Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ruffled Zebra and Flower Print Dress

My daughter Sophia just loves zebra print so I stopped in my tracks when I saw this adorable zebra flowered print.  I am personally a little tired of the zebra print with hot pink look so I thought I would switch it up a bit with turquoise polka dots.  Aware that spring fashion this year is showing flowers on everything, shoes, clothes, purses, hair barrettes and headbands, I figured might as well get my flower girls in on the girlie styles of spring.  I love little girls in super frilly cute ruffled dresses but they cost a lot.  I thought well, why not design one for my girls.

If I were taking an advanced sewing and serging course this would have been the "Final" project of the year because I utilized everything I have been learning throughout my sewing adventure to create in sewing this little dress.

This time I wanted to make an original fun dress without a store-bought pattern for my girls. I started by sketching out the idea on scratch paper and writing in what colors I wanted and where.  That was the easy part.  Then, I started to draw the pattern on a scrap piece of vinyl that I had lying around. I did use a partial pattern for the size estimate.   I drew the front.  (Pardon my sketches, I am terrible at drawing but I know what I mean.)

Here is the back of the dress pattern.  Then, I assembled it.  I started by serging the straps which wrapped around the shoulders and down under the arms.  Then I attached them to the main front and back of the dress

Then, I serged and sewed the gathered ruffles and attached them at the hem and around the shoulder straps before sewing the side seams.  Then, I serged all the seams together and added the ruffled scrunchy patch pockets.  I made almost the entire dress on the serger except for the topstitching which my serger cannot do although some can with a coverstitch.

The idea was for this to be a spring/summer sundress.  

Sophia tried it on before I added the pockets to see if I needed to tweak the size a bit.  She told me she liked it without the pockets. I told her I was going to sew them on and as you can see she loved it even more with the ruffled scrunchy patch pockets.  Its all in the details.

Here she is showing off and dancing.

"Mommy, I like my new dress!"

"Are you going to make Kaylee one too?"

 Here is a side and back view of Sophia's new dress.

Now that it is complete, I better start working on Kaylee's dress so she doesn't get jealous of big sis in her new ruffled zebra flower print dress.

Notes for me:   I finished all edges of the dress in a three thread rolled hem even though this was a cotton fabric.. I also used a new technique.  I placed embroidery thread normally used with embroidery sewing machines in the upper looper and lower looper to finish the edges beautifully. I love the way it looks, almost as much as using woolly nylon in the loopers although it does not spread out like woolly nylon on the seam.  It appears more shiny like embroidery on fabric.  I have wanted to try this technique for a while but was scared of all the tension dials and adjustments required to use another kind of thread I was unfamiliar with thus far. I finally tried it and just might have to use embroidery thread in my serger again.   I especially like the way it turned out on the ruffles like a ribbon edge.

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