For starters, we needed to measure the width around her chest to determine how much fabric to buy. We chose three different fabrics that were schirred--often called "smocked" fabric at our local JoAnn's fabric store. Schirred fabric has an elastic on the back side sewn with a decorative stitch on the top side to mimic hand smocking (see close-up of fabric shown below). However, if you've followed my blog in the past, you'll notice that I have created tutorials featuring hand-smocking and the process of pleating. In short, I can't call this cheater fabric "smocking" because the hard stuff has already been done. Okay, climbing off my soap-box.
A US Size 4 dress requires 5/8 yard for go around a 21 inch chest and 20 inches of gross-grain ribbon.
To sew this fast and easy dress, pin right sides together, then sew down the outside seam. If you are lucky enough to have a serger, this can be completed in one step. As I do not own one, it is necessary to create a "serged" seam by first sewing a straight stitch at 5/8 inches wide, then sewing outside this line using a zig-zag stitch.
ADDING THE SHOULDER STRAPS:
Once the one and only seam is sewn, cut two gross-grain ribbon straps measuring 10 inches long. Tip! I like to melt the ends of my ribbon so they don't fray. So the next step may be silly, but your dress will last laundering a lot longer. Light a candle and hold the raw edges of the strap next to, but not in the flame. This will melt and sear those loose threads closed so they won't fray.
For a size 4 dress, measure the chest opening from each side. The straps connect to the dress at three inches in from the right and left hand sides with a 5 inch space between them. I recommend measuring this distance on your little one prior to sewing to ensure a proper fit.
Pin each strap so 1 inch hangs over the schirred/smocked edge and sew these straps down creating a square shape.
Loop the front ribbon to the back and repeat the same measurements and pinning. Sew the straps in place.
Voila! You are left with a dress that even can stay on while jumping on the trampoline! A perfect summer dress.
Note: To create the other sizes, I referenced the US Standard Clothing Charts on Wikepedia and have not test-sewn these dress sizes. They are only given as good-faith estimates and require you to measure your little one as described in the tutorial.
- Size 6 Months; 1/2 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 16.5 inches around chest and 14 inches of ribbon (cut into two 7 inch straps).
- Size 12 Months: 5/8 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 18.5 inches around chest and 16 inches of ribbon (cut into two 8 inch straps).
- Size 2: 2/3 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 20 inches around chest and 18 inches of ribbon (cut into two 9 inch straps).
- Size 3: 2/3 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 20.5inches around chest and 18 inches of ribbon (cut into two 9 inch straps).
- Size 4: Follow the Tutorial! 3/4 yards of pre-smocked fabric and 20 inches of ribbon (cut into two 10 inch lengths).
- Size 6: 7/8 yard of pre-smocked fabric to fit a 23 inch around chest and 22 inches of ribbon (cut into two 11 inch lengths).
Share you link! I'd love to see your show-and -tell of what you can teach all of us to do! Thanks for sharing!