If you are a beginner sewer and would like to try your hand at garment sewing this is the perfect pattern for you to try. There is a little bit of gathering, which is a great skill to learn, but other than that it’s really straight-forward sewing. I’ve graded the pattern from size 12 Month through Size 4. For the patterns I sell, I typically do more sizes, but since this one is free, I just kept it to four sizes. Feel free to adjust the pattern up for larger sizes.
Also, I usually have someone that helps me digitize my patterns for printing, but this time I decided to take the plunge and digitize this pattern myself. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy………it was a steep learning curve for me. And it’s probably not perfect, but there is something so satisfying about learning a new skill and program. I digitized this pattern in Adobe Illustrator and I just barely know the basics now. I can tell that Illustrator could be amazing if you really knew what you were doing. But baby steps, right? Anyway, I’m very proud of the digitized version of this pattern (even though it took me forever to get it done).
So without further ado…….
At the end of the rectangle strap pieces cut them into a point, kind of like an arrow (pictured above). Just eyeball it, but make sure all four are the same.
Fold the strap pieces in half with the right sides together and sew down the long side and to the point. Do this for all four straps.
Leave the short, straight bottom end of the strap pieces open for turning.
Clip the corners before turning right side out.
Turn right side out and use a point turner or chopstick to work out the corner points of each strap. Press to finish. You could also top-stitch each strap, if you so choose.
Now we will prepare the bottom ruffle. Place the two ruffle pieces with their right sides facing each other and sew together at both of the short ends. This will make one big long, circular piece.
Hem the ruffle. Turn it up towards the wrong side 1/2″ and then another 1/2″. Sew in place using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Gather the ruffle piece of fabric. To do this, set your machine stitch length to the longest length possible (mine is 5.0) and increase the tension on your machine to about 8. Run a stitch along the non-hemmed edge of the ruffle making sure NOT to back stitch at the beginning or the end. The proper way would be to run two lines of stitching about 1/4″ apart from each other, but I was doing this tutorial pretty quick.
Also, you will notice that I have a serged edge along the raw edge of my fabric (the side where I did my gathering stitch). I always serge any raw edges because I don’t like fraying and find it has a more finished, professional look. You can use a zig-zag stitch if you don’t have a serger or simply cut the edge with pinking shears after you have sewed your ruffle to the dress.
To gather your fabric, pull on one of the threads to start the gathering. You will be gathering the ruffle piece so that it lines up with the bottom of the main dress piece. But let’s hold off actually gathering the ruffle until a little later……
Since we are talking about gathering, run a gathering stitch along the top of both of the main dress pieces.
The next step is optional, but if you would like to add trim in between the yoke and the main dress, then this next step is for you. Above is one of my most favorite sewing tools…….Wonder Tape!
Cut the rickrack a little bit longer than the bottom of the yoke of the dress. Apply Wonder Tape to the back of the rickrack trim.
Peel off the paper backing from the Wonder Tape and line up the edge of the rickrack with the raw edge of the yoke. If you don’t have Wonder Tape, I would suggest basting your trim in place before the next step.
Gather the top of the main dress piece so that it lines up evenly with the yoke of the dress. Place the yoke (with trim) and the main dress together, right sides facing and sew together. You may need to adjust your seam allowance for this part depending on the size trim you are using.
After you have sewn the main dress and the yoke together, press the seam open and topstitch or edge stitch along the bottom of the yoke.
Measure in 1″ from each side of the dress for the strap placement. Baste straps in place. If you don’t have a hem gauge, I recommend you pick one up. I use mine for all sorts of things and you will love having it around!
Place the facing and the dress with the right sides together and sew around the underarms and top, making sure to catch the straps in the top seam. If your main dress piece and your facing don’t line up perfectly, do not worry. Just trim your main dress piece and make sure it lines up just right with the facing.
Again, you may notice that I have serged the raw edge of my facing. Again, this is not necessary, but you can always add a more finished look by using a zig-zag stitch, cutting with pinking shears or turning under the raw edge by 1/4″ and sewing in place. That part is totally up to you.
Clip the corners and curves, turn right side out and press.
Do the same steps above for both the front AND the back of the dress.
Now we will sew the front of the dress to the back of the dress. Turn up the facing and pin down the side of the dress starting at the top of the facing all the way down to the bottom. Stitch down both sides of the dress.
In the picture above, I have sewn down one full side of the dress.
Where the facing and the main dress pieces come together under the arms, I like to cut a little slit so that the arm pit will lay a little more flat. Cut as far down to the stitching as possible, but do not cut through it. Press seams open, turn right side out and press.
Now for the final step, attaching the ruffle. Gather your ruffle so it matches up evenly with the bottom of the dress. Pin in place and sew together all the way around the bottom.