For today's tutorial, I am going to share with you a home-made pattern shared on my quilting blog http://moderntraditionquilts.blogspot.com. I hope you can enjoy this quick and easy smocked summer dress.
My little daughter and I would like to show you our fast and quick Summer Sun Dress. She currently wears a size 4 and at the end of this blog entry, I will add a chart to reference other basic sizes.
For starters, we needed to measure the width around her chest to determine how much fabric to buy. We chose three different fabrics that were schirred--often called "smocked" fabric at our local JoAnn's fabric store. Schirred fabric has an elastic on the back side sewn with a decorative stitch on the top side to mimic hand smocking (see close-up of fabric shown below). However, if you've followed my blog in the past, you'll notice that I have created tutorials featuring hand-smocking and the process of pleating. In short, I can't call this cheater fabric "smocking" because the hard stuff has already been done. Okay, climbing off my soap-box.
A US Size 4 dress requires 5/8 yard for go around a 21 inch chest and 20 inches of gross-grain ribbon.
To sew this fast and easy dress, pin right sides together, then sew down the outside seam. If you are lucky enough to have a serger, this can be completed in one step. As I do not own one, it is necessary to create a "serged" seam by first sewing a straight stitch at 5/8 inches wide, then sewing outside this line using a zig-zag stitch.
ADDING THE SHOULDER STRAPS:
Once the one and only seam is sewn, cut two gross-grain ribbon straps measuring 10 inches long. Tip! I like to melt the ends of my ribbon so they don't fray. So the next step may be silly, but your dress will last laundering a lot longer. Light a candle and hold the raw edges of the strap next to, but not in the flame. This will melt and sear those loose threads closed so they won't fray.
For a size 4 dress, measure the chest opening from each side. The straps connect to the dress at three inches in from the right and left hand sides with a 5 inch space between them. I recommend measuring this distance on your little one prior to sewing to ensure a proper fit.
Pin each strap so 1 inch hangs over the schirred/smocked edge and sew these straps down creating a square shape.
Loop the front ribbon to the back and repeat the same measurements and pinning. Sew the straps in place.
Voila! You are left with a dress that even can stay on while jumping on the trampoline! A perfect summer dress.
Note: To create the other sizes, I referenced the US Standard Clothing Charts on Wikepedia and have not test-sewn these dress sizes. They are only given as good-faith estimates and require you to measure your little one as described in the tutorial.
- Size 6 Months; 1/2 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 16.5 inches around chest and 14 inches of ribbon (cut into two 7 inch straps).
- Size 12 Months: 5/8 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 18.5 inches around chest and 16 inches of ribbon (cut into two 8 inch straps).
- Size 2: 2/3 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 20 inches around chest and 18 inches of ribbon (cut into two 9 inch straps).
- Size 3: 2/3 yard of pre-smocked fabric for 20.5inches around chest and 18 inches of ribbon (cut into two 9 inch straps).
- Size 4: Follow the Tutorial! 3/4 yards of pre-smocked fabric and 20 inches of ribbon (cut into two 10 inch lengths).
- Size 6: 7/8 yard of pre-smocked fabric to fit a 23 inch around chest and 22 inches of ribbon (cut into two 11 inch lengths).