Monday, May 4, 2015

Rainbow Dress Quick Tutorial

My Rainbow Dress

Hello all!  I've had a few requests asking how I've made this dress so I figured I could just write up a quick tute and then you'd all whip up some dresses! :)

A Few Notes Before We Begin
This tutorial is written with the assumption that you know how to sew.  I do apologize for that, it's just that I am short on time!  Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.  It's really quite simple, I'm just making it sound more difficult!

All of your seams should be finished.  I do serge them but you can also zig zag or use pinking shears.  In addition, with this particular dress, each seam of the tiers (except for the waist) are all pressed downwards and then top stitched.  I find this gives the dress a much more professional appearance and it holds its shape well when washed and doesn't need to be ironed (much!).

There are basically two parts to this dress: the bodice and the skirt.  For the bodice, it's easiest to use a pattern that you have lying around, but if you don't you can always make your own.  I wanted the bodice to be straight across so I took a few measurements of each kid.

You will need the following pattern pieces:
1. bodice front  (and lining)
2. bodice back (and lining)
3. straps.  ( a basic rectangle that I think I cut 18x 2 or so)  this you can eyeball.  :)  Also, I'm not including how to make straps because it's fairly straightforward- sew 3 sides, turn right-side out.

You will also need elastic, about 1 or 2 inches less than the width of the child's back.

If you don't need to make the bodice, skip on ahead to The Tiers section

The Bodice and Lining

To make the bodice you will need the following measurements:

1. All around the chest. (mine was 24")
2. from the center of the chest to just under the arm, where you want the BOTTOM of the BODICE to go. (6.5" for mine)
3. from the center of the arm to where you want the bodice to end on the TOP.(4" for mine)
4. From the center of the chest straight up to where you want the top of the bodice to be.  (4.5"for mine)

Let's Begin!
Once you have all of those measurements you can draw yourself a pretty little pattern.  MAKE SURE YOU ADD SEAM ALLOWANCES!!  For these dresses I used 1/2" because I'm a fairly sloppy sewer and I need lots of wiggle room. :)   Just connect the top line to the bottom line in a curvy little line.  :)

  You probably can't see that very well so let me explain.  You place the right side on the fold. The left is where it will go under the arm.  And then you cut another one so you'll end up with two (for the lining).   For the back, I just arbitrarily added a few inches to allow it to get over the arms/shoulders.  And, I just made a rectangle.  If you look at the pattern above, the side under the arms is about 3" so my back bodice ended up being a 3 x 18" rectangle. Cut 2 of those suckers too.

1. First, make your straps. 

2. I will now attempt to explain how I sewed the bodice together.  I didn't think of a tutorial at the time so I don't have very good pictures!  (yikes!)  I took the two bodice front pieces and placed my straps where I wanted them to be, pointing down, sandwiched in between the bodices. Then I sewed around the armpits and top edge only of the two bodices.  The I turned it right side out and TOP STITCHED where I just sewed.

3. Then, sew the top seam only of the 2 bottom back pieces. DO NOT TOP STITCH.

4. Then I opened both the front bodice and the back bodice up and with right sides together I sewed up the sides, making a ring.  The bottom of your bodice should still not be sewn!   Set aside.

Here you can see the top stitching

The Tiers

Now, make your tiers!  The following is a chart of the tiers and sizes I used.  I cut rectangles of the following dimensions:

(cut 2)
(cut 2)
(cut 2)
(cut 2)
(cut 2)

1.Sew each tier together on the short sides so that you make a ring.  You should have 5 rings of differing sizes when finished. (Unless using a ruffling foot.  In which case, only sew one of the short sides together)

2. For the next step, I used a ruffle foot on my sewing machine to save time, but if you don't have one, you can just use your basic gathering stitch:   Start with the yellow fabric, sew gathering stitches on the top and then sew it to the BOTTOM of the orange fabric.  Then take the pink and sew gathering stitches and put it on the BOTTOM of the yellow and so on.  Then hem it up.  

Putting it Together

1.To put the bodice on the skirt, sew gathering stitches in the orange fabric (first tier).  Then, place the bodice inside the skirt (right sides together) and pin and sew.  ONLY SEW THE OUTSIDE LAYER OF THE BODICE AND NOT THE LINING.  

2.Now we'll add the elastic in the back.  On the right side of the bodice back (so you're essentially top stitching)- stitch a line about 3/4 from the top from one side seam to the other.  This makes your casing.  Slide the elastic through and stitch in the ditch of the side seams to secure the elastic.  
Here is where I "stitched in the ditch".  The back bodice is on the left and the front is on the right.

3.Next, turn the LINING under 1/2" and iron.  TOP STITCH the lining and the bodice together around the waist, thus hiding the seam of where the skirt attached. ALL DONE!!