fun in the sun(dress) Curly Sue

Happy Wednesday!
We love that we get to start the day with a darling sun{dress} made by Delia from Delia Creates!  She’s one talented gal with a ton of creativity up her sleeve, and it’s not just all about sewing!  Here are some of my non-sewing fav’s that I spotted while scouring her blog.  {love it, by the way}
First…I have a crush on anything bow tie…so these father’s day cards caught my eye…but I loved the scratch-off surprise inside!
Scratch Off Bow Tie Fathers Day Cards

Number 2:
There are a ton of darling ways to keep track of things we want to do this summer, but this bucket list idea is to-die-for!
Summer Bucket List

and number 3…my favorite!  My kids are way into I Spy right now, and they would LOVE to have one made with their very own stuff that they helped to create…this is an awesome idea to get inspiration from!  love love love!
 DIY I Spy Books

Now that you know that she’s awfully crafty, check out how crafty she is with a sewing machine!
here’s Delia:

Hello iCandy fans! I am excited to be here. I am mostly a self-taught, still learning a lot about sewing, kind of sewer. So to be asked to guest post for a legitimate sewing blog feels surreal.

I stepped out of my comfort zone for this series. I usually only sew for myself or for my boys. This time I decided to sew some little girl dresses for my neighbor. And now I know why so many of you prefer to sew for little girls! It takes less fabric, less time, their cute little figures are really forgiving to any sewing foibles, and they are just adorable models. Like this one:

Awww…she’s so cute isn’t she?
So, for sweet little Hanna, I made a:
Named for the curly fringe sewn on all the edges of the dress.

Like I said. I am still learning. This is the first time I’ve made a little girl’s dress. So I experimented and actually made three dresses until I got one that I was really happy with.

I’ve made up a tutorial but as you’ll see, I was learning as I went. So bear with me…

1. Take some measurements.

You need to know:
– Bust
– Length from under the armpit to knee/just above knee
– To save some time, it’s a good idea to measure about how long you want the straps as well. Just measure from front/top of bust and back to the shoulder blade.

2. Find a Medium or Large Men’s T-shirt.

One T-shirt should be able to make an entire 2T {or smaller} dress. If you want the the 3-tiered dress or a larger dress, you might need a little bit of another T-shirt or a x-large long sleeve T-shirt.

3. Make up your pattern and cut out your pieces.

For pattern pieces you will need:

– a pattern for the top front piece – I made a pattern that is 3 3/4 inches at the ends which rises to about 4 1/4 inches in width; and 10 1/4 inches in length
– optional: a pattern for the top back piece. It’s just a 3 3/4 x 10 1/4 inch rectangle. You don’t technically need a pattern for this. You could just cut it with a rotary cutter.

-a semi-circle sleeve pattern- 2 1/2 inches at widest part, 8 inches in length

Now cut two of each from your patterns…preferably on a fold to keep things nice and even.

Cut the remaining pieces. 
 -You need a skirt.
It’s easiest to cut the skirt from the bottom of the T-shirt. Be sure to cut off the hemmed bottom so you can sew a curly edge on in a minute.

I realized this later but you also need to slant the sides of the skirt inward, like so  {see picture below} if you are adding tiers. I made the waist measure 27 inches and the bottom measure 34 inches.

Tier Strips – optional. Cut strips as wide as a T-shirt width {probably about 34-40 inches} and about 4 1/2 in. in width.

And 2 strap rectangles: 2 1/2 inches wide and about 7 inches long.

Here are all my pieces cut and ready to go:

4. Zig-zag ruffle your sleeves and skirt pieces.

As you sew a close zig-zag on the edge of the knit, pull on the fabric so it’s nice and taut. When you’re done, you get a nice pretty curl.

 These are the settings I used on my machine. I took the normal zig-zag settings and made them a bit tighter and closer together. This really helps get the thread color to show up nicely and helps things curl up more.

You need to do this on the skirt piece, the bottom of each tier and the curved part of the semi-circle pieces.

I think this looks prettiest with contrasting thread. Just be sure it will show up. As you will see in the red dress…the white on red didn’t really look quite right. And white on yellow didn’t pop enough. Red on white worked great though. So experiment. If I had a nice dark navy blue T-shirt, I think white thread would look stunning on that….hopefully. 🙂

5. Make your sleeve straps.

Using a long straight stitch gather the semi-circle sleeve pieces along the straight side.

Iron the strap rectangle pieces inward like bias tape.

Sandwich the gathered sleeve into the strap piece and sew. Be sure you leave about an inch of strap at both ends sans ruffle.

Now you have 2 mocked sleeved straps.

6. Assemble the skirt piece.

Draw a line on the skirt where you want the middle tier piece to go. 

 Gather the top of the skirt and the tiers with a long straight stitch.

These are the settings I used.

 Now line the middle tier up on the line you just drew with right sides facing and the tier flipped up.

Pin and sew with a straight stitch.

Then add the top tier. The top of the skirt is gathered as well, so tighten up the skirt and the top tier to get the finished “waist” to be about an inch bigger than the bust measurement. In my case that was approximately 20 inches or so. Sew the top tier onto the skirt with a straight stitch..

7. Assemble the top piece.

 Take one top front piece. Line the straps on the bumps or where the top piece rises on either side.

 Lay the second top front piece on top. I pinned the ruffled sleeves down so it wouldn’t get caught in the seam.

Pin and sew…then cut off any excess strap.

 This is knit so it’s not totally necessary. I found that it turned right side out better though when I cut a notch where it curved out and a slit where it curved in.

Now sew on your back piece. Mark the mid-point and line your sleeves up just like you did to the front piece. Just be sure to bring the straps a bit closer together than you did for the front. This will help the sleeves stay put better when worn.

 Pin and sew.

 Turn it right side out. You should end up with something like this.

Bring the right sides of the front and back pieces together. Take care to ensure seams match up. Pin and sew.

 So that the top will stretch a bit, use a narrow zig-zag stitch for this portion, like this one:

Turn it right side out.


You now have a finished top piece and a skirt piece:

9. Bring it all together.

With right sides together, pin the outer part of the top to the skirt.

 Now, sew with a narrow zig-zap stitch to allow for some stretch.

 You are almost done. Take the inside piece of the top that has not been sewn yet…

And pin it down from the front. That inner layer should cover the seam that you just made when you attached the front of the top to the skirt. Sew all the way around from the right side so you can ensure the stitch looks straight.  Of course you could skip this part and just sew both layers to the skirt at once. Either way works.

And you’re done!

 It seems like quite a process, but once you get going you can easily finish this in an afternoon.

The yellow dress was actually my first attempt. It was meant to look like a flower.

I just cut petals to the length I wanted and the combined gathered width of the bust.

 To keep the petals from flapping open I had to stitch in a couple spots like so…

And I didn’t bring the straps closer together in the back, which caused the straps to keep falling down. So I added a little T-strap.  Much better, but I still disliked how low the top was.

Being the perfectionist I am, I made another dress. Just a simple skirt with a higher top front and better sleeves.

But as you can see the white thread looks off on this red knit.

Even though this face looks adorable. 😉 Isn’t she the cutest model?

So I tried it one last time with this 3-tiered white one and I knew it was the one! Third times a charm.

 Light, comfy…

 Perfect for summer!

Thanks for having me Autie and Jen! Have wonderful day!