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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Sewing a Summer Dress for a Little Girl

After making an outfit for my little nephew, my niece would not be satisfied until she had a new outfit as well. She loves wearing dresses and she is crazy about all things pink. Fortunately I had some fabric left over from a previous project. I quickly cut a her a dress from an old pattern I found among my mom's things and started on her dress. It was ready for her to wear home before she and her brother left later in the day. Let me walk you through this cute idea.

I rummaged through the pattern stash as I did not have the time to draw up a pattern from scratch. The only workable possibility I could find was this one. Hmmm! Well, I had my work cut out for me.

I the back of the jacket out on the fold. I liked the length of the pattern for a dress, but I would have to make the shoulders shorter and the arm smaller as my niece was much younger than the age bracket of the pattern. The neckline would be perfect.

Here you can see that I have lifted the arm, shortened the shoulder, added a little length and made the dress wider to the bottom.

I cut the front on the the fold as well as I would not be adding buttons. The arm and shoulder were adjusted similar to the back. The neckline in the front was dropped quite a bit so that the head would be able to fit through it without the use of fastenings. I also made the front wider and longer to match the back.

Seeing as I have changed the pattern considerably, I had to cut new facings for the hemline. Simply cut the neckline, front and back, and add about 5 cm width for the facings. I laid the facings to match the neckline to clarify what I have done.

The pattern had a short sleeve included. Normally, the top of the sleeve would have to be shortened for the smaller armhole, but I decided to keep it as is and to rather add a pleat to the sleeve. I'll show you more about this later. I shortened the sleeve considerably and made it narrower towards the bottom of the arm. This would result in a sleeve that resembled a frill, more than an actual sleeve. I cut two of these.

Notice the change in pattern direction on the sleeve. Consider this if your fabric has a definite pattern.

I decided to tailor the sleeve even more under the arm and accordingly cut even more fabric away here, working on the fold.

Finally I was satisfied with the shape of the sleeve.

Since I cut the facings from offcut pieces of fabric (and not on the fold), I had to sew the pieces together.

I pinned and sewed the shoulders together.

After ironing the seam open, I pinned the sleeves in place. Can you see the pleat I folded right at the top of the shoulder?

I then attached the sleeves with a seam allowance of 1,5 cm. This seam allowance would be maintained throughout.

I cut some stiffening for the facings and ironed it on.

I pinned and sewed the front facing to the back facing.

I then pinned ...

... and sewed the facings onto the neckline of the dress.

Trim the neckline to fold over neatly. Fold it over and iron flat.

I now measured two small lengths of elastic, each approximately 20 cm in length. I stretched it out and pinned it to the back and front of the dress between the bust and the waist lines.

I sewed the elastic onto the inside of the dress, stretching it out as I sewed.

Here is a clearer picture of me stretching the elastic out in the sewing process.

It was now time to pin and sew the side seams.

I hemmed the sleeves with a rolled hem.

Hem both sleeves.

The dress also received a rolled hem at the bottom.

In a very short period of time my very happy niece was prancing about in her girly pink dress.

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