As is the case with most moms of school-aged children, months went by before we could even find a day where both of us were free. Weeks before, I had found some adorable fabric, so we were ready to sew! The girls entertained each other as we proceeded to cut out the pattern and pin the material. All was going fine, just very slowly as is the case with novice sewers (and friends who like to chat). In the end, we had one finished dress and another that needed more bias tape since for some unknown reason… okay, it was probably because while I was shopping I got distracted and only bought one package… I didn’t have enough for both dresses. I knew I’d be heading back to the store sooner than she would, so I let her finish her daughter’s dress. It had nothing to do with wanting her to be the guinea pig, I swear!
If you want to duplicate these dresses, you are welcome to visit the LBG Studio site that has that pattern and some wonderful pictures as guides, but I've also posted simplified instructions here:
- 3/4 yard of lightweight fabric
- 52-72 inches of extra wide double fold bias tape
- 13 inches of 1/2 inch wide elastic
- matching thread
- Take one piece of cut fabric, and lay the good side facing downward. Fold down what will become the neckline ¼” and iron flat. Fold it down again, this time ¾” and iron. You will now sew the folded fabric down to create the casing for your elastic, making sure to leave enough space for the ½” elastic to fit inside. (The original instructions said to stitch the top and the bottom, but since neither my friend nor I are the best sewers, we didn’t do both.) Set this piece aside.
- Now take the other piece of fabric and repeat step one.
- Cut your elastic in half, so you have two 6 ½” strips and feed one through the casing of the back of your dress. Using a safety pin at each end of the elastic strips helps immensely. Once the elastic is in, sew the holes and ends of the elastic on each end together. Set this piece aside.
- Now repeat step 3 for the other piece of your dress.
- We are ready to attach the two pieces to create a dress. Face the good sides of the fabric toward each other and line them up carefully. Pin the sides together, beginning at the arm pits. Using your sewing machine, stitch both sides, making sure you give a 1/4” seam allowance and back stitching at the beginning and end.
- With the dress turned inside out, iron both seams open, so they’ll lay flat. So the inside seams don’t ravel in the washing machine, sew the edges of both sides using a zig-zag stitch unless you have a serger. Repeat for the other side.
- We are ready to focus on creating the straps for the dress. Turn your dress right-side out. Cut two pieces of bias tape about 26-36 inches long. To be safe, play around with the strips to see how long you need them, knowing they will go all around the arm holes and tie in a bow on each side. (The original instructions said 46-48 inches, but that was way too long for our girls. I only used 26 inches for a size 2T dress.)
- Once each piece is cut, tuck the edges of the ends of each strap and sew closed to create a clean ends. Do this to all four ends.
- Next, fold one strip of bias tape in half to find the middle and pin at the bottom of one arm hole, making sure you opened up the bias fabric to slip it over the edge of the dress fabric. Go around the arm hole and pin the bias tape over the fabric.
- Sew a straight line along the outer edge of the bias tape, starting with what will become a strap. Keep going as you get to the arm hole, and finish when you get to the other end of the strap. Now you have sewn the bias tape to the arm hole to create clean straps.
- Repeat step 10 for the second arm hole and strap.
- All you have left is the bottom hem. Turn your dress inside out. Fold the bottom hem up ¼” and iron. Fold it again ¾” and iron. Go back to your machine and straight stitch your bottom hem closed.
- Try your newest creation on your little girl and admire how adorable she looks in it!
- This particular pattern worked well for a size 2T-3T. As you can see in the pictures, my daughter loves her new dress, and because of its cut/style, she will most likely be able to wear it for a long time before she outgrows it, which I love. When she wears it, people notice it's a pillow case dress, and comment on it. I think it's adorable, and I'm proud of myself for actually sewing a full dress even if it is supposedly one of the easiest dresses to sew.