Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Michelle Dress - A Tutorial

This is my first tutorial, so please give me your comments on how to make it clearer or to improve it.

The Michelle Dress
I made this dress out of imagination and with no pattern just some basic measurements because basically they are just made of rectangles...

You'll need..

The usual sewing materials, like sewing machine and thread, etc..
1 yard of fabric (I have some extra left after making my 3 yo size)
1 button (optional if you prefer to just tie it on the neck as well) (or 2 if you want to make the strap adjustable)

For the neck straps..
  1. Cut 1 inch of the fabric (selvage to selvage)
  2. Fold it and cut lengthwise (now you have 2 of them)
  3. Do it another time (now you have 4 of them) - note that if you are leaving out the buttons, you need to make it slightly longer so that it can be tied
  4. Take 2 pieces of the strips and sew them with right side facing leaving an opening at where you'll insert the strap to the bodice
  5. Cut corners and turn right side out
  6. Do it again for the other 2 piece to make the other strap and now you have these...

For the "bodice"... yeah with double quote because it's not a real bodice, just a slightly wider strap ;)
  1. Cut 2 pieces x 4 inch of the fabric (selvage to selvage)
  2. Put the right sides of the fabric together, pin the straps in between the 2 fabrics
  3. Sew the right sides of the strips together with the neck straps too, but leave an opening at the bottom to insert the skirt later on, like this...


For the skirt..
  1. Cut 1 piece of the fabric of the length that you want (selvage to selvage) + extra for hemming - mine turned out quite long at half my daughter's calves.
  2. Fold each of the end 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch and sew near the edge to hide the raw edges. This is also a good time to insert your own labels if you have one, I used a ready made ribbon for this. So now you have both of the edges of the skirt fabrics with raw edges covered like this...


  3. Fold the fabric so that the right sides are together and sew starting from about 2 inch below the top edge all the way down to the hem line, like so...


  4. Open the seams and press open before hemming
  5. Hem the bottom of the skirt by folding 1/4 inch and then 1 inch, steam iron, pin, and sew - you can also do this step last if you prefer to. I prefer to do it now before the skirt is basted and inserted as it's just easier to do so.

    Use a steam iron to press open the seams

    Fold 1/4 inch and press... and then 1 inch (or whatever hem width that you prefer) and press...

    Sew near the edge of the folded fabric to hem
    Now you have a nice and professional looking hem like this...

    Nice eh?
  6. Use the longest stitch in your machine to gather your skirt piece

    Because I'm lazy, I only used 1 gathering stitch instead of the recommended 2 parallel lines :D
Putting them all together..
  1. Insert the basted skirt piece piece into the opening of the "bodice", pin securely, and top stitch around the entire bodice

    Make sure the skirt piece is pinned properly inside the "bodice" piece...

    Top stitch around the entire "bodice"

  2. Sew buttons and button holes to the next straps - I put mine about 1 inch apart (approx. 2.5 cm)


  3. Put it on a twirly toddler to try on

    Before you call the children's welfare, the car was actually stationery :)

    Back view of the dress.. so apparently even with the 2 buttons, the neck straps were still too long for my daughter so I ended up tying them instead :)
Hope you enjoy the tutorial - do leave a comment if you are using the tutorial or if you have feedback!

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