3. Pin the templates to the fabric. Cut a front and back piece from both the outer and lining fabric.
4. Place the front fabric and lining pieces right sides together and pin along the top, from one armhole to the other (so… all the curved bits!). Sew this together with a 3/4″ allowance. Repeat for the back of the dress and snip all along the curved stitching.
5. Turn both pieces the right way out and press.
6. Cut a pocket shape from some paper. Cut a piece of outer fabric slightly bigger than the paper – apart from the top as this will be binded. Press the edges in around the paper. Take a thin strip of lining fabric, fold over twice and sew this in place along the raw top edge of the pocket.
7. Being careful NOT to sew the lining (I absolutely did not do this…) sew the pocket onto the centre of the front of the dress. I used satin stitch.
8. Cut out some balloon shapes from scraps of fabric adhered with bondaweb. Position these in place along the bottom of the dress and press to set. Finish with blanket stitch for a neater finish. Sew lines for the string.
9. Now take the front and back pieces of the dress and open them out. Place them so that the linings face each other and outer fabric faces each other (both should be right sides together). Pin together ensuring that the arm holes are matched up. Sew with a 3/4″ seam allowance, all the way along. press the seams open.
10. Try the dress on to check fit at this point, and place a pin on the front straps for the location of the buttons. Sew buttonholes on the back straps and buttons on the front. Use a stitch ripper to open up the holes.
11. Finally, finish the hem of the dress by folding over twice so that the lining is visible on the outside of the dress. Sew along the out-turned lining.
***ps special thanks to Viv over at Binoracle for finding me this lovely star lining fabric on the street! One (wo)man’s trash…***