This post is specifically for our local home school group sewing class. I teach grade 3-6 girls how to sew things for their 18 inch dolls. This post will show step by step how make a black dress with a ruffle skirt.
Each step will be numbered and we will complete a certain number of steps each day at co-op. If you did not finish the required number of steps at co-op you can finish them at home by following the pictures and instructions.
Please do not work ahead. At co-op I and the other teachers will help the girls that are furthest behind so if you are too far ahead you may be sitting and doing nothing while the others catch up.
The pattern for the bodice of the dress will be taken from this book;
We will use the 2 bodice pattern pieces labeled sleeveless party dress.
Take the piece labeled bodice front, fold over the edge of the fabric
Place the pattern piece marked ‘place on fold’ on the folded edge of fabric.
Weigh the pattern piece down so it doesn’t move while you cut it out.
Using a rotary cutter(it looks like a small pizza cutter) cut out around the pattern. Be careful not to cut into your pattern. You will need to press down hard while you cut or it won’t go through both layers of fabric. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, pin the pattern in place and cut with fabric scissors.
Notice the pattern says ‘cut 2’ so repeat step1.
Now take the pattern piece for the bodice back and place on fabric.
Cut out 2 pieces this way. If the fabric you are using looks the same from both sides then cut out 4 pieces. If your fabric looks different from one side to the other then flip the pattern piece like this…
And cut out 2 pieces
Now you should have 2 front pieces and 4 back pieces like this…
Take one of the back pieces and lay it on top of the front piece
Now take another back piece an place it on the other side like this
Pin together at the shoulder seams.
And sew a quarter inch from the edge at the shoulder seams only. If your sewing machine needle is centered, just keep the fabric right on the edge of the presser foot like the following picture.
Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end. These next pictures have white thread to show you exactly where to sew.
Repeat step 3 with the last 3 pieces.
Unfold the bodice and place it right side up.
Now take the other bodice and place it on the first piece.
Make sure the right sides are together.
Pin the back center seam and neckhole edges together.
Now pin the armhole edges.
Sew along the pinned edges a quarter inch from the edge. When you get to the corner, stop about a quarter inch from the end and leave the needle down…
Lift the presser foot…
Turn the fabric…
Put the foot back down…
And sew to the end of the seam. Don’t forget to backstitch!
Cut off the corners like this next picture but be careful not to cut into the seams! You will have to re-sew the corner if that happens.
Cut into the armhole and neckhole edges about every half inch. Again, be careful not to cut too far. Cut almost up to the seam but not into it or you may have to start over.
Reach into the front of the bodice and pull the back through to the front at the shoulder seams.
It should look like this…
Now grab the side seams from the back piece
And the side seam from the bottom piece…
And pin them together. Sew a quarter inch seam. Don’t forget to backstitch! Repeat this step on the other side.
Now you are going to press your bodice. It will work better if you set the iron to steam. Hold down the bodice and carefully press the iron on the seams. You may want to ask an adult for help with this step. Now your bodice should look like this;
Cut an 11 by 26 inch rectangle out of fabric for the skirt.
Fold it in half…
Mark the middle with a pin.
Mark the middle of the front with a pin as well.
Adjust your sewing machine to the longest straight stitch it can do.
Sew along the top edge of the skirt. Do not backstitch and do not snip the thread. Leave the thread a little longer than normal.
Now pull on the top thread and ruffle the fabric till it’s about the length of the bodice.
Flip the skirt piece onto the bodice and pin the center together.
Pin the skirt to the bodice and adjust the ruffles to make them even. Take your time with this, it will look better in the end.
Do this on both sides and sew along the edge. Don’t forget to set your machine back to a regular straight stitch. Then, set your machine to zigzag stitch and sew beside your seam. This will help keep the fabric from unraveling.
Now we just need to finish the back.
Turn the dress inside out and line up the back edges.
Pin the edges together.
Mark 5 inches down by putting 2 pins in one spot. Start sewing at this point and down to the bottom edge of the skirt. This time we will sew a half inch seam!
Pin and sew the ruffles that are above the 5 inch mark.
Now we’re going to cut of the ruffle points that stick out of the seam. This just makes everything look neater.
Cut a piece of velcro 2 inches long and a quarter inch wide. Make sure you have the soft, fuzzy side and the plastic hook side.
Pin the hook side to the top of the bodice on the left. Pin the soft side to the inside of the bodice on the right.
Sew in place by going as close to the edge as you can OR zigzag stitch over the whole thing.
And we’re done!
Step 14 Put the dress on your doll!