Even though I have been putting up stuff I make on Mondays for a while now, it just seemed like it was time for a name and a commitment. (Plus the English nerd is made really happy by using alliterations.)
I am sure I have said it before, but I will say it again. I like creating. I like sewing. But I am so not that intricately-worked, masterfully-wrought, crafting/sewing wonder woman. I like easy. I like simple. I do it for the money-savings, the look of appreciation on the face of the one I labored for, and the satisfaction from creating something with my own two hands.
I am all about easy, simple, and money savings. Oh, and cute... I am all about that too.
You too? Read on!
I happened to catch a glimpse of a picture of a dress my friend wanted to create for her daughter on her facebook wall. I liked that it was a dress made over an existing shirt, I liked that the waist was high and I liked the pleats. The picture inspired me to make my own design... yep! pattern and tutorial free. (Plus I hate patterns and reading directions, so why not do it my own way? If you are like me, do feel free to be inspired by the pictures and walk away from the how to. It's easy, I know you could do it yourself!) Thanks friend for the inspiration! And yours turned out super cute too! In the grays and yellows you chose, it looks so sweet on you little one!
I love the way my easy-peasy dress turned out! I had bought a yard of the floral gray-green-and-yellow print for $2 that called to me from the Walmart cheap rack (Buy me! I'm cheap! I will make something cute for your Addy-pie!... Tell me I am not the only one who hears fabric?! haha!). I picked up a plain white t-shirt for $3.88 at Walmart. Yay for Walmart prices! I happened to have scrap pink fabric. Add in the zipper cost, and this bad boy cost me a little over $7.00. Not bad at all.
Minus the idea that originated with a picture, I did this entirely myself.
You will need: 1 yard of fabric (this may vary depending on the size of your child. My daughter is a 4T and I had almost 1/2 yard in leftovers) A long strip of contrasting fabric. 1 zipper (7" or 9" would be fine for 4T). T-shirt or tank top. Thread.
1: Measurements! You will need the waist and skirt length. (measure the skirt length from where you want the waist to be to where you want the length to be. Mine is a high waist: just above the belly button to just above the knee.)
2: Cut! Double the waist measurement to make room for the pleats. Add 4 inches to the length for the top and bottom seam allowance. The sash took some really good guess work to figure out how long it would need to be. I used the ultra-sophisticated method of tying the measuring taping around Addy in a giant bow, adding 2" for the seam allowance and a couple more inches just to be safe and cutting that measurement in half to work with my design (see my sophisticated drawing above... if I haven't mentioned it before, you now know the truth, I am not much of a drawer.) I knew I wanted my sash to be nice and thick, like 3" so I doubled that and added a 1" seam allowance. I ended up making the sash 2" thick in the end (so my actual measurements are 30" by 5"). I realized 3" was too thick to make a good bow with the length I had cut. The thicker you make the bow the longer the sash needs to be.
I like fast!
Rip it, and rip it good.
3. The Sash. I folded the sash how I wanted it (See pictures) and ironed it in place.
Sew it together. For a fun touch I used dark gray contrasting thread. I sewed 1/4" from the edge on both sides and around the ends.
Some Basic Sewing Tips for Beginners:
If you are sewing using contrasting thread, it is especially important to get your seams straight. Your thread is more visible, and, therefore, so are your sewing abilities! If you have trouble sewing straight, try this: Hold the fabric between your thumb and fingers about an inch below and a couple inches in front of the machine. Use your other hand to gently guide the fabric right alongside the the foot of the machine.
To sew around the tips without stopping and restarting your seam:
4. The Pleats. Turn fabric to wrong side and fold the top over 1/2." Iron fold. Fold top over again, this time 2". Iron in place.
5. Attach Sash, Insert Zipper. Pin each part of the sash to the dress right-side out where you want it to go. Baste them in place. (Pay attention to the direction of the ends of your sash. Each side should be opposite. It doesn't look like it in the picture, but they are)
Turn right side out and use seam ripper to open zipper.
6. Add in bottom seam. Turn wrong side out. Fold bottom 1/4" and then 3/4" and iron in place.
Sew. I did two parallel seams to mimic the sash and to make it look nice and finished
7. (Optional) Sew skirt to shirt. I put the shirt and the skirt on my daughter. I pinned where the skirt should be on the shirt.I sewed only the front side of the skirt to the shirt. I wanted to make sure that the skirt portion would be able to slip on over her head. I cut off the bottom of the shirt... I am thinking matching headband! T-shirt knit makes for stretchy, comfortable headbands. (I didn't finish the raw edge of the t-shirt. Knit doesn't fray. Thank you for less work, T-shirt!)
8. (Optional) Tack sash to sides of skirt. I tacked the sash to the sides of the skirt to keep the sash from hanging loose and sliding down. I want that bow nice and pretty! I sewed a vertical seam just on the sash where the side seam on the shirt is so they line up. (Where the yellow pin is in the picture.)
It's comfy. It's vibrant. It's one-of-a-kind. It's cheap. It's easy.
Wednesday I should have a story about a seriously funny incident (with some mom-thoughts attached). Do come back.
And just because its fun and to prove everything is not perfect here, I have prepared an extra bonus for you (perhaps it will make you feel better about your sewing abilities and frustrations)...
MADE MONDAY Project "Easy-Peasy Pleated Dress" SEWING BLOOPERS!
I started the dress by sewing the bottom seam. Why? Why did I do that?! Don't do that. Fortunately, I managed to get everything nice and lined up so that when I sewed the two sides together, the two ends met each other perfectly... but it could have been bad... seam ripper, resewing bad. And you probably know how much I hate that.
Avoid sewing with the majority of your fabric towards the machine. You always want it facing out if you can help it. I thought I was doing myself a favor by having the pleats in a good direction for sewing them (so they didn't try to bunch up under the foot). I end up sewing the skirt together... where it shouldn't have been sewn together.