how to make a sundress

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I love instant gratification projects.  I really do.    If I can wing it without a pattern, that’s great.  If I can use a simple pattern, that’s okay too.  I was looking for some ideas for easy summer sewing for my girls when I found the link to Made by Petchy’s infant pinafore on Craftster.org.

It seemed simple.  One pattern piece and a few steps.  And some bias tape.  I considered making my own bias tape, but after I determined that I needed, oh a yard or so and I was using my much coveted, treasured and out of print Heather Ross Mendocino fabric (check it out on Etsy! $27 for a set of 6 fat quarters.  That puts it at $18 a yard.  Lots more than I paid for it when it first came out, but I’m digressing and I intend to talk about Heather Ross fabric in this post anyhow).  So, anyhow, I bought some bias tape to match because 1) I’m lazy and 2) I wanted to use as LITTLE of my fabric as possible.

I know it sounds weird to actually not want to use your fabric, but I can’t really justify buying more of it at $18 a yard.  And I love it.

(Yeah, I got that app too)

I would consider my sewing skill to be intermediate and this went together for me in about 30 minutes.  I haven’t used bias tape in a long time and I forgot how nice it was to use and how nice the finished product looks when you use it.

I followed the pattern and  instructions exactly as written, but I omitted the wooden beads.  I didn’t have any on hand, saw no reason to buy any and think it looks just as nice with only the knots at the end.

I may sew a pair of bloomers to go under this as there’s no way it will actually work as a dress on Baby Bee.  I might also pair it with a pair of cuffed capris.  Or both.  It seems pretty forgiving through the chest (it gathers on the straps) so it would probably be great for a gift too.

And now onto Heather Ross.

If I could only have one person’s fabric in my collection, I’d pick Heather Ross.  Mostly because the designs and drape of the fabric is just perfect.  I do have some of the cotton lawn fairy tale fabric, which is much lighter in drape than this and some of the kokka that is heavier, but for the most part Heather’s cotton fabric feels just like this fabric does and it is a dream.

THere seems to be some sort of disconnect between Heather and the people who own the licensing for her fabric as she said some time ago that there wouldn’t be any more new stuff from her for some time.  Then, she announced that some of her designs would be available at Spoonflower.  It’s beautiful and it. Is. Pricey.   I’m not sure what the drape is like on any of the Spoonflower options,  so I don’t know if I would be LUV with them like I am with what I currently own.

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For the past several years, I’ve bought preshirred fabric to make sundresses at my local fabric stores. Both my big girls love these sundresses. They wear them until they don’t fit or become so short Big Daddy refuses to let them be worn anymore. The problem with the preshirred material is that your options are limited. If you want too long in the season, the selection gets seriously picked over. Sometimes what’s cute isn’t in the right length (Littlebit was almost too tall for the adorable brown polka-dot sundress I made for her last year).

If you’re a beginning sewist, these dresses are the way to go.  One seam up the back with straps.  You can make them from fabric from the dress or use ribbon.  Your choice.  Wonderful.  Easy.   But…frustrated with the limitations, why not make your own shirred fabric sundresses?

I followed the easy tutorial at Pretty Ditty and I made this:

Littlebit LOVES it.  She picked the fabric.  If I were to make this dress again, however, I’d change something.  Of course. (When you fly by the seat of your pants, you’d always change SOMETHING).  I’d sew the dress parts together (bodice and skirt) and then shirr.  It was really hard gathering and attaching the skirt.  Why not do it all in one piece?  I wanted a fuller skirt.   Want some more direction? Check out:

So, what are you waiting for?  Go make something!

FYI-My Hobby Lobby did NOT carry elastic thread NOR did my local Wal-Mart which still carries fabric.  I had to buy mine at Joann’s.  It comes on a spool and you can find it with the regular elastic.

Hey!  Want to heck out what other people are making? Check out:

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