Nov 11, 2012

Stitch In Color Summer Dress

 As part of Fabric Fascination's Exchange Program, I got a half a yard of Stitch in Color by Moda. In return, I had to come up with a project and write a tutorial. It took me a while to figure out what to make. Originally I was going to make a fun tote bag, but I found that Kym beat me and made a super cute one for herself.
 Since the fabric is so fun and bright, my next thought was a skirt for a little girl. But I have 4 boys, no girls. After some thought, I decided to make something for a friend's little girl. My project started out as a skirt and soon turned into a fun summer dress. I had a lot of fun designing the dress and sometimes even making it up as I sewed.

With a few measurements, you can make this dress too. Here is how....

Stitch In Color Summer Dress Tutorial

Materials needed:

- 1/2 yard of Stitch in color fabric
- 1/2 yard of grey quilting cotton (or your choice of contrast fabric)
- 1 package orange double fold bias tape
- metal snaps
- 1 1/2 elastic

Now for some simple math....{quick note, I calculated 1/4 inch seam allowance for everything}

Let's start with the skirt:

Measurements needed:
- from belly button to desired length (skirt)
- around the waist

  for the width  waist measurement x 2 or 2.5 + 0.5 inches
  for the length  length measurement + 2 inches

This will give you the TOTAL skirt width and length.  In my case the measurements came to 43 inches width and 14.5 inches length.

From the length, I subtracted 5 inches for the grey contrast band on the bottom of the skirt. My finished skirt measurements were:      

 Stitch In Color 43 x 9.5
  grey cotton 43 x 5

With right sides facing, sew together along the width.

Iron down the seam, center and pin bias tape to the seam. Sew bias tape on with 1/8 inch seam allowance along both sides. Sew with longest stitch length your machine allows 1/2 inch from the top of skirt to gather the skirt. Set skirt aside.

Front Panel and Pocket:

Measurements needed:  length, measure from about 2-2.5 inches bellow the collar bone to belly button
                                     width,   measure distance starting and ending 1 inch from sides

Cut Front Panel rectangle from Stitch in Color Fabric : length x 2

Fold in half right side facing, using a can, curve the tops. Sew around 3 sides, leaving the bottom width open.

     Clip curve or use your zig zag scissors to cut around. Turn right side out.
 Pocket : it is totally up to you how big or small you want the pocket. I cut a  14 in x 4 in rectangle.
 Fold in half right sides together and sew around 2 open sides, leaving a portion of the 3rd open side open. Turn right side out.
 Iron in opening and iron down.
Fold bias tape over the width of the pocket as show in the picture and sew it on.
Pin Pocket to Front Panel and stitch around 3 sides leaving top open. (As you can see I added a Snap Top to the Pocket as decoration before I sewed it on.)


Use the waist measurement and cut  a {waist width + 4.5 inches}  x 5 inches rectangle. Fold in half, iron in 1/2 inch.
                         Open folds and sew sash together at ends, fold in half again, iron if necessary to make sure you have crisp fold lines. This will come in handy later.

Assemble Dress:

Grab the skirt and start pulling the thread to gather it. Make sure it matches the sash length. Adjust if needed. Zigzag over gathers.

Place sash over the skirt with fold line towards the skirt. Make sure the back seams line up.

Overlap skirt by 1/2 inch, pin to sash.
Sew Sash on Skirt, with right side up (you should have the dress right side out) , 1/8 inch seam allowance. Place Front Panel inside sash opening, center it in the front. Make sure sash comes up to the pocket (trim Front Panel if needed). Pin and sew along Front Panel length.
Mark about 4 inches (center) from the back seam of the Sash on each side to place Metal Snaps.  (My picture shows the snaps already attached and they are closer. Mine are only 2 inches away, 4 inches would have been better.)
Open Sash up and using some scrap fabric punch holes for Metal Snaps on the side facing out and use direction on package to attach the bottom Snaps. For a great tutorial on attaching Snaps, visit Make It and Love It.

Elastic: to get the length, take the waist width, divide by 2 and subtract 4 inches. That's your magic number!
Center elastic inside Sash fold, pin middle of elastic to the seam of the Sash facing inside (opposite the Snaps. Sorry, my picture does not show it.) Now, here comes the tricky part. I wish I could show you but my camera was kidnapped and some pictures got erased. From the middle mark, stretch your elastic 2.5-3 inches and pin it to the Sash. Repeat with the other side. This will reduce the Sash size and give a nice comfortable waist with enough stretch to be able to put the dress on comfortably. Sew elastic (just the sides) to the Sash side that is facing in, towards the Front Panel.

Fold together Sash, so the elastic is completely enclosed and start pinning the Sash closed. Make sure you pin in the middle and both end of the elastic!

Starting at the Front Panel, sew Sash closed with 1/8 inch seam allowance. When you get to the elastic, you will have to stretch it with both hands as you sew. I had to have it stretched the whole time, and this was the hardest part. Having crisp fold lines comes in handy here! The edges will line up so  much easier.

The worst is over. Onto the Straps! Now, try the dress on the recipient and measure from the top of the Front Panel, over the shoulder and across all the way down to the Skirt. Add 3 inches. Cut two pieces of rectangles, your measurement x 4 inches. Fold in half wrong sides facing lengthwise, iron in 1/2 inch on all sides. fold together and sew all around. Pin strap end to Front Panel and sew on.

Add Snap Tops, this is purely for decoration.

One more time try the dress on and mark the placement of the Snap Tops. Coordinate it to the Snap Bottoms on the Sash.

I also added Snaps to the Straps where they meet. Keeps them in place better.

Once I marked it with a needle, I made the hole in both at the same time.