Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Down East Basics Dress tutorial

I am so excited to be finally sharing this tutorial with you!  This was one of those projects that was meant to be.  I was at the fabric store, saw this fabric and though "oh this will make something cute!".  Then after receiving my latest DownEast Basic catalog I saw the cute girls dress...It was the saw material.  Super cute!  So I decided I would to a remake!
This was super simple.  Its a rectangle dress.  So come on lets go!!

You will need jersy material, and Elastic thread and your basic cutting tools.

Start by picking out a shirt of the size you want your dress.  Lay it out flat and cut your rectangle as wide as the widest part of the shirt (the sleeves)  Either cut two rectangles, that will require sewing at the top of the sleeves, or if you have enough fabric to fold and the top, then you have one less sewing step...even easier.

this is folding it at the top...I didn't have enough length for this dress cause the stripes were going a certain way, but I wanted to show you the fold at the top.

mark where you want the waist to be by double pinning it...this will be used later
Also, measer and mark where the armpits are.  You want to leave them open as your sleeves.

using the same shirt as before, cut out a colar/neck

Now if you needed to sew at the top of the sleeves, pin next to the neck hole and sew at the top.  Also pin and sew the sides up to the arm pits where you marked earlier.  Keep the double pins in place where you marked the waist line.

Cut three long strips of fabric about 1 inch in width and ruffle them (ruffle tutorial HERE).  Pin in place and sew.

Now hand wind your elastic thread onto the bobbin with slight tension.  Using the same ruffle technique as above, sew 7-8 rows, continuously going around the waist.  These will be 1/4-1/2 inch apart.  The closer they are together, the tighter the smocking/shirring will be.  When done, spray with water and press with hot iron to shrink back up the elastic thread.  This is neat watching it shrink before your eyes.

You have now completed your dress.  No heming involved when your using jersey knit cause it doesn't fray.  This is a comfortable soft dress great for church, school or a fun little lunch date with daddy. 

I hope you found it easy!  It looks pretty much exact right???



  1. This is so adorable Tricia! I really need to make like 3 of these for the summer for my girls! Thanks!

  2. Love it...I'm going to try to make one like this for my 8 year old daughter! I've got some cute fabric with kittens and yarn on it that she wants me to make into a dress.