Wednesday, April 21, 2010
To start, find an old button down shirt made with fabric that you love and cut out a shape kind of like this. Cut off the sleeves and save those to make straps for the dress later. Cut the shirt up the side seams as well. Measure your child to figure out just how wide and long you need it to be.
The back of the shirt will be the front of the dress and the front of the shirt will be the back of the dress, so the buttons will run up the back as you see in my picture. Make sure you cut the top of the dress close to a button so that you'll have a top button for your dress! The shirt I used had a "yoke" across the back shoulders, which I included and is why the chest area of this dress has fabric going the opposite direction. I didn't draw the yoke in this picture.
Use fabric from the sleeves you cut off and cut out two shapes kind of like this. Where you see the dotted line is where you'll make a casing for elastic. Measure your child to determine the length for the straps and the elastic. Use a narrow hem to finish the raw curved edge, then thread your elastic through the casing, letting the fabric ruffle up! (You could also just sew on some ribbons that you could tie or simple cloth straps without a ruffle or elastic if you want to keep it really simple)
I pinned one end of the straps into the fabric between the two sections of the yoke (this part of the shirt is double-layered), but if you don't have a yoke or don't want to mess with it, you can attach the straps last.
Sew the dress up the side seams to the underarm. Use a narrow hem to finish the top of the back, underarms, and top of the front. If you sewed one end of your straps into the front section, you just need to attach them to the back, if not, attach the straps to both the front and back.
I decided to add a little strip of pleated ribbon to the top of the chest between the sleeves. This is, of course, optional.