People tend to think sewing is hard. I would contend that it’s a way over thought process for most. I like to see sewing as drawing a giant dot to dot picture. Nobody has to have any special talents to draw a dot to dot picture. (That’s why I like them!) It doesn’t take any special talents to measure out a few dots, connect them and cut them out for sewing either!
(I promise my little girl doesn’t always look so tragical! Something about cameras… As for the big girl, an open mouth with noise coming out is fairly accurate.)
Today I’m going to show you how to make a basic little girl’s shift dress (or tunic). We are going to draw our own pattern, dot to dot style. You’ll need to know just a few measurements of your little lady before you start. You’ll need to know the her width around, how long you want the dress/tunic to be, and how wide/low you want the neck.
Start with some paper, a ruler, and a pen. I usually like to use freezer paper because it’s large, cheap, and sturdy. I used just a regular piece of paper for this though, because their tops are so small. My two girls wear just about the same size, just one is taller than the other. I’m drawing my pattern for a smallish 4T.
Starting from the long side, measure out one fourth of the width of your child. If you are using a stretch knit fabric you won’t need to add any to the width. If you are using a woven fabric, add one inch.
Now go to the top left corner. Measure out from the corner one fourth of how wide you want the neck. For a small 4T size, my measurement was 2 and a half inches.
Measure down the side how deep you want the neck to be. For this small 4T size, I marked one inch down. (This is for the back neck, the front should be at least an inch lower!)
Connect those two dots with a curved ruler, or just eyeball it. It’s not rocket science so don’t stress it.
Now measure down the side line that you drew, three quarters of an inch.
Draw a line between the neck, and this dot. This is your shoulder seam line.
You never just want a shoulder seam to go straight across, as it will give you an extra bunch of fabric under the arm pits. If you look in a mirror, shoulders slope downwards, so you want to follow that line when sewing.
The last step is to flair out the side just slightly. If I follow this line, I can have a long A-line dress, or leave it short for just a loose tunic.
That is the back of the dress. Follow the same steps for the front of the dress, but lower the neckline. I also added a dot on the outer side, 4 inches from the top. This shows me where the sleeve opening should end. (I did 5 inches on the big girl’s dress for a looser sleeve.)
That’s it for the pattern! See? Measuring out dots, and then connecting them isn’t so hard is it? Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to add a cuff, and a facing to the neck. I used this basic pattern for the top of this dress…
…and added length to it for this dress.
I don’t want to have information overload in one post (After all, my intention is to persuade you into thinking sewing is fast, fun and easy!), so we’ll finish up with the sewing tomorrow!
Updated: You can find Part 2 HERE.
Isaiah 40:12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?