My name is Sarah from Sew Saucy. I’m so excited to be a part of Heidi’s Made by You Wednesdays! Hopefully this 3-Hour Sundress Tutorial will come in handy for you and the precious little girl in your life. I spent the better part of a week creating and perfecting this design that I came up with. (I don’t always display massive amounts of patience, so this was a big deal for me.)
1.) Measure your child’s length from armpit to where you want the bottom of the dress to fall.
2.) Measure and cut your fabric to the length you measured (45″ fabric folded in half). Do this twice so you have two pieces that are the right length. For my 2-year-old niece (on a long maxi-style dress) it was 24″. I should note that I made this dress for a 2 -year-old, a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old and two pieces of 45″ wide fabric seemed to work well for all three. If you are making it for a infant or smaller child, you could probably get away with less fabric. If you are making one for an older child, you may want more fabric to make it even fuller.
3.) Unfold fabric. Pin and sew the two pieces of fabric right sides together on both ends so the fabric forms a big loop. Then press seams open.
4.) Fold under a 1/4″ hem on one side and stitch it into place.
5.) Grab your accent trim and measure 2″ up from the hem. Pin trim into place all the way around.
6.) On the opposite edge sew a gathering stitch. Instead of sewing one stitch all the way around, I found it was easier to do two different stitches one from seam to seam on the front, and one from seam to seam on the back. This gives you two little strings to pull on either side. I was able to get my gathers a lot more even this way.
7.) Measure you child’s chest just under the armpits. This will be the measurement you use to make the band across the top of the dress. I added 2″ to the length just for ease of getting in and out of the dress and for comfort in wearing it. Cut two strips 4″ wide by the length you measured. (Lucy’s dress was 21″) This will create two bands – an ‘outside band’ and an ‘inside band’.
8.) Press under 3/4″ on each side of the both bands.
9.) Get your trim, pin it to the middle of the outside band. Sew in place.
10.) Mark the center of each band, and the center front and center back of dress on top edge. Line up the front center mark on dress with the center mark on band. Pin in place.
11.) Pin dress between outside and inside bands. This tucks it in so nicely and gives everything a clean finish.
12.) pin ends of band to back center of dress. Allow for about 1/2″ overlap on each band. This will make it easy to give it a finished look.
13.) Pull up gathering stitch all the way around dress and pin in place. I found this to be the most time consuming part of the whole project. It took a while to get everything uniform. Once it’s all pinned, stitch it in place. As you can see, this tucks everything inside your two bands. (You could even use this to make a skirt too. Just measure hips instead of chest. Sew top closed, add buttons, and you’re done!)
14.) To add the top ruffle on top of band, cut a strip of fabric 2″ wide x 45″ (or width of your fabric). Fold in half and press.
15.) To give ruffle a finished end, open up ruffle and fold in 1/4″ of fabric then press and sew closed.
16.) Sew a gathering stitch along raw edge of ruffle. Mark center of ruffle and pin to center of band between outside and inside band. Pin edges of ruffle 1/4″ inside edge of band.
17.) Pull up gathering stitch and pin and sew into place.
18.) Finish one edge of the band. Fold fabric inside to give you a clean edge and sew it in place. Sew 2 buttons onto finished edge.
19. To make button loops cut two strips of fabric 1″ x 4″. Fold in half (right sides together) and sew on 1/4″ seam allowance mark. Trim seam. Flip to right side and press.
20.) Measure loops around buttons. Mark the length you’ll need to fit around buttons and easily being able to undo the buttons. Tuck ends of button loops into unfinished edge of band. Fold all extra fabric inside, pin and sew.
21.) now for the straps. On Lucy the straps were 9″ long. Cut two strips of fabric 4″ by length of strap needed. Press both edges of strap in toward the middle (lengthwise). To finish edges of straps, fold both ends in 1/4″. Fold in half lengthwise and press. (I forgot to take a picture of it folded in half, but just picture double-fold bias tape)
22.) Sleeve ruffles. I wish I had a more definite explanation on how to make the sleeve ruffles, but they were kind of just a make-it-up-as-you-go type of thing. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect because you tuck any extra inside the strap as you go. You want your ruffle to be approximately 1 1/2 times the length of your strap. Since Lucy’s strap was 9″, I made the ruffle 15″ long. Cut into an arc shape.
23.) Fold under a narrow hem on top edge of each ruffle, press, and sew.
24.) Sew a gathering stitch along bottom edge of ruffle. Unfold strap. Pin middle of ruffle to middle of strap. Pin edges of ruffle 1/4″ in from edge of strap. Pull up gathering stitch to fit. Pin in place. Sew along ruffle and along ends of strap to finish the edges.
25.) Safety pin straps in place. I found it a lot better to fit it on your child while it is pinned. That way you can adjust the pins to the exact position and length needed. Once you get the positioning you want, sew them into place.
Tada! You’re done! I added a applique on the band just because I thought it added a little bit.
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