Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flicker Friends Guest Post: Amanda from Double Stitching

Welcome Amanda from Double Stitching!

My husband and I have identical twin daughters who turned two this spring and I love making dresses for them!  In the summer, I think it's so nice to have a dress that's comfortable for a little girl to play in while still looking adorable.  It's even better if it's also quick for mama (or grandma or whoever!) to sew.  Since I have to make two of everything, I'm all about simple and fast!  Today I'm going to share with you a sweet little dress that is perfect for summer!

This dress is so easy to customize and you don't even need a pattern!  Plus your little one will be happy and comfy because she can still run, jump and do everything else a kid should do without losing her "belle of the ball" status :)


For the dress:
- 3/4 - 1 yard main fabric (depending on size)
- 1/2 yard coordinating fabric (for all sizes)
- 1" wide elastic, cut to your child's chest measurement plus 1"
- sewing stuff (thread, scissors or rotary cutter/mat, machine)

For the flower pin/brooch (optional):
- scraps of coordinating fabric (enough to cut 6 circles, each 3" in diameter)
- button, at least 3/4" diameter (plastic or fabric covered)
- scrap of felt 
- hot glue gun OR hand sewing needle & thread

You will just need two measurements to make this dress - chest and length.  For the chest measurement, measure all the way around the chest, right beneath the armpit.  For the length, measure from just under the armpit down to the knee (or wherever you want the dress to fall).

From your main fabric, cut one piece from selvage to selvage by whatever your length measurement was.  For a 2T, I cut 18" long and for a size 6, I cut 23".  For my exceptionally tall 2 year olds, I cut 20" and it falls below the knee now (but they might still be able to wear it next year...fingers crossed!).

From your coordinating fabric, cut one piece from selvage to selvage that is 9" long (for all sizes).  This will be the bottom band.  For the straps, cut 2 pieces from your coordinating fabric.  For the halter style straps, I cut mine 26" long and 4" wide.  If you prefer regular straps, I would cut them about 10" long.  You can always cut off excess later.  (Note all my pieces are still folded in this picture.)

Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch both your main fabric and bottom band fabric right sides together along the selvage edge (short sides).  This will be your center back seam.  You can finish the seam if you like.  I personally prefer the way it looks, but the selvage edges won't fray if you leave it unfinished.

Fold the bottom band piece in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Press with your iron.

Now slip the bottom band up over the main dress piece, matching up your center back seam and lining up the raw edges.  Pin in place and stitch with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Finish the seam by serging, zig zag stitching, or trimming with pinking shears.  Flip the band down and press the seam up towards the dress.  Topstitch 1/8" from the seam.


Fold the top edge of the dress over 1/4" all the way around and press.  As you can see, I tend to eyeball this measurement :)

The next part you will definitely want to measure!  Fold the top of the dress over 3 1/4" inches (so make marks at 6 1/2" and fold to that line) and press.  This will give you a 2" ruffle at the top, a 1" casing for your elastic and 1/4" of wiggle room.

Stitch this down, close to the edge, leaving about 3" open to insert your elastic.

Next you need to make a line of stitches that will be the top of your elastic casing/bottom of your ruffle.  On my machine, there is a convenient screw hole that is 2" from the needle.  If you don't have any marks on your machine that you can use, you can make a temporary guide with a piece of masking tape or even make a mark with a sharpie if you think you might use a 2" guide often enough.

Stitch 2" down from the top of your fold all the way around the top of the dress.

Use a safety pin to feed your elastic through the lower casing.  Make sure the elastic hasn't gotten twisted anywhere, then overlap the ends using your 1" extra, pin the ends together and stitch using a zig zag stitch.

Slip the elastic ends up into the casing, switch back to straight stitch (no one else forgets to do that, right?) and close up the hole.  This is optional, but to help keep your elastic from getting twisted, find where the approximate side seams of the dress would be and run a row of stitches vertically over the elastic down each side.

For the straps, the method will be similar to making bias tape.  First fold each strap in half lengthwise and press.  Then open it up and fold each short side in 1/4" then press each long side to the middle crease.  Fold the whole thing in half lengthwise once more and press.  Stitch around the 3 open sides and you have straps!

Fold the dress in half along the center back seam and use a pin to mark the center front.  For toddler sizes, mark 2.5" from center on each side for strap placement.  For older girls, mark out 2.75" - 3" from center.  You can also try it on your little one to get the placement you desire.

Pin each strap in place and stitch down over the top line of stitches from your elastic casing.  If you are making regular straps instead of halter straps, repeat these steps to attach them to the back of the dress.

At this point, you could tie the straps in a bow and call it done!

I wanted to add a little something extra, so let's continue with the flower pin/brooch.  This safety pins onto the dress so you can remove it for washing.  It also makes a great hair clip!  You should have 6 circles, each 3" in diameter.  Also cut a scrap of felt into a 1" diameter circle and pin a medium sized safety pin through it.

Fold each circle in half, wrong sides together.  Place a dab of hot glue in the center of each circle, near the fold.  Fold in half again, gluing it into a quarter circle.  If you aren't a hot-gluer, you could alternately place a couple of quick hand stitches at the point of each quarter circle.

Take your felt circle and place it pin side down.  Cover it with a layer of hot glue and place 3 of the fabric triangles on it, leaving equal space in between.  Then repeat, layering on the 3 remaining triangles.  If you are hand sewing, stitch all the triangles down, but keep the stitches close to the center of the circle of felt.

Now cover up your glued/stitched center with something cute!  I used a fabric covered button, but a plastic button would also be great.  A rolled fabric rosette is adorable as well.

Use the safety pin to attach the flower to the dress and you are done!

Run outside and enjoy the summer!

This also makes a great 4th of July dress!  On this version, I made the straps skinnier (ran out of fabric, oops!) and omitted the flower pin.

Thanks again for having me today!  I hope everyone has a fabulous summer!

Related Posts


  1. This dress is so cute! Love the red, white, and blue fabric on the bottom dress.

    1. Thanks, Shannon! That patriotic fabric is from JoAnn's! It's super cute in person!

  2. I imagine it would be so fun to sew for twin girls ~ she did a wonderful job on the tutorial !

    1. Thanks so much! It is fun to sew for my girlies...except if it's something with a lot of buttonholes, LOL :)

  3. I think it's so fun you sew everything in double! Hehe. Such a cute dress!

  4. Darling girls and fabric choices and bow. :)

    1. Thanks, Emily! Isn't that fabric the cutest? I have a serious love for birds lately!

  5. Way too cute... gonna make this for my almost 1 year old daughter. :) tusks so much for the sweet little summer dress idea. :)

  6. I LOVE this! I also have identical twin girls would turned 2 in March. I will be making some of these for them asap!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.