fun in the sun(dress) 4th of July style: Twinkle Twinkle Little Dress

A few weeks ago I went on my favorite jaunt, to the LA fabric district. 
I don’t get to go very often, because I refuse to take my kids, and so occasionally on a Saturday I can get away for a few hours and make the trip.  I always stop first at the FIDM Scholarship store, which has random fabrics (very hit or miss) for $1 a yard!!! 
This trip I wasn’t super successful at finding amazing fabric, 
but I did find some navy chiffon with white stars on it.  

I immediately thought it would be perfect for a 4th of July sundress for Emily.  
I had a totally different dress in mind, and actually made most of it, 
but thanks to my good friend chiffon and my limited patternmaking skills, my vision failed.  
Chiffon was totally and completely frustrating to work with.  
Not really to stitch, but to lay out and cut.  So wiggly.  And limiting.  
So after the first dress didn’t work out, I had to come up with another one.  
I was determined to make a 4th of July dress!

A friend of mine had made a dress in this style for her daughter, using a cute cotton print, with ribbon straps, and I loved it.  So I thought I would do an eyelet and chiffon version.

I don’t have an “official” tutorial for you, because I made some mistakes early on, and had to wing it for the rest.  But I will tell you how to make it. Super Simple. (Unless you are sewing with chiffon or make silly mistakes like me!)

Making this dress is like making a very long elastic waistband skirt.

1. So using this tutorial, (the skirt part) make the main part of your dress, just much longer.
2. For the length, measure from the armpit to the knee, or wherever you want the dress to end.  Add 5-6 inches or 3-4 inches if the bottom is finished (eyelet) like mine.  If you add a second layer, cut that one a few inches shorter.
3. For the elastic, measure around your child’s chest, instead of their waist.
4. If you want two layers, sew the side seam of each first, then hem the top of the outside layer.  Sew the two together at the top of your casing seam.  The casing should be on the inside of the bottom layer.  Make your casing just like the skirt in the tutorial above.
5. If you want to add trim to the neckline (I used eyelet trim) just sew it on before inserting the elastic.
6. You can choose to omit the zig zag topstitching if you want like I did, or you can add it.  (I didn’t think it would look very good on chiffon)
7. Once your dress body is made, make some straps.  I cut out two rectangles for each strap.  You need 4. Then I sewed it like this:
trimmed the edges, and turned right-side out.  I finished the raw edges and just stitched the straps down on the inside of the dress, two in front and two in back.  Each strap is about 8″ long and 2″ wide.  You can also use ribbon for the straps.  (Tip: Try the dress on your child before sewing the straps on, I had to move mine and they still could be moved again for better placement.)
8. I made a little flower pin to add some festivity to the dress. It is removable.

*In more casual fabric, this dress makes a fabulous swimsuit cover-up!

**The dress can be made in one sitting, easy.  Especially if you aren’t using chiffon!