I whipped this dress up from start to finish in just 2 hours so it’s a great nap time project! You only have to cut 4 pieces of fabric but this dress does use some shirring and a button hole. For more details on shirring check out my basics tute on how to shirr.
What you’ll need:
-2 colors of fabric
-All your sewing goodies
Grab your little model and take two measurements: (1) chest circumference, measured right under the armpits (2) length from chest to knee.
You’ll need to cut four pieces of fabric:
-Dress (cut 1): This rectangle should be 2x the chest circumference by the length from chest to knee. For example, my daughter measured 21″ for chest and 16″ for length so my rectangle was 42″x16″.
-Ruffle (cut 1): This rectangle should be 4x the chest measurement by 4″. So, mine was 84″x4″. I used a long enough piece of fabric to cut one rectangle but piece together if you need to.
-Straps (cut 2): These should be cut 42″x4″ These are really long so adjust if you want shorter ones.
First, using a rolled hem, serge one long side of your dress pieces and one long side of your ruffle piece. If you don’t have a serger, simply fold over 1/4″ and iron. Then fold over another 1/4″ iron and sew.
Along the other long side of the ruffle strip, ruffle fabric. I do this by setting my stitch length to 5.0 and upping the tension to high. Then your machine will automatically ruffle as you sew. Leave a few inches of thread at each end (no backstitching!) so you can adjust ruffle to be the same length as the dress piece, as shown below.
Pin ruffle to bottom edge of dress with raw edges aligned as shown below. Sew with a 1/2 inch seam. Serge or zig zag.
Fold ruffle down and press seam. Topstitch.
Next, along the top edge of the dress, shirr 4 rows a presser foot width apart, skip 1″, and then shirr 4 more rows. This picture shows the back side of the shirred rows.
Fold your dress in half and measure to find the front center (subtract 1/2″ allowance from the open side before finding center). Mark with a pin as shown. This is where we’ll sew a large button hole.
Buttonholes are really easy actually. Your machine will do all the work but you may have to help it along because the fabric doesn’t move as easily due to the shirred rows. The button hole will be right in that 1″ opening between the 2 sets of shirring rows.
I stick a pin at the top of mine when I use a seam ripper to open the button hole to ensure I don’t cut the top edge of the stitches:
I actually ended up making the button hole a bit larger after this. I set my button hole foot to the largest button size. We’ll be pulling the straps through this hole so you want it big enough to accomodate the fabric of the straps.
Fold dress in half with right side together and raw edges aligned. Pin and sew with a 1/2″ seam. Serge or zigzag.
Now take your strap pieces and iron in half lengthwise. Cut one short end of each strap at a 60 degree angle.
With a 1/4″ seam, sew raw edge of long side and angled short side closed. Leave the other short end open for turning. Turn, press, and topstitch. Serge or zigzag the straight short end.
Find the center back of your dress and pin straps 1″ from center (for a total of 2″ between the straps). Sew in place.
Pull straps though the front buttonhole and tie in a bow.
All done! I’d love to see pics if you make this dress!