Monday, April 9, 2012

Lumber Jill Dress Tutorial

I'm still going through that box of boy clothes.  There were a couple flannel shirts in there that had me stumped. I searched google and pinterest for hours looking for inspiration.  I gave up.  I don't know how the idea came to me, but it did.  I decided to turn one into a dress.  Empire waist with a gore skirt.  Besides, the box of boy clothes, I also have a ton of old jeans, so I wanted to use some for the skirt.  To go with the jeans and make it fun, girly, lumber jack like, I did french seams on the skirt.  

If you want to make one, follow along.
  (One disclaimer, mine doesn't actually fit the child it was intended for, so measure, measure, measure.  Please, make sure it has enough room so the arms can go into the sleeves.)

Take a shirt that fits your child or maybe is a little big.


Put it on your child to see where you would like it to end and the skirt to start.  Take it off of child and cute a little below that.  (This is where I should have gone lower so that there would have been more room to put it on.)  Seam rip sleeves, pockets (optional), and any other items on it that bother you (like that weird beige tape on the side seams).


Then take the sleeves and cut them into something that might turn into a cap sleeve.  I guess every time and usually, even if it isn't what I had in mind, they turn out cute.  I folded them at the top and cut in a gentle curve, keeping the the original sleeve seam/edge in tact.  I fold to keep both sides of the sleeve symmetrical.  Then I use the first one as a pattern for the second one.


Hem the sleeves.  I ruffled them along the seam side and then reattached to the shirt.
Next, comes the skirt.  I used a  tutorial I found to base my pattern piece off of.  It was really handy and took care of all the figuring I would of had to do on my own if I didn't find it.  Instead of 12 gores, I did six.  I did the bottom measurement double the waist and then added a two inch hem.  Since, I made it for a toddler with no hips I only worried about the waist measurement.  I also think it is better to err on the side of big.  If need be, you can always add elastic, gathers, or pleats to bring it in.


Here is another place you can learn from my experience and not do what I did.  I sewed the seams in an assembly line style doing each step of the french seam on all the seams at a time.  It is best to do the whole french seam before going to the next.  Working with a tube the size of a two year old's waist on a large sewing machine can be a pain.  So sew on a sheet, not a tube.  You will only have to work with a tube for the last seam.
Sew two gores wrong sides together and right sides facing out.  I know this seems backwards, but it is what you need to do.

Trim the seam allowance and sew right sides together 3/8th from the first seam along the fold.  This will encase the raw edges.


Next sew down the casing with the right side facing up 1/4 of an inch from the seam.  I like to pull the fabric tight while I sew it to make the seam look nicer.  I'm not sure if it helps or not, it just makes me feel better.  Make sure to sew the casings down on the same side of the stitch ditch all the way around.


Sew the shirt and skirt together.  Put on your child and decide where you want to hem and then hem. 

After I had it all done, I didn't like the back and the loop.


So I took one of the pockets I seam ripped, pleated it and sewed in over the loop.


So now you have a cute dress, worthy of any Lumber Jill, that hopefully fits.

 

I looks like it will fit Laurel, but she threw one of her worst tantrums ever when I tried to put it on her, thus the sad childless picture at the end.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to break down and seem rip the top and try again with another shirt, unfortunately it won't be the lovely red flannel.

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