Fashion gifts for a little girl: Ruffled Rugby Dress sewing tutorial

Fashion gifts for a little girl: Ruffled Rugby Dress tutorial

 
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So, one of my favorite customers showed me this Ralph Lauren ruffled rugby dress and asked if I could make something like it.

Of course I said yes!
I headed to Wal-Mart and found $5 cotton polo shirts. They were also clearancing some women's shirts in a variety of colors that were knit, so I grabbed a white one to use for the bottom part.
To figure out the length, I grabbed one of Rem's dresses. It is a 6-12 month dress. I layed the polo on top of the dress so that I could see what I wanted the length to be. The polo was size 12 months, so I knew I would want it a bit longer than this dress. I think I went with 7 inches for the length.
For the width, I measured the shirt across. I knew I was going to be gathering a bit at the top of the ruffle bottom part. I like to make the measurement, when gathering, about 1.5-2 times the width of what I am adding it to. The polo was about 10 inches wide.
It just so happened that the shirt that I was using to cut from for the ruffle bottom was 14 inches across, so I just used that! I cut it to seven inches for the length and I was good to go!
Here is what we have so far!
What I did first was hem up the bottom. Since it's knit, I didn't have to worry about it fraying, so I just did a lazy hem and folded it over as I was sewing it - 1/4 inch.
Then I cut the strips for the ruffles. When I ruffle, I like my strips to be twice the length of what I am attaching the ruffle to. This was made quite easy by using the same shirt I cut the bottom base from. I cut three strips, each one being 2 inches.
I decided that I wanted to do a lettuce edge on the ruffles. On Shirley (isn't her subway art fabulous?!?) I set my stitch length to about the smallest it would go, and set my width to the widest it would go - using a zig zag stitch.
Then I put the edge through, pulling it tight with both of my hands as I fed it through. This will create your ruffly lettuce edge.
On the raw edge, I did a gathering stitch and gathered each strip.
I started with the top ruffle, and just pinned it with it's wrong side to the right side of the base - just how it will lay on the dress, raw edges matched up.
Sew around the top of the base, attaching your ruffle to your base.
Figure out where you want the next ruffle to be, and pin it all the way around the same way that you pinned your top ruffle. Since it is knit, not going to fray, and going to be covered by the ruffle above it, we don't need to do anything fancy. Besides, the raw kind of looks fun!
Sew it down.
Do the same with the third ruffle.
Notice anything wrong?
Yep, I don't have enough ruffles!
This is how my dress is looking so far.
I decided to put the shirt, and the base on Remi since she is about the same size to get an idea of how it was going to fit, size wise. The pieces weren't attached yet, but I figured it would give me a good idea.
I liked how it looked, so instead of adding more ruffles, I just hemmed up the base so that you couldn't see it under that last ruffle.
I decided that I was liking the raw edge so I just pinned the base to the shirt as is! Easy!
Sew around and you are done!
Try it on the cutest baby near you and admire your easy, knock off dress!
I'd love to see one if you make it! I can't wait to make some for my girls!
The only thing I'd do differently next time is wait to hem it up until I was sure I had it the right length - I ended up hemming this up twice, which wasn't difficult, but still a waste of time!
 
What is it about ruffly bums on babies that just makes me smile?

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