I think it’s perfectly lovely that Easter falls so close to the first of Spring this year. Nature seems to agree, with all the trees budding and the early spring flowers opening up. <deep inhale and contented sigh>
In our effort to be frugal and incorporate more handmade things into our daily round, rather than speed out and buy an easter dress for our oldest daughter, we’re going to use the fabric we already have and make a nice little sundress. She already has a lovely hand-me-down top to wear over it since it’s still a little chilly.
No, I don’t have a pattern. Yes, I’ve made dresses before. Yes, I’m winging it here, but what better way to let the creativity flow?
I’m just getting started, so I’ll keep adding pictures as I progress.
- Like I said, we already had the fabric, washed and dried. Lucky
for me, this fabric doesn’t require lots of ironing! In case you’re wondering, we didn’t dye this fabric. It came that way. I’m also using thread I already had.
- I thought up a simple design and used my daughter to
guesstimate the fabric portions and make the cuts. I think I’ll double the chest piece to make it a little thicker and disguise the strap ends and top of the skirt. I also think I’ll add a couple more pieces to the skirt to make it more full. Who doesn’t like to feel like a princess? Plus, my daughter can be active and needs lots of room to move.
- I started with the straps, folding in half, sewing along one side. (I really should be using my serger, but that means switching out thread. Sounds like an afternoon task.) Anywho, turn right side out and — voila — nice straps. Turns out that these straps are extra long. We’ll either fold them in half and give it a double-strap look or cut one in half and use the other for a bag. Time will tell.
(more to come . . . as promised)
- Straps done, I pinned them to the chest piece at the places
necessary. I totally just held
the chest piece around her and
positioned and pinned the straps. I don’t know what I was thinking when I cut the length for the straps. They were almost twice as long as they needed to be. Since I used two layers of fabric for the chest piece, I inserted the straps between the layers. Right sides together (which is interesting since the fabric seems to be the same on both sides) and making sure the straps would be facing the correct way, I
serged the top seam (top photo to right), using the knife to trim. Then, I turned right side out and added this decorative stitch
the seam from rolling. The straps were still too long, so we just safety-pinned them in place for the time being.
- I did cut another skirt piece to add room, and I’m glad I did.
Again, I used the serger to make the seams. I am loving the serger for this! No longer am I intimidated by the threading. Wahoo! With all the skirt pieces sewn together, I gathered the top of the skirt. To do this, I used the basting and pulling method; here’s an excellent video tutorial on gathering. Then I aligned it to the top and pinned and basted it in place. I removed the pins and then serged to clean up the seam. This took me a couple of tries because apparently I had gotten a little crooked.
- Almost finished, I had her try it on so I could pin the hem. We both wanted it long. There’s still room to let it out (both at the hem and the straps) as she grows. She’ll probably outgrow the bust first, though, since it has the least amount of room to grow. I didn’t feel like switching the threads on the serger, so I just did a quick sew around the skirt for the hem. Another thing I loved about this fabric is the straight lines! Obviously I’m not strict about measuring twice and cutting once!
All in all, this was a simple project and relatively quick. I ended up sewing a square over the extra strap length to keep it in place yet save it for later. I got the center of the top in the back quite off center in relation to the straps, but that’s what I get for being so lax in my technique, if you can call it that. If nothing else, I hope this inspires you to try your own hand at creating an original.