Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jersey Dress

Last night I had one of those moments where I had a vision in my head for a project and I knew I would never be able to sleep until it came to fruition. This was my first real attempt at making something for the Bug without an actual pattern but I was inspired by the fabric to try.

I came across this piece of blue and grey striped jersey in a remnant bin at Yoders Department Store in Shipshewana. It has a neat, kind of wrinkly texture to it and it is so soft. Using a dress the Bug already had as a basic guide, I drafted up my own pattern and sort of just made things up as I went along.

Here is the Bug this morning before church looking oh so hip in her Chuck Taylors, leg warmers and sporting her headphones and "music box". Yes my two year old has an iPod. Don't judge.

I was so impressed that it actually looked like a dress and everything fit! It was a little short though. Despite the added coverage of the leg warmers (which she insists on wearing pulled all the way up) she kept flashing her panties at church. Since we just can't have that, I attempted a fix while she was napping.

I added a wide ruffle at the bottom for some additional length. It was a little too much length but she'll grow into it, right? Once the ruffle was on I thought the dress needed something more so I made a quick flower out of a scrap of fabric I had left over.

For the ruffle, I used the gathering method that I've seen all over the web lately where you adjust your sewing machine tension to the highest number and use the longest straight stitch. It is truly a time saver. The machine does all of the work for you and there is no need for a special ruffling foot. It just comes out evenly gathered. Awesome. Thank you World Wide Web. And I wonder, where was this trick when I was gathering everything carefully by hand all of those years in 4-H?

The "flower" was also inspired by some on-line tutorials I've seen around lately. Super easy. I just made a quick hem on one side and then used the above gathering method to gather the other side. Then I simply started twisting the fabric in a spiral, making quick tacking stitches as I went. In the end, a few more stitches through the bottom of the whole thing shaped it up a bit and I sewed a pin on the back so that I can move it around if I want.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with the results. It was really good mental practice to do this "pattern-less". And it was good to work with the jersey. I've been stuck in a bit of a cotton rut lately and the jersey wasn't nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. And while this dress isn't up to the standard I'd have for something to sell I think it will serve the Bug well as a nice Fall church and play dress.



  1. When I saw these on Snapfish, I thought you must have made it. To learn that you did it all without a pattern, well, I'm just blown away. It's very cute. I'm glad it was too short. I like the vertical stripes and flower. It really perks up a cute dress to a really fashionable dress. And Lily is just so adorable in it. =D

  2. Hahaha, I have to agree with dad on this one, the ruffle and flower make the dress. Maybe we should have thought of that sollution for my 8th grade graduation dress!

  3. I think the dress looks even cuter with your "fix." Lily bug is so lucky to have a crafty handy mommy. My mom was but I haven't kept up with the practice I need to be that handy. Great work and can't wait to see more.

  4. This is so super cute! What cool fabric, and are those pin-tucks at the top?