Easy Breezy Dress Tutorial

Hello, RTSTH readers!  I’m Ayelet and I blog over at The Graceful Rose

I’m so honored that Melanie asked me to share my tutorial for my Easy Breezy Dress Tutorial- it’s the perfect sewing project for a beginner and is quick enough to accomplish in an hour or two.

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I made two dresses – for my youngest, I chose a knee length dress with a single ruffle, and for my oldest, I chose a maxi length dress with a double layer ruffle. 

Instructions for the double ruffle are at the end.

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To make your Easy Breezy Dress, you’ll need the following:

  •  tank top that fits your child in the chest
  • 1-2 yards of fabric, depending on the width (I used 44 inch wide quilting cotton on the shorter dress and 54 inch wide cotton voile on the longer dress)
  • matching thread
  • fabric scissors and fabric marker or rotary cutter and mat
  • clear ruler
  • measuring tape or dress that fits your child
  • sewing machine
  • serger (optional)
  • regular sewing machine needle, as well as a ball point sewing machine needle
  • general sewing notions (pins, seam ripper, etc.)

To get started, first measure your child from the shoulder to just above their natural waist.  Then measure from that spot to where you’d like the dress to fall.  Alternatively, you can use a dress that fits your child as a pattern.

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Once you know where the top portion of the dress will fall, mark your tank top and cut straight across the chest with your scissors or rotary cutter.

 

Now, for the skirt pieces, you’ll need to figure out your child’s hip measurement and then multiply that by 1.5.  My 6 year old’s hips are 19 inches around, so my width was 28.5 inches.  I determined that the length from her chest to her knees was 17 inches.

 

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If you want to add one ruffle, you’ll need to subtract 3 inches from the length of the skirt, so for me, it made my skirt 14 inches long.  For the maxi skirt, I put two layers of ruffles, the longer one being 5 inches, so I subtracted 5 inches from the length of the skirt.  You’ll want your ruffle strips to be twice the width of your skirt

 

I’m going to show you the single ruffle version, so here are the measurements I used:

 

Skirt: 28.5 inches wide and 14 inches long (cut 2)

Ruffle: 4 strips 3 x 30 inches (plus 4 strips of 5 x whatever the width if you want the second layer of ruffles)

 

Now you’re ready to start sewing!  All seams have 3/8 seam allowance.

 

First, lace your main skirt pieces right sides together.  Sew along both of the long sides to form a tube.  Press seams open and serge, zig-zag, or pink edges to finish.  Set aside.

 

Next, place two of the ruffle strips right sides together and sew along one of the the short edges.  Keep adding strips until they are all sewn together.  You should now have a wide, skinny tube.  Press seams open and either serge, zig-zag, or pink edges to finish.  Fold edge of long side over to wrong side 1/4 inch, and press.  Repeat to make a narrow hem.  Top stitch all the way along the long edge of your ruffle.  Alternatively, if you own a serger, you can make a rolled edge hem.

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To make the ruffle, set your machine’s stitch length to its longest setting (a 7 on my machine) and the tension to its highest setting (a 3 on my machine).  Run a row of stitching all the way down the remaining raw edge.  Pull bobbin threads to gather more, if necessary, and adjust to fit the width of your skirt.  Flip ruffle over and place the raw edge on top of the raw edge of the bottom of the skirt with right sides together.  Pin in place and sew together.  Finish seam by serging, zig-zagging, or pinking the edge of the seam.  Press seam allowance up towards skirt and top stitch 1/8 inch from the seam.

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Now, run your gathering stitch along the top raw edge of the skirt.  Adjust gathers and width of skirt to match bottom of tank top piece.  Turn skirt wrong side out, place tank top right side out inside of the skirt (so that right sides are facing).  Pin in place and sew together.  Press seam allowance up towards skirt and top stitch 1/8 inch from the seam using your ball point needle.

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If you want to add a two layer ruffle to your skirt, simply follow the ruffle instructions with both ruffle layers.  Sew the shorter ruffle on first as stated above, then repeat the process with the longer ruffle.  You could do this with 3 or 4 layers of ruffles – just make sure that you subtract the length of the longest layer from your skirt length.

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And that’s all for this Easy Breezy Dress Tutorial!  I thought that this would look adorable with a sash, but both of my girls complained at the idea of being tied into a dress – without a sash, it’s truly easy and breezy; summer dressing at its finest!

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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and make a few Easy Breezy dresses for your girls this summer!  Thanks again, Melanie, for having me!

About Melanie L.

Melanie works full time at Tuft & Needle and blogs part time evenings and weekends when her daughter is working on the cars with her dad!

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