The Sassy Girl
Sewing the Skirt - Version A
Sew the strips together to create each "row" of your skirt. Match right sides together of the short edge of each strip, and sew about a 1/2" seam. If you chose to keep the salvages, which I did (because I'm a little lazy that way) and they won't fray (and I never figured out how to thread the serger my mom gave me), make sure you are sewing a wide enough seam to avoid them! See the image below...
For the top row only, sew only half way down (as shown in the image above). This is so you can attach the zipper to the half left unsewn.
For all other strips of fabric, sew the edges together from top to bottom:
- Top Row, you will have your single strip sewn to itself, making a loop.
- Middle Row, you will have two strips of fabric sewn together making a loop twice as big as the first.
- Bottom/Ruffle Row, you will have four strips of fabric sewn together making a loop twice as big as the second.
Press your seams on each row of your skirt. I chose to press mine open, though this is only necessary on your top row (to be ready for sewing your zipper).
Using pins, mark each of your sewn rows of fabric into four equal sections. For the top row, you will use the seam as your back. Fold the loop of fabric in half with the seam on one side, and mark the opposite side with a pin for the front. Next, place the seam and front pin together, and place pins on each side. You will then have your sections marked, as shown below.
Do the same for the next row. In the middle row, you will have two seams, which you can use for the sides of the dress, so you will need to mark the middle for the front and back of the dress.
The bottom, ruffle row will have four equal sections, with a seam at each. You can use these seams so you will not need to measure this one.
I like to hem the bottom/ruffle row at this point. It is easier to do it now, before you gather it. Turn under one side of your fabric loop, anywhere between 1/4" to 1/2", and then once more. Sew along the edge of the fabric.
Press your hem flat.
(Disregard the seam you see on the left of the fabric. That is my gathering seam you will be sewing in Step 5.)
Add a gathering stitch to the top of each fabric row, starting and stopping at each marked section. When complete, you will have made four gathering seams on each row.
Do this by adjusting the stitch length on your machine to the longest setting. I chose to sew my gathering stitch at 1/4". If my mother was doing this (she is a professional seamstress), she would have me sewing 1/4" and 5/8" for the gather, but that was too much work for me... ha ha.
Remember, for the top row, your gather stitch will be along the side where the ends of the loop have been left unsewn. for the bottom row, you will gather the side that has not been hemmed.
Use pins to mark the front, back, and sides of your bodice. Do this by first folding it in half and pinning the front, center. Next, fold the back sides in to meet that point, and pin each side.
Pin your top row of fabric to your bodice.
Take your top row of fabric and pin it to the bodice, right sides together. Do this by lining up your pins, front of bodice to front of top row of fabric, sides to sides, and back to back. Make sure that your open seam is pinned to each side of the open back of the bodice.gathering stitch side up
On the second dress I opened up the bodice so I was only pinning (then sewing) the skirt to the front-side of the bodice (the side we added the Heat & Bond to). I would recommend doing the same, though, in these images you will see blue fabric inside which is the back-side of my bodice. This should be hanging down below and out of the way, so you instead would see the Heat & Bond covering the front of the bodice.
|Pinning my top row fabric to my bodice.|
Gather your top row of fabric to match the width of each section of the bodice. Do this by gently pulling one thread from your gathering stitch and pushing the gathers through each section. When I get my length right for each section, I like to knot my gathering threads together between each section, then even out the gathers. I find this makes it easier.
Next, add some pins to hold everything in place.
Again, I recommend only pinning to the front-side of the bodice, not including the back-side as you will see that I did here.
Sew your top row to your bodice using a 1/2" seam. This should fall just below your gathering stitch, so you shouldn't stitch over it, making it easier to remove when you are finished.
Open your seam from Step 9 and fold your seam up toward the bodice. Making sure that the backside of your bodice is up and out of the way (not folded down into place), add a 1/4" seam above where the top row of fabric meets the bodice. I do this to give a nice finishing touch, hold your ruffles in place nicely, and secures your raw edge from fraying.
Mark the front, back and side points on the attached first row of fabric for the dress skirt. Match these points with the middle row of fabric, and pin them right-sides together.
Repeat the process in Steps 8-10.
Do the same for the bottom/ruffle row of fabric.
Your skirt is complete!
Add your zipper!
Pin your zipper into place. It should be lined up nicely along the edge of the back of your bodice, in between the front and back sides. I folded the extra length on the top of the zipper down. Pin all the way down, attaching to the open section of the skirt as well.
I did the zipper a little differently in Version B and realized that I needed to turn under the back-side of the bodice (bottom edge) about 1/2" at the point where I was sewing it to the zipper. You will see why in Step 13.
Sew in place.
I sewed about an 1/8" from the fabric edge to secure the zipper.
Disregard the fact that the image below is from Version B. I should have done this the same for Version A. With your dress turned inside-out you are going to stitch the back-side of your bodice in place. However, when you do this, the skirt of your dress will not be pulled through the bodice as it is in this picture.
Turn the lower edge of the bodice under about 1/2". If you plan on adding the sash, you aren't going to see these seams, so in that case, go ahead and machine sew it in place. However, if you opt not to include the sash, you may want to hand sew this to the seam underneath it (and not to the front of your bodice) so the stitching does not ruin the front of the dress.
|Again... ignore all the details in this photo OTHER THAN the fact that you'll need to fold under the bottom edge of the bodice about 1/2" and sew.|
Attach your straps!
I put the dress on my daughter and pinned the straps where they should be. I had left my straps as one long strap (each end sewn to the front of the dress) until this point. I pinned them in place, then cut them apart.
Make sure you even out the gathers on the fabric, making sure that one strap isn't more gathered than another.
Secure the straps by sewing them to the top edge of the bodice (extra hanging inside, unlike you see in the image above). Cut off the excess, leaving about 1" or so below the seam.
Make the sash!
Fold your fabric strip in half, matching right sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam along the length to create a long casing.
Turn the casing right-side out, and press it flat. I put my seam on the backside, but you might choose to line it up with the side of the sash instead.
I measured the length I needed for my sash to the dress and cut it to length with an extra 1". That gave me 1/2" on each end that I could tuck inside to hide the raw edges, as shown below. Press the ends to get a nice finished look.
Pin your sash into place. I slightly over-lapped the bottom edge of my sash to the top of the skirt, so the bottom of the bodice did not show through.
Sew each end of your sash alongside the zipper on the back of the dress.
To keep the sash in place, you will also want to stitch a seam on the sides of the dress to secure it in place. I also found it necessary to attach it to the front, though I hand-sewed this seam so that I could hide it.
Embellish if you like! I made a fabric rose from the sash fabric to add to the sash. You can find lots of tutorials on how to create these online. However, you might be happy with your dress just as it is!
Your dress is done!
Throw it on and do the happy dance!
I'd LOVE to see the dresses you make from this tutorial!