But when my niece's third birthday was suddenly right around the corner, I knew I had to make something with it. And it turns out it made a perfect little summery dress for her. It will also be perfect for the holidays with some tights and a cardigan, don't you think?
I also love that since the dress is so basic, it's easy to layer a shirt underneath, add a belt, a ribbon at the waist, a peter pan collar, a brooch or pin, or any number of accessories. It's incredibly versatile!
|my sister and her two sweet baby girls|
- medium weight jersey knit (similar here, although it's cotton, not knit)
- matching thread
- double needle (optional)
- parchment or pattern paper
Step 1. Using a tank dress or t-shirt as a pattern, cut out the main part of the dress in parchment or pattern paper. Add 1/2" for a seam allowance.
Do the same to make a sleeve pattern, adding a half inch seam allowance.
Step 2. Using the pattern you just made, cut out two (2) dress pieces and two (2) sleeve pieces.
Step 3. With right sides together, sew the shoulders and the sides of the dress with a straight stitch and a half inch seam allowance.
(not pictured): fold the sleeves in half with right sides together and sew up the short side to make a sleeve. Repeat for second sleeve.
Step 4. Insert the sleeve into the arm hole and pin. Then sew around the arm hole with a half inch seam allowance.
Repeat on the second sleeve. Now your dress should look like this:
Step 5. Fold the sleeve edge under twice and hem with a double needle (optional -- a single needle is fine but doesn't allow for any stretch), as seen below. Repeat on second sleeve.
Step 6. Determine where you want your elastic waist, and then fold the dress in half on that mark, as seen below, pinning it into place. Sew around the dress with a 1/2" seam allowance.
When you open your dress after sewing this seam, it should look like this...
...and the inside should look like this.
Press the fabric flap (seen below) up toward the dress neckline, and sew another seam parallel to the first seam, creating a casing for your elastic. Make sure you leave an opening in the seam to insert the elastic.
Step 7. (not pictured) Cut a piece of elastic to your desired length and insert into your casing through the opening you left. Sew the ends of the elastic together and sew up the casing opening.
Step 8. Now let's move to the neckline. Measure your neckline and then cut a strip of fabric (I just used a plain white stretchy knit) 1 1/2 inches shorter than the measurement. Sew the ends together to create a circle of fabric (as seen two photos below).
Stretching as you go, pin the circle of knit to your neckline with right sides together. Sew around the neckline at a half inch seam allowance.
Step 9. Fold over the circle of fabric and press under the neckline so it isn't visible, as seen below. Then with a double needle, stitch around the neckline to secure the knit underneath.
Step 10. Hem your dress to your desired length. And you're done! A darling little toddler dress (and of course super easy to make in adult sizes too!)