Wednesday 22 April 2015

The Simplest Summer Maxi Dresses Ever!

Have you ever noticed that section at the fabric-store with the pre-shirred fabric on the bolt, and wondered what you would make with it?  I discovered it a number of years ago now, when Bethany was about 4.  There was a bolt of plain pink pre-shirred fabric on the 'specials' table and it was a dusty pink that I just loved dressing Bethany in at that stage.  I bought some, and made a little dress for her, complete with some silver ric-rac along the hem ... I was in love with that dress!!  In fact I must remember to get it out next summer for Hannah ... It'll be just her size by then ... the joys of having little sisters to pass cuteness on to!!
Anyway, I was recently gifted these gorgeous printed pre-shirred fabrics from a friend who was having a clean-out of her craft things.  She has 2 girls with a similar age-gap to ours, but who are now finishing primary-school and heading off to high-school, so wouldn't be interested in these fabrics any longer.
Lucky for her (or should I say, us!!) I have two girls who most definitely are interested in these fabrics, and who will never say no to a new dress.  And seriously, with this pre-shirred fabric, I made both of these dresses in less than an hour.  These fabrics didn't even make it to my fabric shelf!!

All I did was this ... 

1. Measure around the girls' chests, and cut the fabric in one piece to the same measurement.  
2. Right-sides-together, sew a seam starting at the top shirred section, down to the bottom, joining the fabric into a tube-dress, then finish the seam with either an overlocker (serger) or with a zig-zag stitch to stop the raw edge from fraying.
3. At this point I tried the dresses on, and decided on a length (I wanted a maxi-style dress, but I also didn't want the girls to trip over whilst playing in their dresses, so I opted for a just-above-the-ankle length!)  I trimmed the bottom of the dress, allowing an additional 1 inch for the hem, then turned the hem under by 1/2", then another 1/2" and sewed it around.
4. Using the off-cuts, I made the straps by cutting strips 1 1/2" wide, by 10" long (you could change the length depending on the size of your munchkin!!).  Fold them in half long-ways, right-sides-together, and sew down the long side.  Use a safety pin to turn the tube right-side-out, then press with the seam to one side of the strap.
5.  I attached the straps to the inside edge of the dresses, folding the raw edges under, and sewing a small square across the fold end of the strap, back-stitching firmly several times to make sure there are no strap malfunctions mid-wear.  I just eye-balled the placement of the straps, trying to make them even on each side of the dress, and making sure I kept the seam at the middle-back of the dress.  I like to place the straps closer together at the back and slightly further apart at the front as I find this stops the straps falling off little shoulders whilst the girls are playing. 

And seriously, that's it.  There's even time spare to stop and smell the roses *cough ... crepe myrtle!