18 October 2011

The Button Pinafore Dress Tutorial

Brrrrr! Winter is definitely on it's way, so I thought I'd better start making some warmer clothes for L. I've had 1/2 meter of pretty pink and white polka dot sitting in my fabric hoard for a few months and didn't know what to do with it. What better item is there for a little girls winter wardrobe than a pinafore dress. Dress it with tights and a polo neck on cold days or on it's own as the weather turns warmer. The dress got it's name from the fact I used the button hole setting on my sewing machine for the first time and I'm pretty chuffed with myself!

You will need:
Fabric - my fabric was 1m x 0.5m which was enough to make a loose dress in size 12-18 months. 
3 buttons - 2 for the fastenings and 1 for decoration (optional)
Thread, scissors, sewing machine, paper for the pattern

1. I used a good fitting pinafore dress to make the pattern. The "skirt" part of the edge is 31cm at the top, 28cm down and 40cm at the bottom. Along a straight edge of you pattern paper, draw a line measuring 15.5cm. Then measure 28cm down the straight edge and draw a 20cm line. You should then join up the two lines and this will form the skirt of your dress. The straight line will be where the fold is.

2. The bodice: I traced the pattern using an exisiting dress but here is a method you can use to do you own. For the front part of the bodice, draw a rectangle 18cm x 15.5cm.  On the longest side, from 4cm up, draw a curve which goes in about 6cm and finishes 3cm from the top this will form your arm hole. On the top short edge, make a mark 3cm from the corner and on the longest edge (opposit to the arm hole) make a mark 6cm down. Join up the marks with a curve. This will form your head hole.

For the back part of the bodice, draw a rectangle cm 21cm x 15.5xm. On the longest side, from 4cm up draw a curve which goes in 6cm and finishes 3cm from the top. On the top short edge, make a mark about 3cm from the corner and on the longest edge (opposite  to the arm hole) make a mark 6cm down. Join up the marks with a curve. This will form your head hole. Phew! Hopefully that makes sence!

3. Pockets: You can really go to town here with any shape you liked. Just remember that the more simple the shape the easier it will be to sew on to your dress. I decided not to use pockets in the end because of the pattern on my fabric. However the good thing about making your own clothes is the ability to change your mind whenever you like. In a few weeks time I might decide this dress MUST have pockets!

4. Pin your pattern to the fabric and cut. You will need 1 each of the front and back bodice, 2 of the skirt and pockets (optional).

5. Once you have cut all your pieces out, you are ready to sew. 

6. Pin the skirt pieces right side together and sew along each of the angled edges and hem the bottom.
7. Sew on the pockets (optional).
8. Pin the bodice pieces right side together and sew along the short edge under each of the arm holes
9. You will need to close up the raw edges of the bodice. As the edge is curved, you should put a small snip every few centimeters, fold, pin and stitch. I find doing this a lot easier if you fold and press the edges with a warm iron before stitching. This just holds the fold nicely while you stitch.

10. Button holes and buttons is next. Mark out where you would like your button holes and following the instructions for your sewing machine sew in the button holes. Be sure to measure careful to make sure your buttons will fit through the gap. I practiced first on a scrap. I was so pleased with my first go at button holes that I did a little jump for joy!

11. Keeping your skirt turned inside out, you will need to turn the bodice part right side up and slip it inside the top of the skirt part. The waist part of each section should now be lined up. You will need to pin the two sections together and stitch.

12. Decoration: My obession with Follow Me on Pinterest led me to a whole new world of fabric flowers. I found a really easy pattern for this gorgeous flower here. Most fabric flowers call for using a glue gun and a lot of sticking instead of stitching, but on an item that is going to be going through the washing machine a lot, I thought stitching it would be a much better idea.I just simply attached the flower to the centre of dress where the skirt meets the bodice.

13. DONE! Give your dress a quick iron and find a willing model.

As you can see L really liked her flower and wasn't too keen on showing it off to anyone!

If you do make this dress then I would love it for you to come back and show me a picture or offer any feeback on the actual tutorial.

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