Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Fling Dress Tutorial - Part 1

Spring Fling Dress
Version A - The Sassy Girl


Spring Fling Dress
Version B - The Fairy Princess

Disclaimer:
I am not a professional seamstress, so my techniques might not be perfect (or 'the way you are supposed to do it').  This tutorial is simply a guide... you might come up with a better way of pulling it all together.  :)


Now that that is out of the way...

Materials Needed
- Fabric (see instructions for each version for specifics)
- Zipper (I used a 7" zipper for each)
- Thread
- Heat & Bond (for a youth medium, I used a 6"x25" strip)
- Ribbon optional (Version B)
- Elastic, 1" width, approx. 24" (for straps in Version A)


Measurements
1)  Measure your child around the chest, underneath their arms just under their armpits, to know what size to cut for the bodice.  (My 7 year old was 25" and my 3 year old was 22")

2)  Decide where the top of the dress will reach on your child and measure from there on the chest down to where the "skirt" of the dress should begin.  (I measured 5" for my 7 year old and 4" for my 3 year old)

3)  Measure from the top of the "skirt" from the measurement above, and decide how long the dress will be.  (I measured to above the knee for Version A at 18" and to the ankle for Version B at 22")

4)  Get an approximate measurement for each of the straps, measuring over the shoulder from where you expect the straps to attach to the front and back of the bodice.  (I estimated 12" for my 7 year old and 10" for my 3 year old, with lots of wiggle room)


Cut Your Fabric
I am a quilter, so I have a cutting mat, rulers, and a rotary cutter.  So these are what I used.  To understand how to cut your fabric, you need to line up your salvage edges, smooth it out, and cut from fold to salvage.  Your length of each strip cut will be about 44" long when unfolded.  See the photo below...


Version A - The Sassy Girl
Bodice Fabric
- Take your chest measurement and add 2".  Take your bodice measurement and add 1".  Cut two strips using those dimensions.  For example, I had 25" chest measurement (add 2" to get 27") and a 5" bodice measurement (add 1" to get 6"), so I cut two strips that were 27"x6".
- Cut 1 strip of Heat & Bond to the same measurement.

My bodice strips

Skirt Fabric
You can use three different fabrics for the skirt, or you can use all the same.  If you plan on making a larger size, you may need to use more fabric than I list here.  These are the instructions for a youth medium or small.

You also need to decide on the length of each fabric row in the skirt.  For my skirt, I had two 6" rows, and a 4" ruffle at the bottom.  So my total skirt length was 16".  If your skirt length needs to be longer then that, you will want to cut wider strips (so two 7" rows and a 5" row will give you a skirt length of 19").  If your skirt length needs to be shorter than 16", then cut thinner strips (so two 5" rows and a 3" ruffle will give you a skirt length of 13").

My skirt strips
- Cut 1 strip (from fold to salvages) of your top skirt fabric to the width you determined above plus 1".  For example, I cut a strip of fabric at 7" so I would end up with a 6" length row on my skirt.

-  Cut 2 strips (from the fold to salvages) of your middle skirt fabric to the same width as cut above.

-  Cut 4 strips (from the fold to the salvages) of your bottom, ruffle fabric, to the width you determined above plus 1".  For example, I cut strips of fabric at 5" so I would end up with a 4" ruffle length on my skirt.

Scrunchy Straps Fabric
-  Cut 1 strip (from the fold to the salvages) of your shoulder strap fabric at 3.5".

Waistband Fabric optional
-  Cut 1 strip (from the fold to the salvages) of your waistband fabric at 4.5".



Version B - The Fairy Princess
Bodice Fabric
- Take your chest measurement and add 2".  Take your bodice measurement and add 1".  Cut two strips using those dimensions.  For example, I had 25" chest measurement (add 2" to get 27") and a 5" bodice measurement (add 1" to get 6"), so I cut two strips that were 27"x6".

- Cut 1 strip of Heat & Bond to the same measurement.

Skirt Fabric
-  Cut 1 strip (from the fold to the salvages) of a lining fabric to the skirt length measurement taken above, adding 1".  For example, I had a 22" skirt measurement (add 1" to get 23") so I cut a 23" strip.

-  Cut 2 strips (from the fold to the salvages) of your sheer fabric to the the skirt length measurement taken above, adding 2".  For example, I had a 22" skirt measurement (add 2" to get 23") so I cut two 24" strips.

