Monday, June 21, 2010

A New Dress for Ava (and a tutorial for you!)

Several months ago my mom gave me this beautiful piece of batik fabric. She was making a quilt and had some left over and thought I might be able to make something for A. James out of it.

Once again, I had the "it is too pretty to cut" syndrome and refused to even think about doing anything with it and put it in with the rest of the fabric I am hoarding. Don't judge, you know you are doing it too.

Well, lately A. James refuses to wear anything but dresses. I understand. I also dread wearing pants. The problem is we don't have that many dresses that aren't made for fancy occasions (note: we did not purchase fancy occasion dresses, these (like everything else she owns) have been passed down). However, there is an overabundance of "fancy dresses" and not enough "fun-play dresses."

Then I remembered the fabric and decided to try something. I was going to make her a skirt. Then I changed my mind. That would require me to cut the fabric. Yikes. So, I decided to make a simple dress. Mainly, because I doubt my skill level (or lack thereof) would allow me to do anything else.

So here goes: A tutorial. Simple dress. Enjoy.

My fabric was about 23 inches wide and 27 inches long.

1) To make the casing for the elastic turn over fabric one inch. Iron it. Turn it over another inch. Iron some more.

2) Unfolded it. There should be some nice creases in the fabric.

3) Now this is going to sound crazy. You are going to question my logic and sewing ability. However, TRUST ME. Or, if you don't believe me---visit this site. Lay your fabric WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. That is right. You are going to sew the seam, but the right side of your fabric will be facing you. Crazy. I know.

4) Next, flip the fabric and sew along the fabric right sides together. Flip it again. Congrats you just made a French Seam.

5) Remember those creases from earlier? Now is the time to fold them down. Like so.

6) This will be the casing for your elastic. You need to sew around the bottom, but leave a small opening (a inch or two) to add the elastic in. Make sure you backstitch to keep this from raveling.

7) Now we make the little hoop for the ribbon to go through. This step is not required. You might not want to loop the ribbon. It takes more time and if you want a "true" simple dress you can just skip this part and add in your elastic.

8) Hoop. Cut a small rectangle of fabric. Sorry, this isn't very specific. Fold it in half. Iron.

9) Fold each side to the middle to meet the crease. Like so. Now sew it down.

10) Now here is a kind of tricky part. I dont know if there is an easier way to do this. Probably. Let me know if you are aware of one. Find the middle of the dress. Just fold in half. Iron.

11) Take your little folded, fabric rectangle and put in the the middle of the iron crease. Pick out the seam there and slide the fabric in.

12) Okay. Now fold the other end over to the front side and tuck it in. Pin and sew that bad boy down.13) Slip your elastic into the little hole you left open (Adding on a safety pin helps) and work it through. Be sure to watch the other end and not let it slip into the other side to be lost forever.

14) When you've made it all the way through, sew both ends of elastic together. Sew up the opening. Put your dress on your little model. This part is pretty tricky.

15) Cut a piece of ribbon big enough to fit around her neck. Tie. Watch her flaunt her new dress.



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