Friday, December 14, 2012

Quilted Dress Tutorial Part 1 of 2

Quilted dress Tutorial Part 1 of 2

This is part one of my tutorial for the quilted dress I made my two girls for Thanksgiving dresses.  Here is a listing of materials you will need to complete this dress in a 2T sizing.   Please read the entire tutorial BEFORE beginning your project.

- A t-shirt in the current size (I like Gymboree because it's not tight fitted.)
- a pair of pants or dress that currently fits (or waist to floor measurement)
- Thread
- Rotary mat, wheel and clear ruler
- other sewing notions
- (4) 1/2 yard pieces of cottons of your choice
- 1 yard of a solid or matching print of your choice 
- 1/2 yard of knit or find an adult t-shirt in the color of your choice to match
- 1/8 yard of coordinating ribbing to match the t-shirt bodice
- sewing machine and serger

Since I couldn't step back in time, I figured I would make a spring dress for this tutorial.  Here are the cottons I chose for the new dress: 

As you can tell, I chose a pink for my palette.   The first thing after buying the cotton prints/solids would be to pre-wash them.   If you desire, you can serge the edges to prevent raveling in the dryer.  Make sure you wash and dry them just like you would the normal garment.  The last thing you want is the material shrinking up later after you make the dress.   Also WASH the knit or thrifted t-shirt in this load as well.  DO NOT WASH the it will tighten up after the first wash, which is fine after stretching to sew it.

Cutting the strips   

For the 2T size, here is how I calculated the proportion of my strips.   For the width of the dress, take the waist measurement, which mine was 20 inches, and double that amount for a full skirt.    So 40 inches is the entire width of the skirt that you want SHOWING.  I divide that number by the number of materials I am going to use in the skirt (40 divided by 5 equals 8).  This means I need 8 inches of EACH material.   Now this 8 inches is what I need to see....but I don't want five strips of 8 inches.   So in my case, I decided each strip would be TWO inches wide and that means I need 4 strips of ONE material to make the 8 inches.   Now, before you cut, we need to add seam allowances to that 2 inch strip.   In my case, I like 1/2 inch on each side of the strip....bringing the actual strip to 3 inches wide when cutting.    

So how long do you make each strip??   Take a current pair of pants or dress.  Measure the finished amount from waist to ankle.  In my case this is 15 inches.  Add in a seam allowance at the top of the strip to attach to the bodice and a seam allowance at the bottom to sew a hem band or ruffle.   Also, since I am making mine for spring, I decided to add a little bit more for growing room.

Measurement of pant leg to determine length

So now after calculating, I have determined to cut each strip 3 inches wide and 17 inches long. 
I need 4 strips of each of the five materials.   

Ensure that you are laying each material down FLAT on the rotary mat
and aligning the material properly before cutting.

Two strips cut at 3 inches wide each

As you spread each material out, also notice if the design is one way.   I used a tree design which happened to go one way and changed the way I cut it to ensure the trees were right side up!

Material shown with fold on right hand side.
As you can tell the trees would have been sideways if I had chosen to cut this way.

This is corrected so the trees will appear up and down on dress.  Fold is now on left.
Now after all your cutting, this is how your project should look:

Now it's time to SEW!!!

Line up your material they way you want it to look on the skirt.   Start on one side and sew strip A to B, then B to C, etc.  Keep repeating until all strips are sewn together.  Then I would suggest serging because otherwise the material WILL ravel.  If you do not own a serger, try to use pinking shears at least.  Or you may want to line the entire skirt.  

At this point, it is time to IRON the seam allowances to one side and TOP-STITCH each seam allowance down.   This allows the skirt to flow as if it was one piece of material instead of many.     Here is a picture of the back once you are finished:

Now leave this flat with one seam allowance not sewn....we will join it together later after we make the bodice (This will be Part 2 of 2 tutorial).   

Or if you feel like changing it into a table runner....LOL...just ad backing, quilt and use bias trim around edges...haha.  

SEW for now....Find your materials, measure your strips, cut and sew them together.   I will have the rest of the tutorial together in a few days as like most of you, I am completing some Christmas sewing which I will share later.    Good Luck!   Comments and questions welcomed.