1) Fabric: Lightweight, non-stretch cotton
2) Sewing Machine
3) Serger (optional)
If you do not have a serger, no problem! You will replace marrowed seams and edges with French seams (Figure A) and double folded hems (Figure B)
4) Thread to match your fabric
5) Elastic Thread (Figure C)
6) Fabric Scissors
7) Seam gauge /ruler
8) Colored pencil/fabric marker
The following chart gives a rough guide for sizing and fabric needed. It’s okay if your measurements aren’t exact; we don’t know who we will be giving the dresses to yet so we will be able to utilize any sizes.
Ages 3 months to 36 months
|Recommended fabric length||13-14||14-15||15-16||16-17||17-18||18-19|
|Recommended fabric width||36||37||39||40||42||44|
Ages 2-6 years old
|Recommended fabric length||19-20||20-21||21-22||23-24|
|Recommended fabric width||44||45||48||50|
Ages 7-14 Years old
|U.S. Standard Girl Sizes (7-14 years)|
|Height (Inches)||51 – 52||53 – 54||55 – 57||58 – 59||60 – 62||63 – 64|
|Recommended Fabric Length||27-28||28-29||29-30||30-31||31-32||32-33|
|Recommended Fabric Width||53||55||58||61||64||67|
If you want to make the dress for yourself, follow these guidelines:
Width: Measure your chest, just under your arms and multiply that number by 2.
Example: 30 inch bust…30 x 2 = 60 inch width
Length: Measure from the underarms down to the desired length, and then add 2 inches.
Example: Desired Length = 28 inches…28 + 2 = 30 inch length
1) Overcast or zigzag stitch around all four edges of the fabric. (Or use a serger.)
Now we are moving on the elastic shirring!
A) Begin to loosely hand-wind the bobbin with elastic thread. Depending on the machine you have, you may be able to machine wind the elastic thread, but some machines may not be able to feed stretched-out elastic thread through the plates. Experiment with your bobbins and the thread.
B) Load the bobbin normally. Make sure you do not stretch the elastic thread while winding/loading,
***IMPORTANT***For Brother Sewing Machines only: Brother sewing machines are notorious for NOT shirring with elastic thread. Keep in mind that not all machines have the same capabilities, and Brother is the one machine that really requires a deal of experimenting and tampering. (I use the longest stitch length along with a tension of 6.) After much searching, I found a great video on a neat trick for shirring that doesn’t require tampering with the machine. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcELEGN9Rrk
C) With the right side of your fabric facing up, begin measuring 5/8 inch down from the top end of the fabric. Take your pencil/washable marker and mark a line 5/8 inch down—parallel to the top edge of the fabric.
*If you feel comfortable sewing without the marker lines, feel free to skip that step. Proceed to the step D, with a 5/8 seam, using a 5/8 seam allowance.
D) Put the both the stitch length and machine tension on the settings that work best for your machine (usually medium tension and the longest stitch length.)
Important: Experiment on a scrap piece of fabric before beginning stitching on the dress!
E) With the right side of the fabric facing up, slowly stitch across each of the lines.
At this point, you should have a piece of fabric with finished edges and the desired amount of shirred rows. (See below)
* This is a one seam dress. Therefore, there are multiple ways to finish construction, depending on your sewing machine’s capabilities and supplies available.
IF YOU SERGED (ZIGZAG OR MARROW) OR DOUBLED HEMMED (All four sides)
1) Fold the fabric in half (along the width, hamburger style) with the right sides of your fabric together and the wrong side
facing you. (see figure on right)
2) Match the top, bottom, and shirring-lines together. Sew down from top to bottom with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
3) Press the seam open with an iron.
1) Fold the fabric in half (along the width) with the wrong sides of your fabric together and the right side of the fabric facing you (opposite of figure on the right)
2) Sew a straight line from top to bottom, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
3) Trim the seam allowance in half to 1/8 inch width.2) Sew a straight line from top to bottom, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
4) Once the seam allowance is trimmed, you will once again fold the fabric along the seam and sew down
Shoulder Straps are optional, but they really help secure the dress in place. Here we have a few different ways that you can create the straps. Also, the straps can be made with different material. You also can use trims/ribbon instead of fabric.
Option 1: Halter Style
1) Cut 2 pieces of fabric with the following dimensions:
2) Hem the short sides of the strips with a 1/4 inch hem.
3) Fold the strips in half, right sides together. Stitch along the long side with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn the tubes inside out.
4) Measure the front top edge of the dress, and divide this number by 3. Divide the dress vertically into thirds, and mark the edge.
Option 2: Spaghetti Straps
1) Follow steps 1-3 in Option 1.
2) Follow Step 4 in Option 1. Repeat this step with the back of the dress.
Option 3: Shoulder Ties
1) Follow steps 1-3 in Option 1.
2) Follow Step 4 in Option 2. Sew a strap at each of the four dots.