Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sewing Lessons & Her Perfect Play Day Dress {a tutorial}

 Learning to sew was super exciting for me and my three sisters. Mom and Nanny made it that way. When one of my favorite little girl people called me (on Christmas Eve, in fact!) and asked me to help her make a dress "next time you come to my house", I was so thrilled and so humbled. I got to thinking right away about what style of dress to make with her, so she wouldn't get bored with the sometimes-too-time-consuming-even-for-me-little-girl-dress-patterns. I immediately thought of this simple, but sweet, t-shirt dress. We've been making them for our little friends for years now, and every kind of little girl loves them.

When you make this dress with your own little girl, (niece, cousin, friend, etc), use this time to teach her safety around the sewing machine, iron, scissors, and pins. Let her choose her own favorite color t-shirt and the fabric she wants to use. Even if the combination is a little off, she'll be so excited with the finished dress, that you'll forget about it not matching! Just have fun!

Her Perfect Play Day Dress Tutorial
Instructions following pictures, left to right. 
1. Help her choose her t-shirt and fabric. 
2. Measure 8 1/2" -9" down from the shoulder seam.
3. Cut excess off tee.
4. At 1/4" sew bias tape around edge of raw tee.

 5. Measure your girl from the back of her neck
to where she wants her dress to finish. 
Subtract the t-shirt's 8 1/2" to find your skirt length. 
Cut that length plus 2" x 2 fabric widths.
6. Cut a few inches of excess off selvages.
7. Sew sides seams of skirt pieces right sides together (not shown). 
Run a gathering stitch around the top of your skirt piece. 
(Method used here is shown and explained
in my book, Modern Prairie Sewing!)
 8. Put t-shirt inside skirt piece, right sides together. 
Match at side seams and pin in place.
9. Gather skirt piece to match width of unstretched tee.
Disperse gathers and pin in place.
10. Use a finishing stitch (preferably, a serge stitch)
at 1/4". Make sure you didn't catch any
of her t-shirt. Trim off slight excess.
11. Finish her dress with a simple hem. Folding the raw 
edge in and over, encasing the raw skirt edge.

Her dress is done! She's happy and you're happy. Time well spent!

Patience and I had so much fun sewing together! And she looked absolutely
beautiful in her own little Perfect Play Day dress!
(This little dress model is going to Patience too!)
xo Abi

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