This past summer, I made a triple-tiered tank dress that my daughter absolutely loved, and so did I. It was a sewing project I made with my best friend, as one of our monthly sewing get-togethers. For October, I was all set on making circle skirts for our daughters, but the night before, instead of sleeping, I decided the girls needed something more fall-ish. I'd seen lots of wonderful candy corn decorations, jewelry, and outfits online, so I was inspired to make candy corn dresses using the same premise as the triple-tiered tank dress.
I must say that shopping with my BFF instead of my daughter is much more fun. I don't have to chase her down any aisles! And we got to spend time looking at patterns and jewelry projects. With our orange and yellow fabric in hand (and a few more items not on our shopping list), we headed for the check out. As you can see, we chose to avoid solid yellow fabric and found some sweet fabric with small print on them to make the dresses look less like costumes. I bought the yellow, and she bought the orange, so we could take advantage of the 40% off coupons for the fabric. I already owned two white tank tops that I bought brand new from a neighbor when I bought the pink one, so these dresses were going to cost us less than $4 per girl to make! We actually ended up with enough fabric to make three dresses, but we still need another shirt.
Since we live in Texas, we can get away with a light dress like this through Thanksgiving, but I plan to buy a long-sleeved black fitted t-shirt and black leggings for her to wear under it when we get the occasional cold front. We need those items for her Minnie Mouse Halloween costume anyway.
To make this dress, we purchased 3/4 yards of yellow fabric and orange fabric, which was perfect for us because we like making three dresses at a time; however, if you plan to just make one dress, you'll get by with a quarter yard each as long as it's not a fat quarter. Here's the formula to use to find out how much fabric you need for each of the two colors:
Decide how long you want the skirt portion of your dress to be. Then divide that number in half and add an inch. We decided we wanted our skirts to be 16 inches long for our daughters who both wear size 3T and 17 inches long for her niece who wears a size 4T. (Our 3/4 yard cut perfectly into these three rows.)
For the width, we measured the bottom of the tank top after we cut it, which I'll explain shortly). It was 8.5 inches wide, so we multiplied that by 1.5 and added an inch. Then we decided since we could cut our fabric strips evenly, we could get away with just one side seam instead of two, so we doubled this measurement.
Okay, so a few days after making these dresses, I was looking at candy corn decor. Sure wish I had done that last week. Obviously, I don't eat candy corn often enough to remember that it goes white, orange, and then yellow. As you can see from my pictures, I put the yellow and orange in the wrong order. Lucky for you, I caught it before posting this tutorial, so if you follow these instructions, your little girl will have a cute candy corn dress with an orange middle and yellow bottom!
Here are the formulas we used:
Length=(length of skirt/2) + 1
(16/2) + 1 = 9
Orange Width= [(width of bottom of tank x 1.5) +1] x 2
[(8.5 x 1.5) + 1] x 2 = 27.5
Yellow Width= [(orange width/2 x 1.5) +1] x 2
[(13.75 x 1.5) + 1] x 2 = 43.25
***If your yellow fabric needs to be longer than 45", you will need to make two shorter rectangles instead of one long one for each color. To fix the formula, simply don't multiply your answer by two.***
Once you know how much fabric you need, you are ready to get all your supplies. You'll need the following:
- yellow fabric (about a quarter yard, but check formula)
- orange fabric (about a quarter yard, but check formula)
- off white thread
- white tank top
- sewing machine, iron, and scissors
1. Cut the bottom portion of the tank top off. We kept our tank top 8 inches long, from shoulder to waist for the size 3T dresses.
2. Cut the orange fabric according to your measurements, iron, and either surge all four sides, use pinking sheers, or fold over twice and sew hems to prevent fraying. After my triple-tiered dress, I decided to invest in some good pinking sheers, which made this dress much easier to complete. I also lucked out with the orange fabric since it was already the right length, so I didn't have to cut it, which meant I didn't have to worry about preventing those sides from unraveling.
3. Repeat step two with the yellow fabric, EXCEPT when you get to what will become the bottom of the dress, be sure to fold it over 1/2 inch, iron, fold another 1/2 inch, iron again, and sew a straight stitch for the bottom seam.
4. If you are using one long strip of fabric for each color, you will need to fold it in half with the good sides facing one another and sew your side seam, starting at the bottom.
If you are using two shorter strips of fabric for each color, stack the two strips with the good sides facing one another and sew both side seams, starting at the bottom.
5. Now you should have both your yellow and your orange fabric ready for gathering. Sew a basting stitch on what will become the top side of your fabric. Do NOT back stitch.
6. Then, line up your orange fabric to the bottom of your tank top to determine how much to gather up the fabric. Turn the fabric inside out and upside down. Then pin it to the bottom of the tank top, starting with one pin at each side and going around, making sure the fabric is gathered evenly.
7. Sew the orange fabric to the tank.
8. Repeat step six with the yellow fabric.
9. Sew the yellow fabric to the orange fabric.
10. Clip any loose threads and pull out the gathering stitch if it shows. That's it.
Now our daughters will look as sweet as candy corn during the Halloween and Thanksgiving seasons! Well, at least yours will. Hopefully, no candy corn aficionados will see my daughter's dress and shun me for my mistake. Have you made any fun fall outfits for your children? If so, I would love to hear about them.
See how I should have flipped the orange and the yellow? Oh well, she's still cute in her fall colors, right?
I'll be sharing this post at some of these parties here or here.