How I “Prettied Up” A Play Dress

I love sewing clothes for my granddaughter!  First of all, since she’s a growing toddler, she always needs clothes.  Secondly, since children’s clothes are small, they’re generally a pretty quick sew. 😉 And thirdly, they usually don’t take too much fabric.  Sometimes I can get away with using the larger leftover scraps of fabric from previous sews, which is what I was able to do here.

I bought a yard of the Cozy French Terry from Phee Fabrics to make Lila some joggers and a cardigan.  They turned out cute, and she wore them the day we flew up to visit.  I had a bit of the French Terry left, and thought a sweatshirt dress with a woven skirt would make a cute, comfortable play dress.  It turns out that I didn’t have enough French Terry for the sleeves, so I turned to my trusty rayon spandex for the sleeves and neck band.  Remember my Made By Rae Washi Dress blogged here?  There was just enough of the Art Gallery Fabrics 100% Premium Cotton left from my dress to make the skirt.

The Stitch Upon A Time Wendybird Dress (aff link) recently jumped into my cart the last time they had a pattern sale, so I couldn’t wait to print out the pattern.  Since there was only enough of the Art Gallery cotton left to make an 11″ long by 45″ wide rectangular skirt, I lengthened the Wendybird bodice by 2″.  Although the skirt fabric is a floral, it’s not in overly girly colors, so I decided to “pretty up” the dress by adding a ruffled placket.

To make the placket, I cut a 1-3/4″w x 4″h center base out of rayon spandex.  The two inner rayon spandex ruffles are 1-3/4″w x 8″h.  The two outer AGF cotton ruffles are 2-3/4″w x 8″h.  The center French Terry ruffle is 3/4″w x 5″h.

WB placket pieces

To make the double ruffles, fold the outer cotton ruffles in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch along one short end.  Fold the inner rayon spandex ruffles in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch along one short end.  Clip the corners, being careful to not cut through the stitching line, turn the ruffles right sides out and press.  Lay an inner ruffle on top of an outer ruffle with the cut sides and finished ends aligned.  Sew a long basting stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and pull the bobbin thread to gather the ruffles.  Repeat with the other double ruffle.

Fold the bottom edge of the center base under 1/4″ and baste or use Wash Away Wonder tape to keep the fold in place.  Lay a double ruffle on the center base right sides together, with the finished edge of the ruffle toward the bottom.  Stitch along the side with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Press the ruffle to the outside and repeat with the other double ruffle.

Next we add the center ruffle.  Because the French Terry won’t fray,  the edges are left raw.  Run a basting stitch down the middle of the center ruffle, and gather it to fit the placket base.  Keeping the center ruffle 3/8″ away from the top, zig zag down the center of the ruffle to stitch it in place.

Mark the center front of the bodice with a pin.  Use tailor’s chalk, or a washable fabric marker to mark the ruffle placket placement, which should be a rectangle 1″ wide by 4″ high.

WB mark

Line the ruffle placket up at the top of the neckline and with the markings, and top-stitch around the center base to secure it to the bodice.  Baste the unfinished edges of the double ruffles in place at the neckline.  Sew on the neckband as per the pattern directions, being sure to catch the top of the double ruffles and placket in the band.

WB placket

To make the skirt, cut two 11″h x 22-1/2″w (I would have preferred 12 or 13″ high, but that was all the fabric that I had!) panels out of the AGF cotton.  Place the panels right sides together and stitch along the side seams.  Press the bottom up 1/2″, and another 1/2″ and stitch the hem.  You can run a long basting stitch around the top of the skirt to gather it, but since it’s being sewn onto a knit bodice, I like using cotton swim elastic to gather.  Measure the bottom of the bodice, and cut the elastic to that length.  Overlap the ends of the elastic 3/4″ and zigzag to form a loop.  Use a pencil to mark the quarter points of the elastic.  Mark the centers of the skirt front and back, and they and the side seams will be the quarter points of the skirt.  Line up the quarter points of the elastic along the top of the skirt, and stretch the elastic to fit as you zigzag it in place.  It should gather the skirt to fit the bodice perfectly.

WB flat

With the skirt inside out, slide the bodice down inside the skirt, right sides together, matching side seams and center points.  Sew the bodice to the skirt, then give everything a good press.  Ta dah!  A simple play dress turns into a pretty, party-worthy dress!

Since Lila only recently turned two, she doesn’t attend a lot of parties.  But she is always ready to run and play outside, picking up sticks and leaves on her way to and from the park.

WB dress sticks

And I love that she is able to play outside in nature nearly every day.  I hope that she never forgets the joy and wonder of exploring, learning new things, and playing every day.

WB dress oh

WB dress up

When you’re done sewing, don’t forget to go for a walk, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  Maybe you’ll find some sticks to play with too! 🙂

Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, fabric, patterns, designing, and creating. ❤

 

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