Friday, September 17, 2010

Birthday Dress Tutorial

I think everyone secretly wants to be that cheesy family who coordinates their outfits… birthday parties are all the excuse I need! And while we’re at it, we may as well match the party too right?! Liv’s One Year Old in a Flash party was an easy one to coordinate with (I didn’t even have to convince my husband to wear a ladybug shirt this time!); we just went with the color scheme of teal and fuchsia. I wore solid pink, Daddy wore a teal polo, and I handmade the girls’ outfits. The colors in Patricia Bravo's Sugar line of fabric were perfect and the inspiration for this little dress I designed for the birthday girl to wear.

It was pretty easy, here’s the step by step if you want to give it a try:

  1. Measure around your little one’s chest, just under their arms (we’ll call this measurement A). Measure from their underarm to where you’d like the bottom of the dress (measurement B). Decide how wide you want the coordinating fabric at the hem to be (measurement C). Cut 2 rectangles of the dress fabric that are A wide x B-C+2 long. So for example, Liv’s chest is 18”(A), I wanted the finished dress to be 20” (B) long, and 3” (C) seemed like a good size for the fabric at the hem. So I cut 2 rectangles that were 18” (A) x 19” (B-C+2… the 2 is for the seam allowance).
  2. Cut 2 strips of the coordinating fabric for the hem that are A long x Cx2+1 wide. So from my example, mine were 18” x 7” (3x2+1)
  3. Place the two large rectangles right sides together and cut space for the arm “holes” at the top sides of your fabric… I just eyeballed it… if anyone knows the “rules” about how to determine the specific measurements for making a cut like this, please let me know and I’ll update these instructions. For now, here’s a little drawing for you to at least get an idea of what I’m talking about:
  4. Sew a ¼” hem along the top of both rectangles, starting and stopping at the cut outs for the arm holes.
  5. Press the strips of coordinating fabric in half, long edges and wrong sides together.
  6. For each rectangle and strip, match the raw edge at the bottom of the dress fabric with the raw edges of your pressed strip and sew the coordinating hem fabric to the dress fabric, using a 1/2” seam allowance.
  7. Using elastic thread in the bobbin, and a coordinating thread on top, start just under the top hem of the dress and sew multiple straight rows, ¼” apart, across the top of the dress fabric. The last line of stitching should be even with the bottom of the arm holes you cut. (DEFINITELY test sewing a few rows of the elastic thread on a scrap piece of your fabric. You can read about another project I did with elastic thread here). Do this step for both the front and back dress fabrics.
  8. Sew the sides of the front and back of the dress right sides together, stopping at the bottom of the arm holes. Be sure to match up the seam where the hem fabric meets the dress fabric.
  9. Now all you have to do is make some 1/2” binding from your coordinating fabric (if you’re not familiar, you can Google “how to make double fold bias tape” for lots of tutorials), encase the raw edges of the arm hole in the binding, pin and sew it, leaving enough on each end to tie at the shoulders and repeat for the other arm hole.

All the “figuring” was done for the tiered skirt I made Elle. I just followed the very talented LiEr of Ikat Bag’s instructions here.
Sometimes I miss the days when a piece of tissue paper was all it took to transform oneself into a super hero!

{Photos by Elemental Image}


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