Today I am sharing a quick and comfy summer sundress with you all that I made without a pattern - in just a couple of hours, (which is always so satisfying, I love instant gratification projects!)
To start this dress I took one of my daughter's t-shirts and folded it in half and traced it onto my fabric (in this case a stripy cotton knit) also on the fold. I followed the t-shirt's shoulder onto natural curve of the sleeve until it went a couple of inches off the shoulder to make a short dolman sleeve, making sure I cut back in time to follow the curve of the underarm seam. After cutting one piece out, I used the first stripy piece as a pattern to cut the second piece. (Make sure you match up your stripes!)
I cut the neck of one of the pieces an inch lower for the front of the top. After both top pieces were cut out, I serged both shoulder seams, both side seams, and along the bottom edge (you could do this with a stretch stitch if you don't have a serger.)
After all the serging was done I folded the neck and arm edges in and sewed along the edges to finish them (I used a coverstitch machine, but twin needles on a regular sewing machine would do the same thing, the main goal here is a finished edge that can still stretch so you don't pop stitches or restrict movement!) If you were making a shirt, you would also hem the shirt in the same way, and then you would be done now! But since we are making a dress, we need to move onto the skirt.
For this dress I am using a quilter's cotton for the skirt; to figure out how much I needed, I just measured how long I wanted the skirt to be, and then multiplied it by 2. (If you have a smaller child you may need less) I started by cutting the fabric into 2 pieces x length I wanted the skirt to be, then I folded them both in half and stacked them on top of each other. I used a sharpie and a french curve to trace the shape of the sides and a pocket onto the salvage side of the fabric.
Here's what it looks like all cut out, I added some very high tech visual aids to show you what my skirt looked like, (I have a 9 year-old that wears 12-slim,) but you can use this same shape in the size your child needs for your skirt.
Here are all the pieces laid out, there are 2 skirt pieces that look like this, a piece of 1" elastic cut to the size of my daughter's waist, and the top we made earlier. to sew the side seams of the skirt, put the right sides of your fabric together and sew down the sides (around the pockets and all) and then serge or zig zag stitch along all the edges. Now give your skirt a good iron on all the seams.
Sew your piece of elastic into a loop, and then fold it into quarters and mark with pins (4 pins total) and then do the same quarter marking on the skirt. now match up your 1/4 pins on your skirt and elastic, and while stretching your elastic sew your skirt to the elastic using a straight stitch as close to the edge of your elastic as you can. (I have 1/2" of fabric under the elastic) I am afraid I don't have any pictures of this process, as it takes two hands to stretch and pull at all the pieces, so hopefully this makes sense!
The end result of this process is a completed skirt with pockets that you *could* be done with if you just wanted to add a hem, without having to do any manual gathering, the elastic does all that for you!
For the hem of this dress I folded up an inch and top stitched all the way around the edge, then I added a pintuck for interest, and to give the hem a little more body. To add the pintuck I just folded 2 inches of hem up and sewed another line of stitching 3/8" over from the last line of stitching. After the hem and tuck were sewn, I steam ironed everything really well.
Next I added the top to the elastic in the same way that I added the pins, with the 4 pins 1/4 of the way around etc. Here is what the dress looks like turned inside-out , you can see the 1/2" of skirt fabric, and 1/2" of shirt fabric meeting up in the middle of the 1" elastic.
And then here is a close up showing what the elastic looks like on the outside,
And here it is the right way up!
I made this in the evening after my daughter Emmie went to bed, so after I had finished it I went and put it on the table in her room - the next morning she came downstairs wearing it and boy was she excited! I didn't have time to take pictures of her, but I didn't have the heart to ask her to take it off! So I just asked her not to get it messy at school so that I could do a photo shoot with her when she got home!
Emmie says she loves it, and that it is super comfy!
You can sort of see a peek of her pocket in this one, they are perfectly matched and without any extra seams to clutter things up, so you have to look really hard! I love this length too, even though she always wears leggings with skirts, I still like that she can bend (and berry pick in this case) and not worry about how short her shirt is!
The back, I love that the top isn't too tight, or too loose, just right for a little girl, not sloppy, not SEXY (I wish all clothing stores would get that memo for children's clothes!)
I also love this style of sleeve, so comfortable, but stylish.
Anyway, thank you Project Run and Play for having me! I would love to hear if anyone makes one of these dresses, and would like to extend an invitation to everyone to check out my blog! My family is going through some exciting changes right now as we move to South Korea with the Air Force this summer, (I'm actually in transit right now, so I had to write this post in advance!) and we are hoping to settle in quickly and continue crafting, sewing, and decorating our new place, (not to mention touring Asia!)