18 April 2012

The Twirly Dress Tutorial

Evelyn calls these "twirly dresses" because the skirt flows really well when spinning out-of-control.  With only four pieces, there's not much to them.  Once I figured out just how I wanted to construct them, it only took about an hour and a half from cutting fabric to snapping photos of Evelyn twirling away.
I couldn't resist making one for Claire too.  They still think it's fun to be twins.
You'll Need:
About 1 yard stretchy cotton knit fabric
Six inches elastic, about 1/8 inch thickness (thin, but thick enough to sew over)
Scissors, measuring tape, matching thread, fabric marker/tailor's chalk, seam ripper, etc.

1.  Measure your child for waist and chest circumference, back of neck to waist, waist to mid-calf (or however long you want the skirt) and head circumference.

2.  Cut a piece for skirt, adding an additional five inches to the waist--four for gathering, one for seam allowance.  Flare the skirt to the desired length (the more flare, the more movement in the final outfit).  Use the first skirt piece to trace and cut a second.
3.  Cut the back piece, again adding an additional five inches to the waist.  Use measurements from back of neck to waist with a half inch seam allowance for the waist and shoulders.  Form shoulder straps (they should be about two inches wide), large armholes and neckline.
4.  Using the back piece as a template for the front piece, trace and cut out.  The only difference is the neckline should be lower.  Check to make sure the child's head will fit through the hold by pinning together the front and back pieces at the shoulder and comparing the neckline measurements to the child's head circumference.
5.  With right sides together, sew front and back pieces together at the shoulder straps.
6.  Hem neckline.
7.  Hem armholes.
8.  With right sides together, sew together at sides.
9.  With right sides together, stitch skirt pieces together.  Hem the base of the skirt.
10.  With right sides together (with the wrong side facing out), line up the hip seams of the bodice and skirt, pinning the two pieces together.  Stitch around the entire length.
12.  At the skirt's hip seam, measure and mark zero and five inches (the third inch should be directly over the hip seam).
13.  Baste the skirt just below the bodice/skirt seam, from zero to five inches,  gathering to three inches.

14.  On the bodice/skirt seam, attach a thin, three inch piece of elastic.  Sew securely.
15.  Remove the basting, trim the bodice/skirt seam and wear!


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