Thursday, 4 July 2019

A Toddler Dress and Dolls dress

Every little girl would love her doll to be dressed the same as her. In this post I am going to show you how to do a simple "pattern hack" in order to make a straight dress using the basic top pattern and the skirt pattern.  It is very easy to do and means that you can make even more garments from your
first though we are going to make the Child's dress

You will find lots of suitable patterns in the children section of pattern companies

With this blog post I want to discuss sewing for children

This pattern is a Simplicity New Look and I think that it is so incredibly pretty I just had to make it.
When sewing for young children there are some things you need to bear in mind. Firstly comfort is paramount,  so no rough fabrics or tickly seams to irritate the skin. The fabric has to be soft yet durable - cotton is ideal - and the garment needs to stand up to a lot of rough and tumble!

The fabric I used is this Rocking horse print poly cotton from,  you only need one metre, and I used a metre of plain white polycotton too for the lining and trim. There are lots of cotton fabrics on this link Cotton fabrics

Little girls love dolls so I also made a dolls dress with the leftover fabric., the instructions are at the end of this post

The style is loose and comfortable and can be worn as a pinafore with a simple t-shirt underneath.

The pattern is Simplicity New Look 6903

The first step I took was to make the applique pocket and attach it to the front of the dress. To make it I cut it out twice in the main fabric and once in interfacing. Iron on the interfacing to one piece then right sides together sew the pocket all around the seam allowance  leaving a gap to turn it right sides out. Clip the corners and trim and snip the curves, turn right sides out and trim in whatever way you like.
I chose this brightly coloured jumbo ricrac.

Stitch the pocket to the dress front where marked, making sure that you finish off the ends securely.

I am sewing the garment with French Seams which are not only robust but are comfortable next to a child's skin. I am also lining the dress.
To sew a french seam place the front and back WRONG sides together, sew a narrow seam. Trim, press open. Turn the garment inside out and sew another narrow seam on the wrong side of the garment. In this way all raw edges are neatly enclosed.

This is a picture of the wrong side where I have pinned the fabric together to sew the seam.

And this is what the finished seam looks like on the inside of the garment.

Do the same for the lining, sewing the dress front to the back with a French Seam.

Instead of making bias binding for the sleeve edges the lining will provide a very neat armhole.
Right sides together pin and stitch the dress to the lining at the armholes. Trim the seam, press and under-stitch for extra strength. 

Next we need to deal with the neckline. So pin and tack the front and back together at the top. Iron on some lightweight interfacing to one front yoke and one back yoke.
 Run two rows of gathering stitches between the notches and gather up so that they fit between the dots on the yokes.

Gather up evenly and stitch the yokes to the fronts and backs between the dots.

Pin the yoke linings to the front and the backs and stitch leaving the lower enge open. Trim the curves, turn right sides out, press, turning under the seam allowance on the linings and slip stitch the linings in place.

For strength top stich close to the edges on the front and back yokes.

Mark the position of the buttonholes.

You will need your buttonhole foot and have your manual open at the buttonhole page . The instructions are very concise and clear as they explain exactly how the buttonhole foot is operated.
Attach the foot to the machine and turn the control ideal to select the buttonhole you want
. Place the button in the buttonhole guide and that's it really. Pull the buttonhole lever down and hold your thread out of the way. Prepare a piece of double fabric with interfacing between and sew a test buttonhole.

Once you are happy that the buttonhole is correct then mark the position on your garment with tailors chalk.

Then stitch them on exactly the same setting and cut them open. Use sharp pointed scissors please, or you risk your buttonhole continuing too far if you try to use a seam ripper.

Turn up a very narrow double hem on the underskirt top stitch and press.

The ruffle is cut on the bias and there are four pieces. Join them together in a circle and press the seams open, press the ruffle in half. Run two rows of gathering stitches inside the seam allowance and gather it to fit the bottom of the dress. Matching the centre front and back and side seams to the joins in the ruffle adjust the gathers and pin and stitch in place.

Most machines have  an overedge foot so this is a good try to test it out.
Select the stitch you want by referring to your manual and attach the overedge foot to your machine.

Position the toe of the foot at the edge of your fabric as shown in the manual and overedge the seam you have just sewn. Press it and then press and top stitch the seam towards the dress for extra strength.

This is a really pretty dress and is one which you can make time and time again with different fabrics and trims.

 How to sew the dolls dress using a simple pattern hack

For this I used our Doll pattern, leftover dress fabric from the child's dress, using the skirt and the sleevless blouse patterns to make a simple dress

I took the front skirt, the short length and the basic sleeveless top front piece and placed them on the fold of the fabric,  overlapping the seam allowance at the waist.

I did the same with the back, but as there is a centre back seam the fabric should not be placed on the fold. There is an opening at the back of the top and this needs to extend all the way from the neckline to the hem, so make sure that you continue with the same cutting line as the top when it comes to cutting the skirt part.

To make the pocket I cut a rugby ball shape, folded it in half and pressed it, adding my ric rac trim to the top.

In your sewing machine manual there is a section on aplique, so take a look and select which aplique stitch you prefer place yourmpocket on the dress and sew all around the bottom of the pocket. This will hold it in place and overcast the pocket edge as well. These stitches are useful for any sort of aplique work and patchwork.

This is the little pocket sewn in place with my aplique stitc, or just  a tiny zigzag

Join the shoulder seams right sides together and neaten the seams turn under the seam allowances on the neckline and arm holes and machine stitch them down. Press.

Stitch the side seams and the centre back seam up to the waist. Neaten the seams. 
Turn up a double hem and stitch in place and then add a row of ric rac triM around the hem.
Add a popper ag the top of the dress as in the previous posts. Press and it is finished!

This is a delightful,  easy dress to make for your doll which uses up spare bits of fabric ric too. It also introduces you to altering a pattern, which is called pattern hacking. I am sure that you can find other ways to alter a pattern.

Happy sewing