There was this cute 'Let's play dress up' fabric in my stash covered with little dresses. I've made ruffled skirts before, but I decided to attach a bodice to the skirt. You can't make just a skirt out of fabric printed with little dresses, but I didn't have a real pattern. So, I made a pattern up. Please check out the post at Kuky Ideas that inspired this dress because I realize that this tutorial might be very confusing. Baby Girl is enjoying the dress and I worked at praying unceasingly while I was sewing, so I consider this is success.
The fabric was 42" wide. I went with that for the deepest part (12") of the skirt portion of the dress. I wanted to make a roomy dress with a 24" waist, so the gathering would be pretty loose on that first ruffle that would attach to the bodice. The long, thin piece is 6" deep and 84" long (the photo doesn't show the entire strip). I cut two 42" pieces and sewed them together. This will be gathered to fit onto the bottom of the 12" deep ruffle.
Always iron your seams flat. I try to pink them when I can. All the seams and ruffles were eventually pinked on this dress- I don't have a serger.
To make a ruffle, sew two unsealed lines at the top of the fabric. Take the two threads that came from the bobbin (it will be on the bottom of the stitching- ignore the two threads coming from the top of the stitching) and pull gently, gathering the fabric into a ruffle that can be adjusted for length and evenness.
I use a magnetic pin holder. It's not as cute as a cushion, but I don't have to even look at it while I am sewing and putting pins on it.
Make patch pockets if you like. I sewed two squares together for each pocket with right sides together, turned them inside out and ironed flat. Then, I pinned and stitched to the wider middle ruffle. Don't forget to secure the pocket opening with a few back and forth stitches.
It helps to have a helpful big daughter to iron your rolled hems. And there is nothing wrong with a bit of Yo Gabba Gabba (on dvd- no commercials!) for the little ones, either.
The Bodice- I cut two 14'' by 14'' pieces of fabric. I sewed a narrow rolled hem on the sides, leaving the bottom edge raw. Then I made a casing for the top large enough to put a inch-thick ribbon through for a ruched neckline. After the casing is made, sew the pieces together, going half way up the sides, starting at the bottom. Make sure to sew good sides together and leave at least four inches from the top for the arm holes.
Line up your ruffles to be even with the raw edge of the upper layer - line up narrow, long ruffle to match the bottom of the middle wider ruffle with right sides together- sew the ruffle to the straight edge- then turn inside out and sew the side seam- then put right sides together and sew the two ruffles to the bodice. Go to this tutorial for much clearer instructions I also topstitched everything when the dress was all together.
Even though it is only fourteen inches long, use a large safety pin to help you get the ribbon through the casing. The front and the back portions of the bodice will have the threaded ribbon. Then, try the dress on your girl and scrunch the ribbon and tie securely.
Here is a close up, though fuzzy photo of the neckline. It worked! I never tried it before. I got the idea for the ribbon-through-casing neckline from Family Fun magazine where they used an old t-shirt to make a sundress for a little one.
"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta