Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Knock Off Sundress

When my daughter was visiting a few weeks ago, we went shopping at the outlet stores. We popped into one of her favorite stores, where she saw a child's J.Crew sundress that she loved. She wanted it for her two girls but even the sale price was a little ridiculous.  I looked at the dress and whispered to her that it looked like it would be easy to make. I was right.  I ended up making four of these sundresses for my granddaughters.

Here is my version of that sundress, modeled by two of those granddaughters.

This dress reminds me a little of a pillowcase dress.  The thing that sets this sundress apart is the fun knot on the back of the dress.  No more straps falling off little shoulders.

If you'd like to make this sundress too, I've included the pattern along with a tutorial below.

Here's what I used:
  • Fabric:  My Favorite Ship, by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics & accent is Out to Sea. (See the links below to purchase these fabrics.)
  • Pattern:  self-drafted, free download here (size 3 only).  I ended up making a size 12 month (pictured above), 3 years, 2 years and 4 years.  I used the downloadable pattern for all these sizes.  To change the sizes simply shorten or lengthen the dress, shorten the straps for the smallest size and adjust the elastic around the front and back per child's width.
Here's how to sew this cute knock-off sundress:
1.  All seams 1/4" unless otherwise stated.  Sew extra wide bias tape onto the back top of the sundress.  You'll be forming a casing for the elastic so finish sewing close to the edge of the tape leaving the sides open.
2.  Sew bias tape to the armholes starting from the wrong side.  Iron the tape toward the front of the sundress and sew close to the edge from the front of the sundress.
3.  Add elastic the width of the back (I added 8") to the back casing stitching along the openings of the casing to keep the elastic in place.
4.  Sew the side seams together wrong sides facing (this step is from making French side seams).

5.  Iron the side seams and sew the side seams together with the right sides facing.
6.  Sew the straps together with 1/4" seams leaving an opening at the center.
7.  Shows the strap fully sewn.  Clip the corners.
8.  Turn the straps and iron.
9.    Leave 1/2" extended on both sides and pin the front strip onto the top of wrong side of the front of the dress.
10.  Sew the two pieces together.  Iron the top of the front strip under 1/4".
11.  Iron the strip in half toward the front of the dress.
12.  Top stitch the strip in place, close to the edge, leaving the ends open to insert elastic.

13.  Sew the straps.  Cut the corners and turn this piece right side out.
14.  Sew the back knot piece leaving the middle open to turn.  Cut off the corners and turn right side out.
15.  Iron the straps and back knot piece.  Top stitch 1/4" from the edge.
16.  Find the middle of the back and measure 4" from the center, marking with pins.

17.  Mark the middle with one additional pin.
18.  Add elastic to the front of the casing and stitch the ends of the elastic to the a strap that has been folded over.
19.  This image shows the edges of the front casing folded over.
20.  Stitch the strap inside the end of the front casing.  

21.  Stitch a small piece of ribbon onto the middle of one of the straps and thread one of the straps under the ribbon.
22.  The back of the sundress has markings which you'll add the back of the straps to.  Securely sew the straps in place.
23.  This is how the strap should look once sewn in place.
24.  Now add the back knot into place by looping the knot under the ribbon.  I stitched the knot by hand.  

This sundress is light and airy and perfect for a hot summer day.  I also made diaper covers out of the same nautical fabric for my youngest granddaughters.  May your little ones enjoy summertime with a comfortable, stylish and affortable sundress.  xoxo Grandma

This is the main fabric used:
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