Last week i got to be a guest blogger on Running with Glitter. I made this smocked 4th of July dress for the little lady. Today, I'm sharing the tutorial with you!
Whenever I make clothing from scratch, I like to use an existing piece of clothing to get my measurements. The dress I made is size 2T-3T. All measurements given will yield a dress in that size. if you plan to make a different size dress, adjust your measurements accordingly.
To make this dress, you will need:
1/2 yard each of two different fabrics (that's 1 yd total)
1/2 yard 1/4 in elastic
elastic thread (find it with the other elastic, not with the thread)
.... and a sewing machine and iron of course :)
First, cut the bodice fabric into two 6 in by 20 in rectangles.
Then, measure 4 in down and 2 in toward the middle and cut the top corners off on a diagonal. A rotary cutter and straight edge come in handy for this part.
Then, using your scissors, round the cut, taking out more fabric toward the bottom. Fold the piece in half and match the cut on the other side, then use the first piece as a guide to cut the second. These cuts will form the arm holes.
Next, using the second fabric, cut two 12 in by 20 in rectangles to form the skirt pieces. I planned to add a ruffle, (I just can't help myself) at the bottom of the skirt. If you do not want a ruffle, you may want to lengthen this piece by a few inches.
Using the same fabric, cut two 1.5 in by 20 in strips. These will be used to make the straps.
From the fabric you used for the bodice, cut two 3 in by 40 in strips for the bottom ruffle.
Fold the top edge of both pieces of the bodice toward the wrong side and iron flat.
Then fold it over again, approximately 3/8 in, and iron flat. This will create a casing for the elastic.
Sew down using a seam slightly less than 3/8 in (but more than 1/4 in) to create the casing.
I used French seams on this dress. This step is optional, but it creates a nice finished edge on the inside of the dress, and will make the seam a little stronger. To do this, place the bodice and skirt pieces on top of each other with WRONG sides together. Sew together using a 1/4 in seam allowance.
Open the pieces, and fold over the other direction so that the RIGHT sides are facing each other. Iron the seam flat.
Then sew along the same seam, using a slightly larger seam allowance.
When you open it up, it will look like this.
*** NOTE: iron the seam toward the SKIRT piece. Not the bodice piece like I did. It didn't work well, and i had to use some fancy footwork to fix it.***
After you have sewn both bodice pieces to the two skirt pieces, you should have two pieces that look like this. Pin the two pieces together, matching the seams, and sew the sides together with a French seam, the same way as before.
Press the seams toward the back panel and and top stitch to hold the seam down.
Load your bobbin with elastic thread. Make sure not to stretch the elastic as you load the bobbin. You can wind it by hand, or do it on the machine, but hold the elastic spool in your hand, so that the elastic doesn't stretch as it loads. Insert the bobbin into your machine like normal.
To create the smocking, simply sew straight, evenly spaced lines (mine were about 1/2 in, the spacing is up to you. The closer they are together, the longer the smocking will take.) across the bodice using a long (I used the longest) stitch length, making sure to backstitch at both ends.
The first row will only gather the fabric slightly. Don't worry, keep going.
Continue sewing one row at a time, until you reach the bottom of the bodice.
Sew one last row, with the elastic still in the bobbin, right up against the skirt piece.
After washing the smocking will bunch together even more. Don't worry if it looks like the dress will be too big, it will shrink up after it's washed and dried.
Next, iron the 1.5 in strips to be used for the straps in half lengthwise.
Then fold each side toward the middle and iron the crease.
Lastly, attach the ruffle. Sew together the short ends of the two 3 in by 40 in strips together.
Hem the bottom edge, and use a long running stitch with low tension on the top raw edge. This will be used to gather your ruffle.
Pull on the bottom thread to gather the ruffle, then pin to the skirt, right sides together, evenly distributing the ruffles across the width of the skirt. Use lots of pins. Sew down, remove the pins, and pick out the running stitch.
Lastly, I turned the seam toward the skirt, and top stiched it down.
Tie the straps at the shoulders. It helps to have a model, but you can also use another dressg as a guide, or just wait until you have the new owner present. I also trimmed the ends shorter after tying the knots.
And then take some pictures!
I think she likes it!
And I KNOW I Love the ruffle!