I was totally inspired by a post I saw on this blog MADE. She has a step by step tutorial on how to make a toddlers dress out of a Mens Dress shirt! How fun is that!!!! I took the general idea and adapted it for a Babies Blessing dress. I haven’t made a dress for the girls out of their dads shirts yet but I think I will for Fathers Day!!!
Here’s my go at using the instructions but with modified measurements and bolt fabric and trim instead of a shirt…
First create a pattern on a poster board. I folded the poster board in half the long way and made HALF of the dress, that way it was exactly the same on the other side once you open it up again! You will cut two of each piece… two sleeves and a front and back. I got a general idea of the measurements by looking at a shirt or dress that fits my baby but as you notice the neck line is extra wide. WORD TO THE WISE: because it’s a gather style you don’t have to be exact and I would go bigger if in doubt. (trust me!!! I had to make two dresses because I didn’t go bigger!!!) To get a perfect curve for your pattern use a bowl and trace it’s curve. For making your pattern please refer to the original tutorial I have linked above. I’m sure it’s way clearer in her description!
With fabric folded with rights sides in, trace and cut out pieces.
Starting with the sleeves, one at a time, pin to the main dress section and sew a 1/4″ seam straight stitch. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are touching. Sew both sleeves to both main pieces until you end up with it looking like this. I always finish my raw edged and press and sew a top stitch.
At this point we are going to iron in a hem, or fold around the neck line for the elastic to be added. I folded it over 1/2″. I also used a surging stitch to first finish the edge. I don’t have a surger so I just found a stitch that does the trick. Straight stitch around the neck line but be sure to leave about an inch opening so you can thread in the elastic! We will thread the elastic once the dress is pretty much done, not at this point!
If you plan on adding any lace or trim this is when you would do it! I sewed on two rows of lace just by pinning it in place and using a straight stitch.
Once you have your trim on you can fold the dress inside out, lining up the sleeves and bottom. pin it together and sew with a straight stitch leaving 1/4″ . Sew from the bottom of the dress all the way to the sleeve section.
Repeat the same ironed hem you did for the neck now on both sleeves.
To add the elastic you need 1/8″ elastic and a safety pin. I cut two 8″ pieces for the sleeves and one 12 ” piece for the neck. ( I like to thread much longer then needed pieces and do the sizing while it’s in the garment. Easier to adjust!) pin the safety pin to the end of the elastic and now push the safety pin through the casing on the neck ’till it comes out the end. you can at this point try the dress on the baby and see how much gather you want and tie off the elastic several times and trim off the ends of the elastic. Do the same for each sleeve. I just guessed on the gather and made my sleeves slightly loose so they didn’t pinch her arms. Stitch up the space you left for the threading and there you have it!!! All the gathering is done!!!
Hem the bottom and add lace!
This process would work for any baby dress. Just shorten and use any fabric that makes you smile!!! It’s a simple easy pattern and can be adjusted for any size. Use the rule of thumb that bigger is better when it comes to measuring!!! The gathering is very forgiving! The important thing is to gauge the width in the chest area as best as possible! If any thing I hope this post inspires you to try your hand at creating a pattern!