Last week I finished another new dress for Freja. I based the dress on this one from Sewing in No Man's Land, but made it much smaller and with a button in the back instead of the front. I've had this orange circle fabric floating around for a few weeks and couldn't settle on which project to do (really I was feeling a bit silly for making Freja another summer dress - but I suppose she doesn't have anything in orange).
Freja is constantly practicing her new trick of standing unsupported, and dresses are becoming more and more practical - I do try to avoid long dresses for crawlers. Unfortunately her other new trick is removing her diaper, so I may be making a matching diaper cover soon.
I chose to put a rather large orange button in the back, mostly because that's what I had in my basket at the moment, but also because I liked it. You can easily adjust the button's location.
Cut the fabric either using the length and width from an existing dress, or in roughly the shape and size below. On the second dress I made, I actually cut the arm hole a bit lower then in the shot below by about an inch. Because you are gathering the top, you don't need to get the measurements too exact, and you can easily adjust the length.
The front and back are the same, so you need to cut two pieces.
Cut two shoulder ruffle/straps about 12 inches and whatever width you like - longer width = bigger ruffles. You will also need to cut some bias strips using either the same fabric, or a complimentary fabric. Cut your bias strips 4 times as wide as the fabric you want at the neckline. I used strips about 2 inches wide which makes the neckline about 1/2 inch. There are many tutorials out there, but there is a good one here.
With right sides together, sew front and back pieces together down the sides.
Fold the bottom up twice to get a clean hem along the bottom and stitch all the way around.
Fold the arm sections under one time and hem along the curve.
On each of the shoulder ruffle, fold over and sew along the outer curve.
Sewing the shoulder ruffles to the dress keeping the raw side lined up the the raw neckline of the dress. To hide the raw side, fold a half inch of the end of the ruffle over before sewing the two pieces together.
I chose to add a button in the back to make it easy to get on and off. Clip a few inches in the back and sew the edges.
Using a long stitch start at the button and sew all the way around the neckline. Gather the fabric together until the desired size, and tie off the ends of the thread.
Using bias strips, fold the strip over the rough edge of the neckline.
Pin the strip in place.
Sew along the bias strip making sure you capture both sides of the strip as well as the gathered neckline. I went back and put two sets of stitches along the neckline because I liked the way it looked.
Make a small strip of fabric for the button.
Open the bias strip and sew the loop into the hole, and attach the button. You could do several buttons if you want a longer opening.
Now I'm working on a little dress just like this for Alice.
I shared this at Keep Calm and Craft On