This is a post giving you all the steps to make a sewing pattern and sew a simple gathered dress for your little angel. This one is lined, with button/hook placket in the back as opening.
To make this dress you can use the fabric of your choice. Here are some criteria you can consider before buying a fabric and tips for sewing for kids and options of fabric choices for making kids clothes.
So here is the tutorial
Step 1 Make the pattern
You need to take a number of body measurements on the little girl. Take chest round, length of the full dress, Bodice length (Length from shoulder tip to waist or where the bodice should end), length of the skirt from where bodice ends, shoulder tip to shoulder tip. Mark the pattern on a paper before marking on the fabric so that you can use this again.
Pattern for the Front bodice
Pattern for the back bodice
You will need two fabric pieces for the back bodice as it has an opening- which is why 1 1/2 inches is given extra for the two pieces by the central opening.
For the skirt follow the dimension given below – you need 2 of these skirt pieces from the outer fabric and 2 from lining. The lining need to be cut 1 or 2 inches shorter in length and if you do not have enough fabric the width can also be reduced.
Step 2 Cut out the fabric pieces.
You will need to cut these patterns from the outer fabric and the lining.
Remember that for the front bodice you will have to Fold the fabric to mark the pattern. Back bodice consists of two pieces.
The front bodice.
You may add a small fabric strip to the bottom edge of the front bodice as a decoration.
And all the pieces together after you have cut the lining too.
Step 4 Finish the skirt pieces
By ‘finish’ I mean join the two fabric pieces for the skirt to form a tube ( your skirt) and then hem the bottom edge.
Do this for the lining pieces of the skirt too.
Now insert the lining skirt inside the main skirt and pin in place. Or baste stitch in place.
Step 5 Make a placket on the skirt piece
You need a small placket opening in the top edge of your skirt on the back – this is made so that the child has no difficulty getting into the dress. – this will be continuous with the placket you make on the bodice.
Make a long cut of 3 inches along the center of the back of the skirt (outer and lining piece together). Cut out a 2 inch wide fabric piece 6 1/2 inches in length
Keep the piece along the cut you have made.
Stitch together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. As you reach the end of the cut, stretch it so that the other side is straight and join the same way.
Now the whole piece is joined.
Now straighten up the cut and tuck the fabric to the inside.
Fold and stitch in place.
The whole placket will fall in place. You can now top stitch along the edge to neaten it.
Step 3 Gather the skirt pieces
Now you need to gather the too big skirt pieces to fit the fitting bodice.
Keep the two skirt pieces together and gather the top edge – you can use any number of techniques. I have used the zig zag method over string – just use a loose zig zag stitch over a string kept along the top edge some 1/4 inch down.
Pull the string to gather the top edge to a measurement equaling chest round of the child + 4 inches. This will (or should) match the bottom edge of your bodice bottom edge.
Step 6 Finish the front bodice
Keep the outer fabric and the lining of the front bodice rightsides together.
Stitch along the neckline and the armhole with a 1/4 inch allowance. Remember not to stitch 1/2 inch from the top edge – this is for shoulder seam joining later.
Clip the seam allowance along 1 inch or so
Turn the whole thing rightside out.
Step 7 Finish the back bodice pieces
Keep the outer fabric and the lining right sides together. Stitch along the neckline and the armhole with a 1/4 inch allowance.
Remember not to stitch 1/2 inch from the top edge – this is for shoulder seam joining later.
Clip the seam allowance along 1 inch or so
Turn the whole thing right side out. Do the same thing for the other piece as well
Step 8 Make the button plackets
Turn under the edges of the center edge of the back bodices, twice – first 1/2 inch and then 1 inch to the inside and stitch in place.
Do the same for both the back bodice pieces.
Step 9 Sew the shoulder seams of the bodice
Keep the bodices right sides together.
For an easy way out you can simply join the shoulder seams (in which case you should fully stitch the sides in the earlier step) – but this will leave the seam outside (it is really inside the dress,but a better way is to get the seams all inside the lining as well)
For this You will need to take the outer fabric top edges at the shoulder and join that alone.
Leave the lining as of now.
Now turn the dress right side out. It will look like the following photo from the inside
Adjust and arrange the lining to come over seam.
You can top stitch along the neckline and armholes at this point.
Step 10 Sew the side seams of the bodice
Join the side seams of the bodice. Keep them rightsides together and join the sides -simple.
As you sew the side seams you can add a sash to your dress.
To make the sash cut out 2 fabric pieces 3 inches or so wide and 20 inches or so long ( depends on your requirement).
Keep it some 1 inch up from the bottom edge on both sides, ensuring that the seam of the sash will be facing the back of the dress.
Step 11 Join the bodice to the gathered skirt
Now join the bodice and the skirt together. Start joining from the plackets.Adjust the gathers to fit the bodice edge.
Step 12 Sew the fasteners on the back
Attach small hooks and make thread loops or make buttonholes and buttons. You can follow tutorials to make a buttonhole by hand, make a buttonhole by machine, sew buttons, sew hooks and threadbars or buttonloops.