Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sew Easy Part 5: Strawberry Vanilla dress

Sew Easy Tutorial: Strawberry Vanilla Dress Front:

halter neck dress sewing tutorial

easy dress pattern
You can read the story behind this series and the first part here. Click here to read the second, third and fourth edition of this series.

As I was bouncing of ideas for this edition in my head, I thought back to what I made when I started sewing again. Duh!....why didn't I think of it earlier. It was a supecute halter-neck dress with a lined bodice. It looked great on little one and was pretty easy to make. You can make this either halter neck or with criss-crossing ties on the back. I will be providing instructions for both.


Fabric: 1 yd if using single color
            1/2 yd each of two co-ordinating colors if using 2

Grosgrain Ribbon: 3/8 inch wide : A little over one yd ( 1/2 yd. if making halter neck)
Elastic: About 6 inches
1 cute button, if you're making halter neck

Regular sewing supplies: Scissor, pencil ( washable marker), measuring tape


1. Measure the child around the waist: lets call it W.

W1 = (W/2) + 2 inches

W2 = 1.5 W

2. Measure the child from where you want the neckline to start and where you want the bodice to end. Lets call it B. Add one inch to it. Lets call it B1

3. Measure the length from where bodice ends and where you want the dress to end.Lets call it S. Add 1 inch to it...this is S1

free dress pattern
From the fabric for skirt cut a rectangle of  W2 wide and S1 length. Set Aside.

cutting bodice for halter neck dress
From the fabric for bodice.

how to sew halter neck dress
Fold it in half widthwise.

cutting out bodice
Now fold it in half again lengthwise.

drafting bodice tutorial
Now at the fold Measure B1 on the length. Mark it A

drafting halter neck bodice
Now measure W1 on the width, starting from fold. Mark it. B

how to draft halter neck bodice
Now where W1 ends, measure 3 inches upwards. Mark it C.

cutting bodice for halter neck dress
Now using your measuring tape, Draw a line from A To C.

free dress pattern
Once you have the straight line use it as a guide to draw a curve ( concave live) below this line.
(You can also use this line as is, but I feel a curved neckline on bodice looks better. I have also see convex
curve on bodice as well and that also looks good, you can go with conve curve if you like it better.)

dress sewing pattern
Cut from A to along this curved line.

how to sew a dress
Also cut from the bottom of A to B to separate out the bodice an lining pieces.

sewing belt loops with grosgrain
Cut two pieces of ribbon, about 2.5 inches each. (Mine are bigger but I think a little smaller loops would be better)

attaching loops to halter neck bodice

Mark 3 inches from the ends of bodice on the curved line, on all 4 ends.


Now place the two bodice pieces one over the other right sides together.

Sandwich loops of ribbon pieces at 4inches marks that you made earlier.

Now make a big loop of the remaining ribbon. Sandwich it at the top of neckline, where the curved line ends.

Sew along the curved line, making sure to catch both fabric layers and both ends of the ribbon loops.

Snip out small triangles along the curved line to make the curve turn out smoothly, make sure you don't cut
any of the seams. Snip out the peak of triangle too, but leave at least a small seam allowance, if you cut too close, there's a chance that, ribbons may come undone.

Turn out and iron. This is where little one decided to help me :D

Now open the two layers and join at the ends right sides together to close the bodice.

Now lets work on the skirt:
Sew the sides right side together to make a tube.

Sew two parallel seams at the top of the tube and pull bobbin threads to gather. Try to keep more gathers on the front of the skirt. ( That is away from the joining seam, because that would go on the back.) Stop when the width of the tube becomes equal to the width of the bodice.

Sew the bodice and the skirt, right sides together. Make sure that the seam of the skirt lines up with the seam of the bodice.

Leaving about one inch gap from one of the ribbon loops.

Now insert the elastic. Remember we are adding elastic to  only the back of the dress. So just insert the elastic 1inches out from the loops. Gather the bodice between the elastic so the total length of bodice becomes half of what it was earlier. This step is optional, but having an elastic in the back would ensure that the dress fits your little one for longer time.

Stitch the elastic in place( go over it 3-4 times for strength) and sew over the gap to join the bodice fully to the skirt. Turn out. Cut the bigger Ribbon loop at the neck to mak two separate ties

Here's how you will tie the ribbon.

sewing strawberry vanilla dress
lined bodice dress tutorial

Hem the bottom of the dress. And Done!

Doesn't it remind you of a cold, strawberry vanilla fresh!  andYum!

Halter neck:
If you'd rather make a halter neck, just skip the part where you add small ribbon loops to the bodice, just add the bigger loop. Once you make the dress, and cut the ribbon into two try the dress on you little one, and measure how much ribbon you would need to tie it at the back of her neck. Now snip of the rest of the ribbon and make a loop from one end of the ribbon. Sew a cute button on the other end of the ribbon. Now you can button these ties behind her neck. I strongly recommend against tying the ribbon behind a child's neck. Thats a big starngulation hazard for a little one.

You have a variety of options for the skirt as well. You can use two layers instead of one. Make the top layer about half of the bottom layer and you have a frilly flouncy dress.

Add a frill of gathered fabric ( either bodice fabric or some other coordinating fabric) at the hemline, instead of plain hem. That would really add a lot of interest to the dress.

Add a bias tape instead of plain hem.

So there you have it!  Lined bodice dress. Smile and Sew!

strawberry vanilla dress pattern