Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Afternoon Ruffle Maxi Tutorial

Be prepared for visual stimulation!  There could be an eensy weensy teensy tiny little sliver bit of a possibility that I went a little overboard in the photo department. :)  Maybe I got a little trigger happy with my camera ... but it's all in an effort to make this this dress look super amazing and in turn make me look like a superstar... anyone else want to do the superstar stance from Saturday Night Live?  Come on ... start this project out right... get into position and say it with me ... SUPERSTAR!  So back to the real purpose of this post... wait for it... another Maxi dress tutorial.  I can't help myself not only am I trigger happy ... apparently I'm also Maxi happy.  :)  So just to get you excited for your final product, I decided to start the post with pictures of the finished dress.  Motivational pictures if you will, (and I will).  Not to toot my own horn but ... wait for it ... TOOT... I freaking love this dress.  I especially love anything I can get done in a few hours and that I can scrounge up supplies from my epic hoarders fabric pile I mentioned in my last post.  So lets just pretend this dress cost me zero dollars, because lets face it, that's how it feels when you find a fabric treasure trove floating at the bottom of your hoarders pile.  Ok moving on to the tutorial...

Things you need:
1 to 2 yards of fabric
1/2 inch elastic

Part 1 Pre-sewing Hoopla (aka all the boring stuff)

* side note... don't be thrown off by the leopard fabric... after my oldest saw this dress finished she wanted one as well... so I didn't decide to do a tutorial until the second time through

*another side note... for this dress I used a rolled hem for the bottom of the dress.  If you are using a traditional hem add a 1/2 inch to the length of the bottom ruffle for hem allowance.

To begin with depending on the size of dress you are making you will need 1 to 2 yards of fabric.  The dress pictured above is a size 7/8 and I used about 1.5 yards of fabric.

Ok grab your little peanut and measure around her chest.  Take this number and multiply 1.5 times, this will be the width of your fabric.  Next measure about 2 inches past her knee, this will be the length of your dress.  Now measure and cut your fabric out.  You should have one large piece of fabric, this will be the main body of your dress.
 Onto the chest ruffle... cut another piece of fabric the same width as the main body of fabric and a length of 5 inches.  Set this aside and cut another piece of fabric for the ruffle at the bottom of the dress.  The bottom ruffle needs to be 1.5 to 2x wider than the body of the dress in order to have it gather and ruffle. To measure the length start 2 inches below the knee and measure to the top of your sweeties foot.  Again ... measure and cut, but instead of one large piece like the previous pieces we cut, this we be in 2 equal pieces.  (So just take the 2x wider measurement and divide in half to get each piece.)
 Final measure and cut... I pinky promise and everyone knows... a pinky promise can't be broken.  For the straps measure 2 inches in width and 8 inches in length.  Cut 4 of these strips.

Part 2... The part you've been waiting for ... Dress Construction

Ok so I've talked about before how much I hate to iron... but I promise you it makes your project easier in the end :) So grab your 4 strap pieces and iron both sides in towards the middle... just like the next two pictures show.

 Stop staring at my stubby fingers in the last picture... apparently I need to work on optimum finger positioning for my pictures. :)
 Now that you have the sides folded in towards the middle... fold those sides in together and tie a knot in one end of the fabric (see above picture... the knit fabric was being temperamental and kept unfolding without consulting me first so don't look at the unfolded parts ... just the knot.
 Once you have your knot, pin your strap folded together all the way down.  Pin all 4 straps together and then sew them each down one side with a zig zag stitch.
 Lay the main body of your with design side of your fabric facing down.  Next measure from both edges of your fabric in 5 inches and pin a strap at both spots.  For the front straps, locate the very center of your fabric and measure 5 inches both directions and pin a strap a both spots as well.  Now you should have all four straps pinned to your main fabric.   Grab your chest ruffle piece and lay it face down on top of your straps and main piece of fabric and pin it in place.  Sew along this edge with a straight stitch.

 Go back to your ironing board fold your newly sewn chest ruffle right side up over your main piece and press with your iron.  Now is a good time to hem your chest ruffle.  I chose to use my rolled hem foot to create a tiny hem.  You can also do a traditional hem by folding up the bottom a 1/4 in press, fold up again a 1/4 inch and press, pin in place and sew along the edge.
Here's a picture of my rolled hem and the foot... don't be scared to use one, one of the employees where I bought it tried to convince me I would never be able to figure this bad boy out... but she obviously didn't know who she was talking to. ;)  It's super easy after you experiment a little.
 Now that the chest ruffle and main fabric are sewn together, make a 1 inch casing for elastic all around the top edge.  You don't need to measure or pin, just line it up with the seam measurements on your sewing machine.
 The chest measurement you took earlier will be used for the elastic measurement - 2 inches. Using a safety pin attached to your 1/2 in elastic, feed it all the way through the casing and pin on both ends to secure.

 Turn your dress inside out, line up and pin the outside edges along the length of the dress.
 Sew along the edge all the way up.  Make sure you sew through the pinned edges of the elastic at the top.

Time for a celebration... you are almost done... only the bottom ruffle left... look at you ... superstar! Pin your two pieces for the bottom ruffle together on both sides.  Then sew a straight seam down both sides.  Go ahead and hem the bottom of the ruffle either with the rolled hem or a traditional hem.  Next put your straight stitch at the longest length you can (mine was 4.5) and stitch all the way around the top leaving excess string at the beginning and end.  

Grab your extra string and pull gently while pushing the fabric in the opposite direction in order to gather the fabric.

 Keep gathering until your ruffle is the same width as the bottom of your dress.  Pin upside down with the right sides facing each other.  Pin all along the edges and sew together with a straight stitch.

YEAH!  You are D-O-N-E!  This totally calls for a chest bump!  But maybe we should hold off ... that could get awkward if my husband caught me chest bumping my computer screen in an effort to give you a "Good Job" bump!  :)

Feel free to leave me comments with questions and or thoughts... I would love to hear from you! :)
A Peek Into My Paradise
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  1. What an adorable dress! I think my girls would love it Kristin :)

    I'd love it if you shared it at Living Well Spending Less this week for our Thrifty Thursday party! I think my readers will love it! http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/category/thrifty-thursday/

    1. Thanks Ruth! :) I'm Linking up right now!

  2. So cute! My girls would love this! I'll be featuring it on my blog tomorrow.


    Thanks for linking up!

    1. Hey Sumo :) Thanks so much for featuring my dress and for hosting the linky party! I'm so excited!!
      Have a great weekend! :)

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  4. This tutorial is adorable and now I totally want to see a pic of the finished maxi dress! I'm really inspired too because my daughter is about the same age as yours is in the pic, and she would just loooooove this dress! I am also your newest follower on GFC, super cute blog!


    1. Hey :) Thanks so much! So glad you like it! Have a great weekend :)

  5. Awww... Adorable.

    Thank you for partying with the Wildly Original Crowd.
    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!

  6. I found your blog from Sumo's page and you're a Godsend! My daughter has been begging me to make her some of these for summer. Thanks for the tut! I can't wait to make these!

    1. Awww... thanks that makes my day! So glad you found me :)

  7. Great maxi dress! Thanks for linking it up with us at the Fine Craft Guild linky party.