Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sewing Tutorial: Mini Maxi Dress

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My daughter got a sewing machine for her 8th birthday. She is so excited about it, and has wanted to make all sorts of things. I promised her that as soon as school was out, we'd spend some time sewing together. This little maxi dress was our first project. 

She styled and designed it. She wanted it to be very simple, just a straight cut with simple sleeves and she just had to have a white elastic belt to go with it. She chose a knit fabric from my stash of Girl Charlee yardage. I love the neon and gray combo!

It was simple enough for her to help with, yet interesting enough for me also... I loved the challenge of getting all the stripes to match up. We made a great team!

I usually have her take photos for me if I'm modeling something for my blog. This time it was her turn in front of the lens. She loved knowing that this would be her debut project for my little blog! :)

It was a simple project that only took an afternoon. I added the finishing touches that night after she had gone to bed. 

I'm so happy to be invited back for the third year in a row as a contributor for the Melly Sews Sundress Series. Check out this post to see what other bloggers are participating and for a fabric giveaway!
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Want to this east striped maxi for yourself, or with your little girl?
Here's the EASY full tutorial.

Supplies:
tracing paper for pattern
pencil
ruler
knit fabric yardage
rotary cutter + mat
steam-a-seam
fine thread
sewing machine + iron

1. Create a pattern. We laid out a t-shirt that fits my daughter well. I used this as a great teaching moment to show her how her clothes are made. Fold the shirt in half, and line up the fold to the edge of your tracing paper. (I left ours about an inch away from the fold to give the dress a little more ease).

2. Mark the FRONT of the shirt where the collar dips down. Using a dashed line, trace around the edge of the shirt from the center collar, around the neckline, shoulders, armhole, armpit, and side. When you get to the bottom of the shirt, keep going until you reach the desired length of your dress. Keep the line straight or flared depending upon the look you want. Next, measure a 5/8" seam allowance away from the dotted line and draw a solid line.

3. Repeat this process for the BACK, where the collar is the highest. You will have two finished pattern pieces.


4. Cut out the pattern pieces on the solid line. If sewing with your daughter, she will love this part. Make sure you teach her the difference between paper and fabric scissors ;)

5. I had my daughter label each piece. (Name of pattern, size, front/back, center fold)

6. Line up the pattern on your fabric. You can fold your fabric in half, placing the center fold on the fabric fold, and cut through both layers at once. I left our fabric as a single layer, since we were working with stripes and wanted things to line up perfectly. Use pattern weights or pins to hold in place.

7. Once we had cut the first side, we flipped the pattern over and laid it face down, then cut out the other side, making sure the stripes line up perfectly.

8. Things got even trickier when cutting out the back piece and trying to keep all the stripes aligned. Follow the same method of cutting as the front piece. Then pin right sides together at the shoulder and side seams, matching up all the stripes.

9. Using a small zig zag stitch and 5/8" seam allowance, we sewed the shoulder seams and side seams. Turn dress right sides out and try on for fit.

10. For the sleeves, we fused steam-a-seam to the edge. We then folded the raw edge toward the inside of the dress once. We stitched at 1/4" seam allowance using a stretchy feather stitch.


11. To finish the neck hole, we made a facing. Measure the length of the dress neck hole and add 1/2". This is the length, and the width is up to you. Ours was 1 and 1/2". Fold in half width wise, and press. Fuse steam-a-seam to one side of the facing, then fuse entire facing together.

12. Sew the facing together at the short ends to create a circle. Then line up the raw edges of the neck hole and facing and pin. Sew at 1/4".

13. Flip the facing over to expose the folded edge. Topstitch with a straight line near the edge of the visible seam.

14. I planned on that being the last step, but the collar wasn't laying how I wanted it to, so I folded it over toward the front, pressed, and sewed once more.

15. This little tag is one of my favorite finishing touches... I ordered fusible/sew-on stamps from Pick Your Plum a few weeks ago, and I love how they turned out!


And that's it! My girl is sooo excited about the dress we made together.  She loves it so much that she wants to sleep in it! 
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3 comments:

  1. It's a great dress! Nice and easy....so perfect for a young girl wanting to sew on her own! Isn't it wonderful to have daughters to sew with? Loved this post, Rachel!

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  2. Came over from Melly Sews, and we're glad to have found you! I sew with my daughters over at Skirt Fixation, and I'm always looking for nice easy projects for them. Thanks!

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  3. I love that she helped with it! Thanks for sewing along.

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Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!
♥Rach H