This too cute dress is very easy to make, since we shortcut a bit with the t shirt!
- Small amount of fabric - 1/2 metre if getting it cut with plently left over, or a fat quarter would be enough too.
- T shirt (I used a size two)
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine
- Overlocker optional.
There are a few modifications that I would make next time, but otherwise it worked well.
To start with measure the bottom of the t shirt. The fabric skirt will be twice as long, so multiply this number by four. (It would be really bad if you were a maths teacher, and you only multiplied this number by two, and cut the fabric half as long as it would have been.) The yellow shirt that I used was 31 cm wide, so my fabric should have been 124cm long plus a little bit more for seams (this is not an exact project, so a bit bigger or smaller is ok.)
Cut the fabric as wide as you need it (four times the width of the shirt) and as long as you want it. I cut it 20cm + seam allowance, which was probably too much. (I put a generous hem on it and will probably take it up a bit more.
Don't cut it in two pieces like I did accidentally. Luckily it was a forgiving fabric and I ws able to stitch it back together. If you were cutting from a fat quarter (rather than 112cm wide fabric cut by the metre) then you may need to stitch the two pieces together anyway.
With right sides together pin then stitch the fabric into one long loop. I used the overlocker, but you could just use a regular sewing machine. You should now have one long loop, twice the width of your shirt.
Sort out the edges of the loop. I put a rolled hem for the bottom (which I ended up changing) and then just overlocked the top edge so it wouldn't be raw.
Step 5 (not pictured):
Mark with a dressmaker's pencil or similar four evenly spaced marks on the loop. That is, put a mark where you want the two sides to sit and the front centre and back centre. This is to make sure that your gather is even (or even-ish)
Set your sewing machine to very large, loose stitches, about 3cm from the top edge. Stitch all the way around the loop. This thread will be removed later so no need to fuss about colour matching or being super straight and perfect. Do not tie off at the beginning or the end.
Pull the thread through so that the skirt gathers up. You want to make the skirt about half it's size; if in doubt go smaller since it's easier to let it out than it is to gather it in. If you do need to gather it in again, pull on the stitching to tighten it up.
Pin the skirt to the shirt. The skirt should be upside down an wrong side out; the shirt should be right side out. To make sure that you have an even gather, only use four pins initially - pin the marks from Step 5 to the side seams and front and back centre of the shirt. For a toddler sized dress, this will be enough pins.
In hindsight, I wish that I had cut the hem off the shirt, or sewn the skirt above it. I may yet go back and fix this, but I won't get another sewing day for months so I wanted to post this before then!
Stitch the skirt to the shirt, smoothing down the gather as you go. You may need to adjust the gather; be guided by the four pins, and estimate an even gather between every two pins.
I'm not sure how this would go using an overlocker; I will try that next. If you did do this, then you could skip overlocking the top of the skirt in Step 4.
When you have finished sewing the skirt to the shirt, remove the gather thread.
Turn right side out and have a look at the dress. I ended up taking the dress up with a 1.5 inch hem. Since I did the rolled hem underneath, I'm hoping that next year when Chubs is taller I can just rip out the extra hem and I won't need to re-hem underneath.
I'm still not happy with the hem join here. Also keep in mind that I haven't ironed it. I haven't really decided what to do, so I will keep you posted. Chubs is wearing this dress to a birthday party at the playground tomorrow, so that should give it a good 'test run' too.
Final final step: Find a too-cute toddler to wear it!
I hope this tutorial has been useful for you; I plan to update this when I've had a chance to make a few more and iron out the kinks. (Get it, since I didn't iron... oh well.) Please let me know what you think in the comments!
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