Tshirt Dress Tutorial

My little Miss is now walking….and walking…and walking.  In fact she spends most of her time walking…around the house, outside and wherever she can (perhaps making up for lost time?!?).  As she is no longer crawling, she can start wearing dresses again – yay!

This style of dress is quite simple but one I’ve had on my mind for quite awhile.  I’ve drafted the pattern myself and after making this first sample, have altered it slightly to give it more of a gathered sleeve and lower front neckline.

You can find a free copy of this pattern HERE.  It’s sized for an 18 month old or 20″ chest.

To make this dress I have used –

COTTON JERSEY – this is what was in my stash and doesn’t really have that much stretch to it (oh, and I didn’t prewash it as I didn’t want to wait, but you should prewash your fabric!)

{All seams are 1cm}

Let’s get started!

Print out your pattern, tape it together and cut it out.  Then cut out your fabric pieces.

I have inserted a placket in the back to make it easier to take on and off.  (When I first made the green dress I didn’t have this and couldn’t get it over Miss E’s head so quickly had to add one).
For this, just grab a scrap piece of fabric about 1″ wide and 3″ long.  Mark a line down the middle (about 2.5″) and then draw a second line very close to the centre line with a V shape at the bottom.

Line up the centre line of the placket with the centre back, matching the top.

Stitch down the outside line, pivoting at the bottom then stitching back up.  As you can see, I kinda eyeballed it when sewing and realised that my markings would be too long so just shortened it as I sewed…you can do this too.
Very carefully cut down the centre line trying to get as close to the bottom V without cutting your stitching.  Turn the placket in towards the back, press down and top stitch around to hold it down.
Sew the front and back shoulder seams together.  Trim and press towards the back.  As I am using a jersey, it won’t fray so I haven’t worried about overlocking any edges.
Mark the centre at the top of each sleeve.  Stitch a gathering stitch around the sleeve head using a 5mm seam.

Pin the sleeve to the armhole, gathering the sleeve to fit and matching the shoulder seam with the centre marking on the sleeve head.  Most of the gathers will be towards the top of the sleeve.  Stitch in place.
Trim seam and press towards the sleeve.

Fold each sleeve hem up approx 1.5cm, iron and stitch in place (trust me when I tell you that it’s much easier to do the hem at this point then when the sleeve is sewn together!)
Pin the sleeve and front and back sections together, matching the armhole seam.  Stitch.  Trim seam and press towards the back.
Grab the skirt panels and stitch the sides together.  Trim seams.  Mark up the hem approximately 1.5cm, press and stitch in place.  On the top of the skirt, stitch a gathering stitch using a 5mm seam.
Gather skirt and pin right side to dress right side. Stitch and carefully trim seam.  Press seam upwards towards dress.
*Before gathering, I find it easier to mark the centres on all pieces, so the skirt back/front and the dress back/front.  If you then match up these centre markings and the side seams when pinning, you’ll find your gathering will be a lot more even.
Fold and press your neck binding in half.  Open up and fold and press each side to meet the centre fold and press.  Now fold your original fold which should now enclose the two sides – press well.
I’ve only recently discovered this technique of adding bias binding and I love it!  
First you need to open up one side of your binding.  You will then attach the right side of the binding to the WRONG side of the neckline, leaving no more than a 1cm over hang at the opening. (You can see I misjudged one end and it’s less than 1cm, but that’s ok).  Stitch in place.
Now you need to fold the ends down, right sides together and stitch just on the outside of the opening.
Flip the binding through to the right side, pushing out the corners of the ends you just stitched.  You’ll see your first stitching line on the right side of the neckline.  Making sure your folded binding covers this stitching line, pin in place then edge stitch around the binding to encase the neckline.
Using about a 2″ piece of 4mm elastic, fold over and stitch one end to hold in place (I used 6mm elastic as that’s all I had, but I think 4mm would be better).
Place your folded elastic loop under the back of the left opening and stitch in place, making sure to go back and forth a few times for extra strength (you can then trim the ends of the elastic if needed)
Sew your button in place and you’re all done!  
Time to get some pictures of your little Miss wearing your newest creation…That’s of course, if you can get her to stand still long enough…and this kid just doesn’t stand still!!
Just a couple of things to note…this dress is a probably a size too big for my little miss, but it will give her plenty of wear as she grows into it.  Also, I didn’t prewash my fabric, so it may shrink a little and be a little snugger (is that a word?!?) next wear.
I also made the skirt about 3cm shorter than I did in the green, original version.  When doing the pattern, I forgot what size I used for the green dress and just winged it, but have now adjusted the pattern to the longer length…you can adjust to whatever length you would like.
Phew!  Thanks for staying with me till the end 🙂

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