Since the past couple weeks I’ve been too busy to post as often as I’d like I decided to repost another one from the archives 🙂 This one is from last year in May.
About a week ago I received a package in the mail. It contained fabric to make a dress for a little girl.
This cute little print was in the package too! Isn’t it great?!
There was no pattern in the package just a note giving me some measurements and telling me she wanted it like a dress I had made for another little girl. My kind of project!!!
This is the pattern I used. It is simple and basic and can be detailed however your little heart desires 🙂
I cut out the front, back, facings and sleeves. I use pattern weights instead of pins. It works best for me.
A little tip for a well-finished, tailored sleeve: After cutting out the sleeve, cut another one exactly like the first. I will show you why in a little bit.
I tore two four and a half inch strips of fabric across the whole width to use for a ruffle. You can make your strips any size you want depending on how big you want your ruffle. More on ruffle placement in a minute!
I sewed both ruffle pieces together at the short end, creating one LONG piece of fabric. I used my serger to make a rolled hem along both sides of the ruffled piece. Then I used my ruffler attachment on my sewing machine to ruffle the whole long piece. If you do not have a ruffler you can run gathering threads and gather it up by hand.
The position of the ruffle was down the middle of the front of the dress. So I folded the front piece in half, right side out, and pressed a crease in it.
You should see the crease when you lay the piece out flat.
Position ruffle with the center of it on the crease made by pressing. You can pin the ruffle in place or if you are like me you can just position it as you sew it on 🙂
Ruffle stitched in place. I decided to go back and stitch again on both sides of the first stitching, about 1/2 inch away on each side. I made this decision because the ruffle was wide and I wanted it to lay down nicely. If the ruffle were narrower I might skip that step.
Now for the tip on sleeves!
As I said above I cut out the sleeves twice. Most patterns tell you to cut it out once. That gives you two sleeves, one for each side. Cutting the sleeve out twice gives you two sleeves for each side. Now, the little girl this dress was made for does NOT have 2 arms on each side! Instead we are finishing the bottom of the sleeve by lining it with the second sleeve piece instead of just hemming the sleeve like most patterns will tell you to. Start by laying right sides together like in the picture above. Make sure you have the right pieces together – the notches (I make small clips instead of cut-out notches) on the curved edge should match and the pieces should lay together exactly. Sew a quarter inch seam along the bottom edge.
Trim that seam to 1/8 inch.
Press the seam to one side neatly and crisply!
Turn one sleeve piece back making sure the seam is turned to the back too. And make sure when you do this that you do the second sleeve opposite so you have a sleeve for each side and not two sleeves that go in the same sleeve hole. Watch those notches on the top curvey edge of the sleeve. The double notch should be on opposite sides when you have both sleeves pressed.
Open the sleeve back out and lay the short side edges together matching up the seam where you sewed the two pieces together. Sew your 5/8 inch seam or whatever seam allowance you are using for your garment.
Press that seam open (I cheat on this one and just finger press it) Then turn the sleeve pieces back together with wrong sides in.
And this is what you will have when you are done!
Now, I know some patterns have instructions for doing it this way. That is how I learned it! So maybe you already knew this little tip 🙂
Using lots of patterns over the years I now use the techniques I like best and that make the best finished project. You do NOT have to follow a pattern guide if you have a different way to sew something. I usually pick patterns because they have the basic shape or form I need and then I alter it to fit what I want it to look like. And I rarely even pull the pattern guide out anymore. Maybe for a quick read through if it’s something totally new. On occasion I do follow it if a customer wants something exactly like a pattern. My favorite projects though, are the ones that allow me to be creative 🙂
I also added some small tucks to the bottom edge of the sleeve after I had them ready to go in the dress. I just folded and pinned them in place and then topstitched around the bottom of the sleeve. Just for some added texture and for fun.
Dresses I have made like this in the past I have lined. But for this one I decided it might be too hot for summer and I could most likely make it look nice with facings. I used a very narrow serging around the edge of the facing, pressed the serging under, and stitched a small hem. I also added an invisible zipper to this one instead of just a small opening and button at the back. Hopefully it will be easier to get on and off.
Little Sister was delighted to be my model for photographing the finished dress!
I was happy with the way it turned out. Little Sister loved it and begged me to make her one. So I let her go through my fabric stash and she picked out a piece she wants me to use. Now to get that one made too. I may change up the design on that ruffle – just for fun and something different 🙂
And that reminds me – I haven’t made one for Becca yet. Must add it to this years to-do list – she will soon be big enough she won’t want a dress made like this 🙂
Hope your weekend is going great.
Sew a Fine Seam
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