Friday, 21 November 2014

DIY Summer Babydoll Dress

A few weeks back, I got this strech cotton-blend sunflower fabric from an op shop for $2. What a score! I pretty much decided immediately that I wanted to make a summery dress from it...

Now, I, personally, do not and will not wear ANYTHING with a fitted middle section... Let's face it, I've had 3 kids and my stomach isn't what it used to be. 
The latest styles of ladies clothes for the past year or more, have had these waistlines that I refuse to wear... I mean really, where are all the baby doll dresses and baggy tops at?

My main focus, was to create a dress that disguised my stomach area and didn't bring attention to it! Seriously, fashion *ugh*! 

I'm not the girliest of girls, I much prefer to wear pants and shorts and I really don't have many dresses at all. A comfy, casual babydoll dress might actually get a bit of wear from me.

So, I've put together a tutorial of how I made this little number... It was super easy and a beginner seamstress will be able to make this.

- First of all, you need to get yourself a singlet that fits you well and is also made from a similar fabric to the one you are sewing with. This will allow for correct sizing.

I only want to replicate the bust and shoulder straps really. I chose to use this Nike singlet because it isn't too tight and I like how the neckline sits.

You will need to lay your singlet flat onto your fabric.

I used tailors chalk to draw the outline. Keep in mind you only want to outline the FRONT of your singlet at this stage.
Using sharp scissors, cut around your outline.

(I am obsessed with tailors chalk and disapearing texta. I make the outline and then cut out. I find it quicker than pinning.)

Use your front bodice piece as a template for the back... I made the scoop on my back piece higher though.

Fold each piece in half to ensure each side is a mirror image. I just trimmed the areas that had a slight overhang.

You will now have 2 pieces. A front and a back bodice.

Here we will construct the bodice to try and get a good fit. 

Lay the 2 pieces Right Sides Together and pin the top of the shoulders and down the 2 straight sides on the bodice. Make sure you don't pin the arm holes or the bottom!

Now we want to Baste the pinned areas. (Use the longest stitch on your machine but DONT back stitch.)

I put the basting at the width of the presser foot...

When you have Basted the pinned areas, take your pins out (if you haven't already) and turn yr garment out the right way. 

Try your bodice on and see if any adjustments need to be made.

I needed to adjust the shoulders. I put pins in them while I still had it on so I could get the right fit.

I also needed to make the length of the bodice MUCH shorter. We are going for a babydoll dress remember!

I folded the length up and pinned that at the required length also.

I took off the top and ironed a crease where I'd pinned. Then I just cut along the crease line to shorten!

Once I had the bodice at the desired length, I took the excess material, draped it around myself and made a few marks with chalk for the length and width.
When doing the width, allow a bit extra because it will be gathered.

Once you have cut your skirt piece, you can gather one length, which will soon be attached to the bodice

To gather, baste 2 lines about a presser foot apart (those are technichal terms, right?!) and about 1.5-2 inches from the raw edge.

Don't back stitch the threads otherwise you won't be able to gather the fabric!

(I had a little helper who wanted to sew - with my help of course!!)

When you have finished sewing the 2 threads, it's time to gather the skirt...

Pull both threads from either the top or the bottom of the stitching... I think mine was the 2 top threads. 
Shuffle the fabric along until the whole side of the fabric is gathered evenly.

Ok, put your skirt piece aside for a bit... Let's get the neckline and sleeve trims sorted!

Lay your bodice flat and grab your tape measure. Roughly measure how long the front and back necklines are.

Mine were as follows:

Front neckline - 23.5" length, 4" width
Back neckline - 18.5" length, 2" width
Sleeves - 14" length, 2" width

I made the front neckline trim wider than the back neckline and the sleeves... 

NOTE: This turned out to be not the smartest idea which I didn't think about until later on... Rookie error!! 

So, make sure you make the front neckline AND back the SAME width!! 

This is how I made the trims... Roughly measured the length and width and used the tailors chalk to mark it up, then cut along the white lines!

To make the trim itself, I ironed the strip, then folded the 2 edges into the middle and pressed well... 

Once you've done the whole piece, fold it in half and press again... You will have something that ends up looking like this!

Repeat this procedure for the remaining trims (sleeves and back neckline).

Next, I pinned the trim to the raw edges...

And whipped it through the overlocker.... Too easy!

Repeat for all other trims...

The shoulder straps of the bodice will end up looking like this...

This was the point where a said a few choice words because I realized my stuff up with the mismatching trims... Argh!!!
Anyway, I tried to trim the excess a bit to fix it up as best I could... But if YOU make a dress, you won't make this mistake haha ;-)

Pin the sides of the bodice together and sew/serge seams....

Your bodice is now complete. Press all seams and then it's time to attach the gathered skirt.

The skirt will be evenly gathered like this... 

Lay the bodice inside the skirt like this... The right sides of the fabric are together and the gathered raw edge is matching up to the raw edge of the bodice... Pin well the whole way around...

Oh! That's right! I forgot to sew the sides of the skirt together! Ha!! FAIL!!!! 

NOTE: You should actually do this BEFORE you gather the skirt. Worst tutorial ever! Haha!! 

If you made it this far actually following my instruction, pin the sides of the skirt and sew/serge *face palm*

Right, moving back on to the skirt/bodice attaching!

Baste the skirt onto the bodice.... If you are really confident, you can serge or sew right away, but I personally prefer to baste first, sewing along in between the 2 gathering lines.

Once I was happy with the skirt placement, I went ahead and used the overlocker to sew the skirt on.

Next up, I pressed the seams and then last step, unpicking the basting stiches. And that's it! 

I chose to keep the bottom of the skirt with a neat, raw hem :-)

Try on your dress!! 


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