Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Flamingo Knit Dress Tutorial: New and Improved

Free Sewing tutorial: Little Knit Dress
little knit dress sewing tutorial

The Front:
how to make a dress

And the back

I did this guest post over at Momma's Kinda Crafty a few months back. Re-posting it here in case you missed it back then.
This is a very cute ruffled dress and super easy to sew. The tutorial provides the step by step instructions on how to sew this knit dress for a toddler
So what do you need to make this dress? I have made it in one year old size but a bit shorter because it just looks so much better when it is short. I did try a longer look with my earlier version, but had to resort to scissors when my little one ended up looking like a Buddhist monk. No offense of Buddhists, it just wasn't quite the look I was going for :)

Jersey Knit:

Main body : 2 rectangle pieces of 11 inches ( Length) X 13 inches ( Width)
First ruffle:  5 inches( Length) X 26 inches ( wide)
For second and third ruffles:  2 pieces of 5 inches (L) X 13 inches (W)
Elastic: 1/4 inches wide: 24 inches

Shoulder straps: 20 inches X 4inches
Elastic thread: 1 spool ( you'll have plenty left)

Contrasting colored knit fabric: Bow: 5 inches X 6 inches
                                                  Rose: 4 inches X 5 inches
Now lets first make the shoulder straps:
Sew the strip into a tube by folding it into half lengthwise, right sides together. Turn it inside out. Now
sewing a tube

Now fill the bobbin with elastic thread and sew 3 straight lines across the length of the tube to shir it.
how to sew shirred strap

how to sew shirred strap

Here's my shoulder strap all shirred up. Don't worry if your strap seems much smaller than mine.
I just see many more knit dresses in my future so I made a longer shoulder strap.

Now cut two 9 inches long shoulder straps from this strap and lets start assembling the dress.
First sew the two main dress pieces right sides together, about 2 inches from one end, joining them by a two inch stitch at their length.( Do not sew all the way just sew 2 inches from one end, on both sides)

dress free sewing tutorial
See the parts where pens are overlapping with the fabric, that's the only part you have to sew.

Now pin your shoulder straps to the main body. Mark a 2 inches from each side of the center of the width on both front and back pieces.

Now pin your straps such that the the back of the strap touches the wrong side of the main fabric. Pin the shoulder straps on the front at the 4 inches( 2 inches either side of the shoulder) gap that you had marked earlier.

attaching shoulder straps to the dress

Now cross the straps and pin their free ends to the back fabric. Again pin the straps such that back of straps touches the wrong side of the main fabric. Now sew across the width to connect the straps to the fabric.

If you bring the front and back together, this is how it will look right now:

how to attach a ruffle

Attaching the top ruffle

Take the 5 inches strip for ruffle and pin it to across the width of the dress such that right side of the fabric touches wrong side of main piece. The shoulder straps will be sandwiched between the main piece and ruffle, which is what we want.

dress sewing pattern

dress sewing pattern
Sew across the width to attach the ruffle. It was very difficult to take pics of this step so you may not get this step visually, but all you have to do is pin the ruffle on the inside such that right side of the ruffle touches wrong side of the main fabric and it will go over the ruffle fabric

Turn the ruffle inside out.

how to sew a dress
Topstitch as close to the edge as you can. Go slow and steady here, as this seam will show on the top of the garment and if uneven it won't look good.

Topstitch the ruffle with about 3/8 inch from the edge to form a casing . Leave a 1 inch gap to insert elastic.

.Good. Now you'r done with the most complicated part of the dress, rest is easy.
Pin the bottom ruffle on the front of the dress such that the ruffle bottom aligns with bottom of the dress. sew it down.

adding ruffles to dress

Now pin the middle ruffle such that all the ruffles look parallel and equally wide.Also make sure all the ruffles have 1.5-2 inch overlap.Since we are going to leave the hems unfinished( because knits dont fray), a nice overlap will ensure that even if they curl a bit, the seams wont show.

sewing a ruffled dress
Now turn the dress inside out and pin both sides. Make sure all the ruffles except the top one are getting caught in the side seam ans all the ruffles are lying flat. Sew both sides.

how to sew a dress

Now tun the dress inside out. Here you are. All ready to insert elastic:

dress sewing tutorial

Insert a 1/4 inch elastic in the casing you made earlier( between the main body and top ruffle). Keep the elastic length such that it is slightly lesser ( ~ 2 inches) than the chest measurement of the wearer. Sew the opening shut.

inserting elastic in a dress

The dress is ready:

little knit dress pattern
The elastics makes it very difficult to take good pics of final garment. Mine looks a bit wonky here, but it is parallel in real life.
The main dress is ready. Now you can embellish it as you like.
Maybe a bow:
patternless sewing
Or a rossette ( tutorial here):

knit dress sewing tutorial
Maybe both.
Now go find the cute little one who napped long enough to let you finish this. Time to try it on.