The playground dress was inspired by a dress I saw at JCrew, and requires only 2 t-shirts to make.
Comfortable enough to fly high into the sky.....
Swing in the breeze.....
and can climb a ladder (and make mommy really nervous)
1/4 inch elastic
Read through tutorial. There is some important info regarding your elastic casing that may effect your measurements.
Gather your materials.
The first step is to figure out your measurements.
The first measurement you will need to find is for the body of the dress.
For the main body of the dress:
Width=chest measurement divided in half + 6 inches.
My daughters chest measurement is 22 inches(3T). I divided that in half which gave me 11 inches. Then I added 6 inches to that. The width of my panel needs to be 17 inches wide.
Length=from top of armpit down to bottom of butt + 1 inch.
I wanted the top of the dress to hit right under her armpits, so I took that measurement down to the bottom of her butt and added 1 inch. That was 12 inches long.
Decide what t shirt is the main body and what will be the color of your ruffles.
Use the t shirt that will be the main body and cut the panel according to the measurements you took, using the formula from above.
Now we need to find the measurement for you bottom ruffle.
Bottom Ruffle length=bottom of butt to knee+ 1 inch
Bottom Ruffle width=entire width of t-shirt
Cut off bottom of second t-shirt. This will serve as your bottom ruffle.
Cut 3 strips 2 1/2 inches wide from left over material of second t-shirt. These will serve as the ruffles on the top of the dress.
Let's start sewing the main body of the dress. You need to make a decision on your side seam. Right now, you only have one open side cut off your main body. You can sew up just that one side and put the seam in the back, or you can sew up both sides (even though the one side isn't cut) to make an even seam on both sides. I opted for 2 side seams.
Turn you t-shirt so right sides are facing each other.
The finished hem at the bottom of your shirt is going to be at the top.
That finished hem is going to serve as the casing for your elastic. If the t-shirt you have doesn't have a finished hem, or 1/4 inch elastic won't fit, then keep in mind you will need to fold over the top to make your casing and that will throw off your measurements, you will need to add an inch.
Stitch your side seam, Start the stitch right below the finished hem. If this is going in the back, then you are ready to move on. If you want it on the side under the armpit, you will need to stitch the other side, starting below the finished t-shirt hem.
The Bottom Ruffle
Since t-shirts generally don't have seams on the side, I decided to leave it as one continuous piece, and then gather it.
Set your stitch length at the longest it will go, and your tension should be very loose.
Start stitching 1/4 inch from the cut edge. The existing hem of the second shirt is acting as a finished hem. Don't back stitch, and leave your thread ends very long. Fit it around the bottom of the main body of the dress and adjust your gathering so it fits evenly around the bottom edge.
Pin it well. Seriously...the more pins the better. When my pieces are well pinned, I never have problems with stretch material getting crazy on me.
(don't forget to set you tension and stitch length back to normal) Sew the bottom ruffle onto the bottom of the main body of the dress.
It should start looking like this.
Set your tension to the tightest, and your stitch length the longest.
Take your 2 1/2 inch wide strips of fabric, and run them through your machine 1/4 inch from the top edge. Your machine should automatically create an even ruffle. Do this to all 3 strips separately.
I opted to have ruffles run from armpit to armpit (or side seam to side seam) but if you have enough left over material you could have them go all the way around.
Place your first ruffle and pin it right below the hem of the top.
When I got to the side seam, I trimmed any extra ruffle and tucked it in at the ends.
(set your tension and stitch length back to normal) Sew your first ruffle on.
Flip your first ruffle up and out of the way. Place your middle ruffle 1 inch below the seam of the ruffle above it. Stitch it on.
Continue this for the 3rd ruffle.
Your getting there!
This is a view of the edges of the completed ruffles.
Thread the 1/4 inch elastic through the top. Pull both ends out and sew them together in a zig zag stitch. Once the elastic is secure, distribute your fabric around the elastic evenly and stitch the casing hole closed.
With the elastic in, your dress will ruffle even further.
Your call on this one. You can use ribbon, or extra t shirt material to make the straps. You can sew them on two in the front and two on the back and tie them at the shoulders, or go halter style, and only sew two on the front and tie it around the back of the neck.
I'll be sharing this tutorial at these great link parties.