Since I’m getting pretty good at this sewing thing, I decided to challenge myself to do two things:
1. Make a dress for Lydia that incorporates fabric from one of her baby dresses.
2. Make a dress without using a pattern.
I accomplished both. Here’s a step-by-step (sorta) of what I did to make this dress. I’m not 100% sold on the top portion of the front (I love the back, especially since I used two buttons from one of her baby cardigans) so I may end up tearing out a bunch of seams and redoing it, but we’ll see. The dress is still big on her, so I have some time. Here goes!
These are the fabrics for the dress. The green flower fabric is actually part of a 9-month dress that my sister bought. Lydia picked out the orange fabric. The brown/white polka dot fabric is leftover from her apron. I thought the birds/flowers were really cute, and the yellow looked like a fun way to tie it all together.
I began by cutting the patterned fabric into 4-inch strips. There are two green strips (that’s all I could get out of the little dress) and four strips of each of the other patterned fabrics.
I pinned the fabric strips together into two panels. The front panel has the green in the middle, surrounded by brown. The back panel has the green in the middle, surrounded by orange.
Here are the two panels after sewing the pinned fabric. The back panel is on top and the front panel is on the bottom.
Next, I cut each panel using a rotary cutter. This gave me the bottom portion for the skirt and the upper portion for the top. I attached a folded-over piece of the yellow fabric to the bottom of the dress (front and back).
I am not certain of the proper terminology, but basically I made two rows of stitches and pulled in a manner that would be similar to a ruffle to make the skirt panels.
Then I sewed a folded-over piece of the yellow to the top of each skirt panel. I was messing around with another band of yellow in this picture.
I decided to do the top like this. The back portion has two pieces that overlap so that you can place two buttons. There’s also a slit about 2.5″ long below that button area so that the dress can open enough to be put on easily.
I attached the top portion to the midsection. This dress now has a completed front and a completed back.
And here’s the completed dress! (It’s not actually crooked like that. The picture was taken at an angle.)
Lydia wasn’t really in the mood to be my model, so these aren’t exactly the best pictures, but at least you can see the front and back.
UPDATE!!! Based on how much I totally disliked the top…I redid it! It needs to be ironed, but here it is. So much better, right?? Hooray for bias tape (even if it is lime green on a yellow dress).
And here’s a picture of my sister with Lydia, wearing the original dress, Summer 2010