Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time for Summer Sewing! Here is a FREE pattern!

          Its time to start sewing for Summer! Here is a precious little sundress that you can make in no time at all for some lucky little girl. Its so easy! One of my dear sweet customers made this for the shop several months ago. She had seen a dress similar in a catalog for way too much money and knew that she could make one on her own ~ no pattern is really necessary. She used a cute little printed knit (Pink Mod Floral on our website - we still have a little). The fabric hangs perfectly and requires no slip. This little sundress would be a perfect bathing suit cover-up! Okay, so how do you make one? 
1.) Measure the child ~ or adult, as this works for anyone ~ from just under the arm to the proposed finished length. Now measure around the chest and then double this measurement. Cut out a rectangle to these measurements. This will be the entire dress!
Depending on the total width, you might need one width of fabric or more. If you need more then divide the number in half and cut two panels; one for the front and one for the back.
Ruffle ~ This needs to be about twice the width of the skirt. The width of the ruffle is totally up to you. This little sundress has a 4 1/2" wide ruffle. If you are making this for yourself as a "Maxi" dress, the ruffle needs to be probably about 6" wide.
Straps ~ Cut (2) two strips of fabric from 2"-3" wide by around 18" for a little girl or 3"-4" wide by  28" long for an adult.  When you attach the straps to the dress, try it on to adjust to a comfortable length. If they are too long, just cut off whatever is unnecessary.
2.) Preparation ~ First finish the following edges of your pieces with a rolled hem*  in a contrasting thread rather than hemming them: the dress at the top, both sides of the ruffle and both sides of the straps. This is much faster and is prettier by far!
*For perfectly smooth rolled hems, use wooly nylon thread in the upper looper of your serger.
3.) Sewing ~ Sew the dress together into a tube shape. Attach all of the ruffle sections together.
Close-up of bodice shirring.
4.) Shirring ~ about 1/2" down from one edge of the ruffle, shirr 3 rows about 1/4" apart with elastic thread in the bobbin of your sewing machine.
For the dress do the same, but rather than 3 rows, shirr as many rows as you want for the bodice section. 
For the straps, shirr 4 - 10 rows ~ this depends on the width of your straps.
How to Shirr: To wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin, you can start it on the sewing machine as you fill any other bobbin. Then you need to "slow it down" to fill it up the rest of the way. I just hook my finger around the elastic as it goes into the bobbin. This slows it down just enough - like a brake. To shirr, set your machine's stitch length at 4 and sew! Do not cut your threads at the end of each row. Just turn around and go back the other direction until you get enough rows shirred. After you are done at the machine, steam the shirred sections with your iron and watch the magic! It will shrink up beautifully. Do not touch the iron to the elastic thread ~ hold the iron a couple of inches above the fabric.
5.) Finishing ~ Attach the ruffle to the bottom of the dress by pinning it on top of the dress  about 1/2" above the very bottom. (The top edge will look a little like a "lettuce" edge. Cute!)
Try the dress on and pin on the straps where they are most comfortable. Stitch to attach to the sundress and you are done!!!
Post pictures of your little sundresses!


  1. I like the outdoor pictures on the website. Very cool.

  2. Yes! Everything is greening up!