I was excited to hear from a number of people who share my love for pintucks and would like to try out this little dress. It’s just a simple pattern but that is my preference for baby clothes. My disclaimer is that my baby hasn’t been born yet so I haven’t tried the dress on a real living creature! From holding it up to store bought clothing, I believe it to be about a 3 month size. It is also the kind of style where it could be worn as a dress when the baby is little and then with leggings later on. That adds some flexibility.
1/2 yard lightweight cotton fabric
6 small buttons (about 3/8″ diameter)
1 yard lace (optional)
40″ of 1/4″ wide double fold bias tape
pintuck presser foot and double needle for your machine
1. Cut your pattern pieces. Cut piece A along the fold. You should have three cut pieces of fabric when you are done: one piece A and two of piece B.
2. The next step is to add your pintucks along the neckline of piece A. See my tutorial (http://duringquiettime.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-pintuck.html) for making pintucks. You can arrange your pintucks in many different ways. Begin by finding the center of the dress front by folding the dress piece in half along the fold line and marking it with a pin at the center of the neckline. Draw a chalk guideline to follow for your first pintuck. For my first version of the dress, I used a radiating design. In case it isn’t clear enough in the picture, I started in the center and stitched a straight line. Then I stitched to more rows of pintucks on each side. The center pintuck is the longest and the outermost pintucks are shortest. For this design, you will want to draw guidelines for each “arm” of the radiating design and then stitch your pintucks.
You could also try vertical rows of pintucks as I did in the second version. First, make a guideline in the center and stitch. Then you can simply make pintucks to either side, no guidelines necessary. I used 15 pintucks.
3. Once you are happy with your pintucks, it’s time to sew the side seams. Place your pieces right side together, pin and stitch. I have allowed a 1/4″ seam allowance for this pattern. Press seams.
4. I wanted to make the hem while reducing bulk since the dress is so tiny. To do this, I chose to edge-finish the hemline on my machine rather than folding it up a 1/4″ and then another 1/4″. You could do that if you prefer. After edge-finishing the entire length of the hem, I folded it up 1/4″ and ironed.
5. Next, I made the placket for the back of the dress. On both pieces for the back, piece B, I folded under 1/4″ and ironed. Then I folded another 3/4″ and ironed. At the bottom, I folded the edge finished hem to the inside to leave a clean corner at the bottom of the placket. Then I stitched along the edge as closely as I could. Perhaps this is most clearly shown in the photo below (pardon the yucky ironing board cover. I was reading today about an online tutorial for ironing board covers. I might have to look into this!).
This picture shows the edge-finished hemline folded in on the placket portion for a clean corner.
6. At this point, you can add your edging to the hem. I used lace in one version and a ruffle in the other. For the lace version, simply fold under a 1/4″ at one end of the lace and align it with the edge of the back placket and pin along the hemline. At the other end, again, fold the lace under 1/4″ and align it with the edge of the back placket. Then stitch. Your stitching will catch the edge-finished hem.
If you prefer the ruffle, cut a 2 1/2″ strip across the full width of your material (44-45″). You could use a contrasting material for the ruffle, or even the same material as the bias tape if you are making it yourself. I chose to use the same material as the body of the dress. Fold under 1/4″ at the narrow ends, iron and stitch. Then fold the strip in half and iron. Then edge finish the top, raw edges on your machine. Then make two rows of long stitches along the edge, just shy of 1/4″. Pull the threads to gather. Pin the two ends of your ruffle, aligning them with the edges of the back placket. Adjust the gathers to fit, pin and stitch. I used two rows of stitching for the ruffle.
7. Now it is time to stitch your shoulder seams (1/4″ seam allowance). Iron seams.
8. Next I made the bias tape. I took a piece of fabric that was 1″ wide and 40″ long and folded it in half and ironed, then folded each raw edge in and ironed, resulting in a double folded bias tape measuring 1/4″ wide. You could just buy this type of bias tape or use a bias tape maker and save your fingers from potential ironing injuries!
9. Pin the bias tape to the arm openings and to the neck, folding under the raw edges. You can then stitch the bias tape on the machine or by hand. I can never seem to sew the bias tape on, using the machine, and feel happy with the results. I prefer to take the time to stitch it by hand. This is clearly a personal preference.
10. The final step is to make the button hole on the left side of the dress, as you look at it from the back. I made my top button hole at the neckline and then allowed 2″ between each of the remaining button holes. You will need to make 6 button holes. Mark the placement of the buttons on the opposite placket and sew them on.
You’re done! I hope that this tutorial was clear. If not, please let me know and I will try to clarify.