This project has been written by Lynne Sharpe. Lynne is a Textile Artist who runs The Make It Room from Howe Green near Chelmsford in Essex. Lynne teaches a wide range of craft workshops and courses – feltmaking, beginners sewing, dressmaking, lampshade making, rag rugs, embroidery, knitting, crochet and painted furniture and decoupage. Find out more by visiting http://www.themakeitroom.co.uk/
This is a lovely dress to make for a little girl and can be created using four fat quarters and some ribbon, here is it made using Nel Whatmore’s beautiful Eden fabric collection kindly provided by Coats Crafts. It can easily be scaled up to make a dress for an older child or adult, we teach this regularly as a workshop at The Make It Room! The sizing below will fit a 2 year old but you can increase the sizing by making the strips a little wider and longer and increasing the depth and width of the bottom strip.
4 Fat Quarters of fabric
2 metres of ribbon
Making the Dress
Lay your fabrics out and decide which fabric to use where – I usually make the front and back the same using three different fabrics for the panels with a co-ordinating piece around the bottom.
Cut 2 centre strips 15cm x 40 cm
Cut 2 side panel strips 13cm x 40cm
Cut 2 more side panel strips 13cm x 40cm
Cut 2 bottom strips 16cm x 38 cm
Using a 1 cm (⅜inch) seam allowance unless otherwise stated, sew the three panels together for front and the three panels for the back together (two side panels and centre panel). Placing long sides right sides together and machine, secure each end by back stitching to ensure they do not come undone. Finish each edge with a zigzag stitch or use an overlocker as shown in the picture.
Give the sewn seams a really good press on both sides, both seams ironed towards the centre panel.
Top stitch along the seam to give a lovely finish, use a slightly longer stitch, press again.
Press both bottom panels in half lengthways, this will give a crisp finish to the bottom hem of the dress.
Matching seam lines and top, pin sides together and machine attaching the front to the back. Zigzag or overlock sides, press well inside and out.
Fold bottom edge along previously ironed crease to the inside and press again with iron. Turn dress inside out and turn a small hem on inside of lower edge and pin through all layers on right side.
This will produce a neat edge on both the inside and outside. Topstitch on outside.
Cut a triangle off each corner at the top for the armhole, measure 5cm along the top and 7cm down the side to measure the triangle.
With your iron turn a narrow seam around armhole and then a 1 cm seam, you will be able to curve this slightly as the fabric here is cut on the bias – top stitch on the outside to give a neat finish.
Turn the dress inside out fold a quarter of an inch seam along the top edge with your iron, then turn 1.5cm seam. Sew along this seam on the outside to make casing for the ribbon.
Thread ribbon through on each side and knot for shoulder, adjust to fit when worn. Gather the front and back along the ribbon, it may be necessary to put a small stitch at each edge of casing too prevent the ends of the ribbon slipping.