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Front Tie Spring Dress – {Great for all ages}

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I love spring and summer clothing after a long chilly winter.
We definitely did not have a long cold winter here in Georgia like we were used to having in Idaho (sorry Idaho friends, I know you’re probably still freezing. Eek!)……..but still, as cold as it wasn’t here, I love jumping into light and bright clothing when spring rolls around.
So once I received a little box from Ribbon Retreat +Fabric in the mail, I had to put some great fabric to use.
(The fabric is called Scarlet Pom Pom by Del Hi, found here.)
And created something light and fresh for our warm Georgia weather.
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With a big floppy bow (with elastic inside the casing) that cinches in the top of the dress.
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Perfect for little girls…….but would look great in adult sizes too.
(I have one for me on the to-do list.)
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And there are 3 rows of elastic casing at the waist (don’t let it scare you…’s pretty simple).
Now come out and play sun……….we know there are many hot days ahead.
*And I promise…..making one is easier than it may look.  Lots of straight lines.  That’s it.

Would you like to make your own Front Tie Spring Dress?
(For you or a little girl you know…)

Like I mentioned above, my fabric is called Scarlet Pom Pom by Del Hi, and can be found at the Ribbon Retreat +Fabric, here.
Woven cotton would work best, and will keep this dress light and airy.
(All of my measurements and directions in this tutorial are for my daughter, who wears a 5T.)
To begin, you’ll need to decide how big you want your dress to be on you or your little girl.  I measured around my little girl (20 inches) and decided that I wanted it to be 2 1/2 times bigger than she was.  For a woman’s size, I would go with 1 1/2 or 2 times as big as you are at your biggest section (generally bust or hips).  We don’t usually want to add as much fullness or bulk to us as women……and adding too much will make the top section too floppy and big. Add 2 inches to this width for seam allowances and then cut this number in half because you want a front piece and a back piece. 
Example: So my little girl is 20 inches around so I multiplied that by 2.5… that’s 50 inches.  I added 2 inches for seam allowances……so that’s 52 inches.  Then divided by 2…….26 inches.  So now that I have my width, I needed to decide how long to make it.  I measured from her chest (where the dress would begin) down to below her knee where I wanted the dress to end.  That was 25 inches.  So I added an inch for the bottom hem and 1.5 inches to the top for the elastic casing and the bit of ruffle at the top.  So the length I needed was 27.5 inches.
So I cut out 2 pieces of this fabric, 26 inches by 27.5 inches.
Then I placed the 2 pieces together, with right sides together, and sewed them together along the sides with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. (27.5 inch long sides).  I used a serger but you can sew a seam with your sewing machine and then zig-zag it after that, to secure your edges.
Next, serge or zig-zag the very top edge of fabric (or iron it down a 1/4 inch) and then fold it down 1 1/2 inches.  Iron flat.
Next, determine where the very center is at the top of your dress front.  Place a pin there to mark it.  Then place a pin an inch to the right and a pin an inch to the left.  You will be making buttonholes where the outside pins are placed.
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But before doing so, take out your pins and iron a strip of fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric where those pins were. (Make sure it’s below the fold.)
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Re-attach your pins on the front, so you can see where your buttonholes will go.
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And then create your button holes about an inch long.
From the back you should see that the button holes are on the interfacing.
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Next, cut open your button holes.
Then sew along the very bottom of the fabric folded over, right where you serged, zig-zagged, or folded under.  Make sure and slide in a clothing tag at the center back, if you have them.  Then make another seam about 1/4 inch from the top of the dress.  (This will create a ruffle at the top above the elastic casing.  If you don’t want this ruffle, only fold down the fabric about 1 1/4 inches and only make the seam along the bottom to close up the casing.)
Next, we’ll make the casing for the waist.  Cut a strip of fabric that is a few inches longer than that dress is all the way around and 2 inches wide.  So my strips was 55 x 2 inches.  Fold under each long edge a 1/4 inch and then iron it flat.
Then determine where the waist line will be on your dress.  I held this up to my daughter, found her waist, placed a pin there, then measured how far down it was: 7 inches.  So from the inside of the dress, I centered the strip over the 7 inch from the top measurement, and pinned the strip all the way around the dress.  (So the top of the strip was actually 6 1/4 inches from the top all the way around.  The center of the strip hit about 7 inches down.
Then I sewed all the way around the top of the strip (really close to the edge), leaving a few inches free at both ends.
Then I layed the 2 ends flat, pinned them together right where they met…….
……then made a mark where they met and flipped them so that the right sides would be facing each other.  I re-pinned them right where they needed to be sewn together…….
……..then sewed them together and trimmed off the excess fabric.
Then I placed the fabric down and finished sewing along the top of the strip.
Next, I sewed all the way around the bottom of the strip (really close to the edge) except for a few inches along the back of the dress.
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Then I made 2 more seams, creating 3 separate casings that were evenly spaced.  Make sure to leave a few inches open at the back for these seams too.
Next, cut 3 pieces of 3/8 inch wide elastic (1/4 inch would work too) to thread through your casing.  I cut mine an inch longer than my girl’s waist size……because I didn’t want the waist to fit too tightly.  Just barely snug.  So I cut 3 pieces of elastic at 21 inches long and threaded the first piece through the very top casing, with a safety pin on one end.
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When it came out the other end, I overlapped the two ends about an inch and sewed them in place.
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Then I worked the elastic back into the casing, and then sewed this top casing closed.  (You may have to pull your elastic as you’re sewing, so that your fabric is laying flat.)
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Then I did the same thing with the next two strips of elastic.  And sewed each casing closed after each piece of elastic was in.
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Here it is, all closed up.
And here is is from the outside.
Then I cut 2 strips of fabric that were 4 x 27 inches.  (Your size and length will vary depending on what size dress you’re making.)  I folded each in half lengthwise with right sides together, sewed them together along the long edges, turned them right side out, and ironed flat.  (Need help turning a tube right side out?  Click here.)
Then cut a piece of 1 inch wide elastic that is about 6-7 inches smaller than the chest size.  (I cut mine about 14 inches long.)  Thread the elastic through the casing at the top of the dress, going in and out of the 2 buttonholes you made.
Attach your two fabric strips to the ends of your elastic.
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Then tuck the raw edges of each strip end inside itself about a 1/2 inch.  Sew in place.
Then make 2 more strips of fabric just like the ones you used for the bow but only about half as wide.  Put the dress on and determine how long you want your straps to be.  Make sure to add about an inch to the length of each strip, as you’ll be placing each end of the straps inside of the dress about a 1/2 inch, to attach them.  (Each of my straps were about 7 inches long and an inch wide after they were completed.)
Serge or zig-zag each end and then attach them to the dress with 2 seams.  (You may need to try the dress on to see where to place each end of the strap.)
And that’s it.
A brand new little summery dress for you, your girl, your friend’s girl, etc.


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This post is sponsored by:

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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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