Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quick and Easy Sundresses




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These sweet little sundresses are so quick and easy to make. You can easily make the pattern yourself and whip one up today. I'll tell you how. I got the idea from Xue-Originals. She made some for her daughter. I thought they were so adorable that I just had to make some for my Little Miss 8. Now you can too! This little dress can be worn loose without the tie at the waist or with the tie. It's adorable either way.

First I got a pillow case to use as a guide for making my own pattern. I held it up to Little Miss 8 and measured how long compared to the pillowcase I would like it to be. Folded up the pillow case at the bottom to where we wanted the hem to be. I also marked on the pillowcase where the armhole should be and how high the slits should come up at the bottom, one on each side.

Then I laid it down on the paper I would use to make the pattern on. (I bought a roll of examination table paper from a medical supply store. I use this to trace and make patterns. It's also great to give the kids to use for tracing paper when they want to trace a picture from a book.) I folded the pillow case in on the sides about two inches on each side to take in some of the fullness. I then traced around the pillow case.

I transferred the markings for the armhole and slit placements onto the paper pattern, and wrote "top" at the top of the pattern.

I folded my fabric with right sides together, pinned the pattern down and cut it out..

With a fabric marking pencil, I marked the placement of the arm holes and slits.

Then to mark which end is the top and right side of the fabric, I attached a safety pin about four inches down from the top edge on the right side of the fabric.

Some of the fabrics I used were see through; so I wanted to line them. I decided that lining with an underlining would be the quickest and easiest method. I used some white cotton fabric for the lining. Cut it out with the same pattern. I did not mark the armhole and slit placement. I placed the lining on top of the wrong side of the fashion fabric. Pinned them together. Then I serged all around the edges of the two pieces joining them together. Then when sewing the dress, I treated each lined piece as a single piece of fabric. If you don't have a serger, you can attach them with a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine. I learned about this method of lining with an underlining from the book Sew Fast, Faster, Fastest Timesaving Techniques and Shortcuts for Busy Sewers by Sue Hausmann. The serger I have is a White Superlock. I love it! It is one of the easiest out there to thread. The thread guides are color coded. It uses regular sewing machine needles. It comes with an instructional VHS which is very easier to understand. It is very reasonably priced and is known for it's reliability. I have never had any mechanical problems in the few years that I've owned it.

Then with right sides together on the sewing machine I sewed up the side seams from slit to arm hole markings, leaving below the slit markings and above the armhole markings free. So basically, it looks like you have side slits on the top and bottom.

Now, on the bottom of the dress, I folded in the side edges of the slits to the wrong side of the fabric, pinned and stitched in place. I did the same with the slits for the arm holes. Then I folded up the bottom twice, pinned and stitched the hem.

On the top, I folded the top front and back down to make a casing, pinned and stitched.

Then using the same fabric as I used for the dress, I made a tie for the waist, one for a head band and two long tubes to go through the front and back casing to make spaghetti straps. Measure how long you need your strips for these things to be. For the spaghetti straps, I cut the strips 1 1/2 inches wide, and 2 inches wide for the waist tie and hair ribbon. Fold your strips in half with right sides together. Stitch near the edge, turn, push the tip of the fabric inside the tube at the ends. Stitch the ends closed. Press. To make the turning of the tubes much faster and easier, I used a Fasturn. It's turns the tubes within mere seconds.

Feed the spaghetti straps through the casing, adjust the gathers, and tie over the shoulders when on. To making feeding the tube through the casing much easier and faster, I use a tool called a bodkin. It's much more efficient than using a safety pin. It takes seconds as well.

I have five or six more of these little dresses cut out and ready to sew. I will post pictures of them as I get them done.


  1. Hi Trudy! This is so cute & you are right about the yellow fabric. It looks so much like the one we used - maybe it is the same! I shall have to show this to Annika when she gets home later. We should have a pix of the 2 of them in their yellow dresses! And Emily has shorter hair now!

  2. Lovely dresses! I've sewn up a couple that are similar for my 7 year old and my 11 year old is wanting some too. Your directions will help me with that.
    I definitely need a Fasturn-I've never heard of those. Turning those ties right side out are killing me. ;)

  3. Emily is a doll in her Cute dresses. I've made sundresses out of actual pillowcases. This is the post where you can see them. I have made lots of these. These are the only ones since I started blogging and I don't have photos of all of them. There may be one on my slideshow. I'm not sure.


  4. These are precious and Emily makes a darling model. Thanks for the great directions.

  5. Beautuiful girl in beautiful dresses.

  6. The dresses are beautiful, and you're right the style is quite similar to Ronja's sunflower dress! I like the gingham dress best - loooove gingham - but your daughter is beautiful in both! Your instructions seem great too - I just used a pattern from Ottobre (as - nearly - always)! ;)

  7. hi trudy - thanks for visiting my blog! your daughter looks so sweet in those dresses. thanks for the idea!

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