I never learned how to sew properly. I know how to thread my machine, sew in straight lines, and have picked up a few sewing words that I "kinda" understand. Usually, I feel like I'm reading a foreign language whenever I attempt to follow a pattern.
But last week, I went the "non-perfectionist" route and got creative. I broke all the rules, but I had so much fun. In the last few days, I've sewn four dresses for my girls, one doll dress, two pairs of cutoff shorts, and a skirt for myself. I won't bore you with all of the projects in one post, so I'll start with the easiest sundress ever!
Here's my beautiful model:
This dress took less than twenty minutes to sew.
1. I started with fabric from Wal-Mart that had already been smocked.
(Translation: the stretchy elastic part on the top of the dress)
They had a lot of colors and patterns to choose from. I've also seen the pre-smocked fabric at fabric stores like JoAnn's. My favorite that I've made so far is a black dress with red cherries and red ribbon for the straps. I'll have to get a picture of that one.
2. Pre-wash and dry the fabric
3. Wrap it around the little girl you are sewing it for and figure out how big you want it to be and cut it. I bought enough to make two- one for each princess.
(Really technical measuring going on here, let me tell you!)
4. Folding the dress in half, match up the cut edges- right sides together. (That means it is inside out) This will become your back seam.
5. Sew a 5/8 seam. There should be a line on your sewing machine for you to follow with the edge of your material. The skirt of the dress flares out wider than the top part. Just keep your edge of your material going along the 5/8" mark and you'll be fine. When you begin to sew, sew forward a few stitches and backwards a few stitches so your thread won't unravel. Do the same thing at the bottom when you end. Cut your thread. This will be the back of your dress. I trimmed the seam with pinking shears to neaten it up and keep it from fraying, but that is optional.
6. Press open the seam with a hot iron.
7. Hem the dress by rolling up the amount you want, (I went up an inch) pressing with your iron so it stays put, and then sewing around the bottom. Begin and end at the back seam, remembering to "lock" your stitches by going forward a few stitches, backwards a few, and then forward again when you start. You can make it as long or as short as you want. You could also make it a shirt instead of a dress.
(At this point, I am imagining all of the proficient, talented seamstresses out there laughing their heads off at me and my weird way of describing things and the shortcuts I took.)
8. Sew ribbon on for straps. Or make straps out of scrap material to match. This is the tie around the neck version of straps, or you can just make it regular shoulder straps.
Note: I regret making the straps this way. My girls say the ribbon is too rough next to their neck. The other dresses have regular shoulder straps that are more comfortable.
Send your little princess outside to play in her cute new dress. Sundresses are the best for summer play. They are cool and comfy. I want to see pictures if you make one!
My Accomplices in These Crimes Against Perfection and Real Sewing:
Erin taught me some cool tricks on the sewing machine that I'll share with you in a later post.
And of course Martha Stewart had to come up the hill and take a peek at all of this sewing stuff, too. Isn't her boy adorable? Look at those blue eyes!!!!
She came up the hill this afternoon to show me that she made one of these dresses for her little princess. I hope she posts pictures of it on her blog. If she does, I'll link over. It's adorable!