Spring-like weather always finds me ready to make summer dresses. They are my favorite thing to sew because they are simple, cute, and practical! This dress is my rendition of a dress I saw a picture of, but needed some adjustments (a ruffle on the bottom and to tie at the waist instead of around the chest). This dress used less than 1 yard of fabric for the main print, and some scrap pieces of the solid (enough for a couple long strips 3-4" wide). You will also need a piece of fabric to make a casing for the waist ties that will go around the inside of the dress (see step 6).
The Height = how long you want the dress to be from the chest to the bottom (not including any ruffles you might put on the bottom) + seam allowance. The top seam allowance needs to be big enough to fold over for a casing for elastic.
The Width = your child's waist measurement + seam allowance
3. Sew down the folded over top edge along the bottom, leaving a small gap to feed your elastic through later.
Optional 3.5. Sew around the top of your casing about a 1/4" from the top. (This is just to create a little ruffle above your elastic and is purely decorative)
4. Measure your child to determine how far down from the top of the dress you want to put the waist ties. Find the center front of the dress and mark this spot. Mark 2 spots, equidistant from this center front mark on either side of it. This is where your button holes will go for the ties to come out in the front. Use your judgement to determine how far apart to put them.
7. Sew the casing down on both the top and bottom, going all the way around the dress. Leave a small gap at the buttonholes through which you will feed your waist tie through later. Technically you don't have to leave a gap because you can feed the tie through the buttonholes themselves, but I found this easier.
11. Do the same in the casing behind your buttonholes, except feed your waist tie ends out the front of the buttonholes. I originally just made one long strap, using my daughter as a guide. Another option is to make two straps attached together using a length of elastic, for a more stretchy comfortable fit (I later went back and did this, although it doesn't change the look of the dress whatsoever)
11.5 Making a waist tie/shoulder straps--cut a rectangle of fabric twice the width you want the finished strap to be. Fold it over and sew the raw long edges together. Turn it right-side out and iron it flat. I then like to top-stitch down both edges of it to make it look crisp and finished, but that's up to you.
12. Attach your shoulder straps. This picture shows them pinned to the outside, but I obviously sewed them on the inside. That's just how I pinned them while fitting it on my daughter :-)
Here's the finished dress! My daughter loves the ruffle and bow!