Infinity Dresses…for Little Girls
This week’s Project Run & Play challenge was to remix the Party Dress from The Cottage Home. I have to admit I struggled with this one. A pattern like this is very basic and yet very specific. A basic, lined bodice is pretty much the foundation for almost any garment. AND I had made dresses almost exactly like this before. (The girls’ Easter dresses from last spring…I used them for my Signature Look the last time I participated in the sew-along.) So…what on earth could I do that would adequately “remix” it?? I was thisclose to just skipping the first week. However, my out-of-the-box thinking, creative-minded husband came to the rescue. He was looking at the picture of the dress on The Cottage Home’s site and said…what if you did it like one of those infinity dresses? Eureka! I loved this idea!
I recently helped a friend figure out the best way to wear one of these dresses for her brother’s wedding, so they have been on my radar. Apparently they are (were? Am I behind?) all the rage for their simplicity and versatility. The idea of one for little girls appealed to me for the same reasons. Although the top did need some tweaking to make it more appropriate for children. (for example…my girls are not going around strapless!)
What I ended up creating is a simple tank dress made of a two-way stretch jersey that I found at Joann.
It has a lined bodice and a slightly gathered skirt.
For interest at the hem I added a band.
And instead of a normal sash, I gave the dress two loooonnnnggg sash pieces at either side that can be used to wrap around the little one in several different ways to give the dress a new look every time she wears it.
Except for fighting with the knit, this was a really easy dress to create and I thought I would share a little tutorial with you! These will be super comfy and fun to wear in the spring/summer (although it is 80+ degrees here this week!). My girls loved them and didn’t really want to take them off.
I am so glad that I didn’t skip this week! I just love these simple dresses and they will be a great addition to their warm weather wardrobe! I just wanted to share a few more pics from the photoshoot today…Dinah was being a ham and it was cracking us all up. I promise I did not coach her at all…these poses came straight from her crazy, three-year-old mind. 🙂 Just scroll down for the tutorial…
Infinity Dress Tutorial
Stretchy knit fabric (preferably with two-way stretch)
Ball point needle for your machine
Walking foot (optional…but I find it helpful)
Step One: Create your pattern, calculate your measurements and make your cuts
The first thing you will want to do is make a tank top pattern if you don’t already have one. This is super easy…just go dig out a knit tank top that fits your child well, fold it in half and trace. Don’t forget to leave a bit of room for seam allowances…I did 0.5 inch for this project. I made the front pieces a bit lower in the neckline than the back, but you could do them the same if you wanted…that is totally a personal preference thing.
Next you will need figure out how much fabric you will need for your skirt and the hem band. Here is the formula I used:
((Waist x 1.5) + 1) / 2 = each skirt panel width (That 1 is added for seam allowance.)
Dinah (4T size): ((22 x 1.5) + 1) / 2 = (33 + 1) / 2 = 34/2 = 17
Esther (2T size): ((19 x 1.5) + 1) / 2 = (26 + 1) / 2 = 27/2 = 13.5
For the length, you need to measure how long you want the dress to be. I did from about 4 inches under the arm to right at the knee. Take this measurement and add 1 inch. Next subtract 3 inches (or however big you want your band). This should be the length of the top panel of the skirt.
My measurements were:
Dinah: 14 + 1 = 15 – 3 = 12
Esther: 10.5 + 1 =11.5 – 2.5 = 9 (I made Esther’s band slightly smaller)
So, to recap my top skirt panels were:
Dinah: 17 x 12 inches
Esther: 13.5 x 9 inches
The band panels should be twice the length you want the bands to be plus 1 inch and as wide as your skirt panels.
My bands were:
Dinah: 17 x 7
Esther: 13.5 x 6
And finally you will need your sash strips. I just cut two strips for each dress the width of the fabric. For Dinah’s I did 5 inches and for Esther I did 3 inches.
Isn’t math fun? Or not…okay, here are all the cuts you need…
Cut 2 of each:
front bodice piece
back bodice piece
top skirt panel
Step Two: Make the bodice
**Note: for all my stitching I used a stretch stitch on my machine, a ball point needle, and a walking foot. The stretch stitch I used looks like a little lightning bolt. You could also use a very narrow zigzag stitch. This just allows your seams to stretch just a bit with the fabric so your stitching doesn’t pop.**
Pin front bodice piece to the back bodice piece at side seams encasing one end of each sash piece at the sides. Leave about 1 inch on either side of the sash in the seam. You will have to gather the end of the sash pieces to accomplish this. Pin together the front and back bodice lining pieces at the side seams, as well.
Stitch the side seams together on both the bodice and the lining.
Place the bodice and lining right sides together and pin bodice to the lining at the neckline and armholes leaving the top of shoulders open.
Stitch along neckline and armholes.
Turn the bodice wrong side out and press well.
Pin the shoulder seams right sides together and stitch.
Finish the seam as you choose…I just trimmed to a 1/4 inch and did a simple zigzag stitch. I also hand tacked the seam down at the shoulder, just so it laid nice and flat.
And now the bodice is finished!
Step Three: Make the skirt
Fold hem bands in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press.
Place raw edge of hem band along bottom of skirt panel, right sides together. Pin and stitch. Finish seam and press band down and seam up. Repeat for the other half of the skirt.
Pin skirt panels together at side seams, matching the hem band seam lines. Stitch together and press seams open.
Near the top edge of the skirt run a gathering stitch. Pull the bobbin threads to create a slight gather around the top of the skirt.
**And, I apparently was in such a great hurry to finish these up that I totally forgot to take pictures of these final steps. Hopefully this makes sense and you can figure it out. :/ Sorry!**
Step Four: Finishing it all up!
Pin your skirt and bodice right sides together. Match up the side seams and adjust your gathering so the skirt panel width matches the bodice. Finish those seams and press the seam allowance down toward the skirt.
And you are done! Now you can wrap up those cuties however you wish!
If you make one of these, I would love to see it! Add your pictures to my Flickr group!