Gathered Ribbon Straps Fabric
-  Cut 1 Strip (from the fold to the salvages) of your shoulder strap fabric at 2.5".


On to the sewing!

Choose the strap style you'd like to use...

Scrunchy Straps - Version A
Step 1
Fold your fabric in half along the width, with right sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam.


Step 2
Turn your fabric right-side-out.  I do this by attaching a large safety pin to the top edge and feeding it through the casing.  You will now have a long tube.  You may choose to press your fabric, however, I chose not to.

Step 3
Thread your elastic through your strap casing.  You will need enough for each of your two straps (as estimated in your measurements above) plus about 3".  I feed my elastic through by attaching a safety pin to the end like I mentioned in Step 2.

Step 4
Sew each end of you straps so that the elastic and fabric are secured.


Gathered Ribbon Straps - Version B
Step 1
Fold your fabric in half along the width, with right sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam.

Step 2
Turn your fabric right-side-out.  I do this by attaching a large safety pin to the top edge and feeding it through the casing.  You will now have a long tube.

Step 3
Press your straps.  I chose to press mine with the seam on the back side.  You may choose to press the seam to one of the sides so that you don't "see" it, but there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Step 4
Gather your ribbon!  I chose a sheer 1" ribbon.  To gather it, lengthen your stitch setting on your machine, and stitch down the middle of your ribbon.  I found that the perfect ruffle was about 2.5 times the length of my straps.  Once you have finished stitching, grab one of the threads and gently tug.  As you do, the ribbon will begin to gather.  Smooth out your gathers so you are left with a gathered ribbon like you see below.

Note:
You may want to use a matching thread in case you aren't able to remove all of the gathering thread once it is sewn to your straps.  Also, another tip is to sew your gathering thread slightly off center, so when you sew down the center, you are not sewing over top of your gathering thread... making it easier to remove once it is attached to the straps.

Step 5
Make sure you reset your stitch length!  Once you do so, place your ruffle over your pressed strap, and sew down the middle.  You will need to sew a little bit at a time as you smooth out your ruffles here.



Sewing the Bodice - Version A & B
Ok.... I had some ideas after sewing the first dress that made the second come together much easier/nicer.  So you may see images of both dresses... but the instructions are the same.

Step 1
Lay one strip of your bodice fabric over the "sticky" side of your Head & Bond, and press them until fused together.


Step 2
Decide where your straps will go.  I took my bodice strip from Step 1 and pinned it around my daughter that the dress is being made for.  From there, I pinned the location where each strap should fall on the front of the dress.  You can see, for the youth medium, the straps are about 5" apart, and fall at about 11.5" and 16".

Now attach your straps by pinning them to the points you've determined.  Again, note you are pinning them to the bodice strip that has the Heat & Bond fused to it's back-side.  Also note that my straps are pinned with the back-side on top (in other words, right sides together).

Step 3
Pin your second bodice strip in place, with right-sides together.

Sew along the top edge of your bodice strips, making sure to secure the straps when you do.  I chose to sew a 1/2" seam.  I also also reinforced the straps by sewing over them a couple of times.

Step 4
Press your seam open.


Then fold the back-side down, and press your bodice seam flat.

Step 5
Turn in the sides of each end of your bodice about 1/2", and press flat.  You may choose to baste these down, which I did for one, but found it not necessary with the fabric I was using.  The zipper will be sewn into these sides later.

Your bodice is done!
For the rest of the instructions 
Spring Fling Dress Tutorial - Part 3 for Version B (coming soon)

40 comments:

  1. Adorable! I love version B and I know my little princess would too!

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  2. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I really love both dresses!

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  3. Thanks for the tutorial - it's a beautiful dress in either version! I will be trying it out (eventually!). What I need to do is get a larger cutting mat first :) I'm now a follower...

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  4. That's completely adorable and you have the loveliest daughter!

    Laurie
    TipJunkie.com

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  5. Adorable! The dress and models are so cute!

    I'd love if you'd link up to my party, too
    http://itssewforyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/its-sew-fun-tuesday-4.html

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  6. These two dresses are just about the cutest thing ever! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  7. @Andrea Many moons ago when my momma taught me to sew we never heard of cutting mats. I've never used one, only scissors. If I did more sewing I'd probably want to try one out, but for the little sewing I do am not going to purchase them. ;) always an option ;)

    @Rachel You did an awesome job with your tutorial! And both dresses are gorgeous! It's obvious why the girls are so happy with modeling their new clothes.

