It probably would have been cheaper to buy a little dress at Target but then I wouldn't have had the pleasure of making it.
The fabric was from back in the days when I was working as a buyer for dress fabric in a Department Store, 1980's, light poly-cotton. Great for washing, drying in the dryer and no need to iron. I added a 3" hem so it can be let down as she grows.
How did I make it?
I took her measurements;
- chest at armpit + 1 inch for ease (20")
- length from armpit to approx waist + 1" for hem and seam allowances (5 1/2')
- length from armpit to mid knee + hem allowance (14"+3"hem)
Cut the fabric
fabric 1 (pink check)
Measurement No 2, In this case 5 1/2 " deep across the width of the fabric (selvedge to selvedge 45" )
fabric 2 (flower print)
Measurement No 3 less measurement 2 , in this case 12", across the fabric to match fabric 1.
4 pieces 15" x 2" for straps
Construction - straps
Sew straps so that they have a finished size of about 3/4".
There are lots of different ways you can do this, so quick some slow.
I like to sew the slow way.
I sew together the edges on the wrong side and then turn through.
Construction - Body
Turn over small hem at top edge and sew down with a straight stitch.
Using tailors chalk or some other removable marker,
Mark 7 lines across fabric at equal distances from each other as a guide for attaching the shirring elastic, (see note at end).
Sew the edges together matching the elastic ends. I then sew this seam flat so it doesn't irritate the wearer.
Turn up your bottom hem at a measurement equal to the length from armpit to mid knee. I added a wide hem so that it could be let down.
Attaching the straps
The join in the fabric now sits at centre back
Place your back straps to sit just inside your front staps and attach.
With all those words you can see why it took so long. I'm sure I would have been quicker if I hadn't been in this wheelchair.
Now I need to make a little flower to go onto a hair-clip to finish it off.
Note about shirring
Nearly every sewing machine manufacturer has a different recommended method of doing this. Some wind the elastic onto the bobbin, some have a special foot attachment. In some classrooms I would have 4 or 5 different machine brands and some of them were so old that shirring elastic hadn't been invented, so I devised this method for old machines and no attachments.
Set you machine to zig zag at about 2.5 length and 1.8 width. The needle should swing just either side of the elastic.
Tie a knot at the starting end and zig zag into position using your marked line as a guide. Leave a tail of about 5". Do this for each line. DO NOT GATHER AS YOU SEW.
Make sure the beginning of each piece of elastic is secure by sewing a line of straight stitch down the edge.
Pull up your elastic like gathering thread to the size required and secure the ends. If you pull the fabric top and bottom you will find that the elastic will align itself.