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  8. OOoooo! I would love to do one of these all in pink for my daughters 2nd Birthday Outfit... but I'm not that confident in my dress making skills.

    You're girls are adorable.

    Thanks for linking with Sugar & Spice.

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  9. LOVE THIS! Come on ova' and link up to my Linky Party! xoxokara


    *ENTER LINKY PAR-TAY Here! *

    Such a CUTIE! OH! And the dress is too! LOL

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  10. Hey New Friend...We are new to the Hooo's got talent party...AND we love your dress and tutorial! We are marking you as a fovorite and visiting again soon! Hope you stop over and meet us!

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  11. Thanks for linking up to our Sweet Links Party!!! This dress is adorable!!
    Smiles~ Noelle

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  12. Love the colorful spring dress!

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  13. ah this dress is truly amazing! You come up with the most amazing things!! Thanks so much for coming by and linking up to handmade tuesdays @ www.ladybug-blessings.com

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  14. I love them both - and such great pics with your adorable models! Thanks for such a great tutorial, too - lots of work went into that, I know!

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  15. Feature Alert! Feature Alert!

    That's right! You were featured today over at Today's Top 20!

    Hope to chat soon!

    Amanda
    www.todaystoptwenty.blogspot.com

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  16. I love this is so cute. I have two preschoolers and have twins on the way in May. I am looking for some wonderful ladies to guess post sewing tutorials. I would love to have you.
    Check out my blog and let me know what you think.
    I don't need it until May or June.
    http://www.couturiermommy.com
    evaharp@msn.com

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  17. They are both beautiful! (and so are the models!) Thank you so much for the tutorial. I'm bookmarking it!

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  18. So cute! Great job!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!
    AllieMakes.Blogspot.com

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  19. So cute!! And fabulous job! Looks like they really enjoy their new dresses. Thanks for linking this up as well.

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  20. They are realy cute. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  21. This i9s just too caaaaute! You just got yourself a new Follower:)

    Thank you for linking this up to Whassup Wednesday! Hope to see you this week at my
    Par-Taaaay!

    xoxokara
    I would LOVE to have you as a Follower :)

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  22. Super cute! thanks for sharing such a great tutorial!
    Christine
    http://thefabricjunkie.blogspot.com/

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  23. Adorable. Thank you for linking up to More The Merrier.

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  24. I'd love for you to link up at Inspire Me Mondays!
    http://singingthreelittlebirds.blogspot.com/2011/03/inspire-me-monday_21.html
    I want to sew along with you!

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  25. Too cute!! I might have to return the Easter dress that I already bought for my LB.

    Found you at DIY Sweet Home Project, from copycatcorner.blogspot.com.

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  26. soo pretty. I love the color combination!! :)

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  27. So cute!!! the girls are equally as cute!!! :) I have featured you here: http://www.bubblynaturecreations.com/2011/03/project-party-weekend-round-up_21.html

    thanks for linking up!

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  28. Great tutorial...makes me look forward to spring!

    Visiting you from Bubbly Nature Creations!

    Sarah

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  29. AMAZING!!!!!!!!! Great Tutorial!I'm hosting my first Linky party and would love for you to submit to it!
    http://runwithglitter.blogspot.com/2011/03/glitters-first-linky-party_22.html#comments

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  30. I am featuring this on Wednesday! SO LOVELY!

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  31. How darling! I featured this on Hoo's got talent! Thanks for linking to the party!

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  32. Thank you for linking up to my K.I.S.S. blog bash last week. This weeks blog bash is in full swing again!! If you haven't already please be sure & link up more of your creativity, I look forward to seeing all your great ideas. :)

    Drop by The Tattered Tag

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  33. Beautiful, will have to try it out for my little niece

    Ms Sharma
    http://summersofindia.blogspot.com/

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  34. I could spend ages on your blog you have so many great tutorials, would love to make my daughter one of these beautiful dresses. Will have to bookmark this page and have a go at this for next summer, when I have more time. Very busy with the Christmas season coming up and loads of craft shows to prepare for.

    http://www.mywallabygold.blogspot.com

    Angie

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  35. awesome tutorial - I featured it here:
    http://sewprettysewfree.blogspot.com/2012/06/spring-fling-dress.html

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  36. Hi nice Post written by you guys. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site. Thank a ton for such a nice post.

    online tutoring service

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  37. Could you still make the first dress with out heat & bond? I don't quite understand that part.

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