Yep, I know it's a little long. She wasn't around to measure, so I guessed. Guessed a little long, so I'll have to shorten it up next time she visits.
Here's how the dress came about:
We visited Gulf Shores, Alabama this past Fourth of July. There's a really nice fabric store on the way in as you head south off of I-10 towards the Gulf. We had a little spare time, so took the opportunity to pay it a visit.
Among the things we picked up was this neat fairy print -- perfect for the pillowcase dress I've been planning!
Picked up one yard for the dress -- 36 inches by 44 inches. First order of business -- join the two selvedge edges together to make a cylinder 36 inches long by about 44 inches in circumference.
I used a French Seam to join the two edges.
Next, I "flattened" the cylinder with the seam in the center of the back of the tube. This gave me a "rectangle" that was 36 inches long by 22 inches wide. Now, fold this rectangle lengthwise down the middle so that you have a rectangle 36 inches long by 11 inches wide. One "edge" of your rectangle is really the "center" of your dress; the other edge is the sides of the dress.
Make two cuts near the top of the rectangle. The first begins one inch down along the center edge and curves to about 2 inches from the opposite edge. This will be your neck line. The second cut begins at this 2 inch mark and curves downwards for about 6 inches. These will be your armholes.
This sounds screwy -- but the picture should make it clearer.
You could just use a roll-over hem along the armholes, but I used a bias tape hem instead. I guess it depends on your preference and perhaps the fabric print you're using. I had this little bit of bias tape left over from another project and thought I'd put it to use.
After sewing in the bias tape along the armholes, this is what the garment looked like.
I'm now going to use bias tape again for the front and back of the neck. I'm going to leave the ends of these two bias hems open -- because I'm going to use it as a casing to hold ribbon ties.
When I use a bias tape as a casing, I always fold in a half-inch or so on each end so that the end of the casing is finished.
I used a slightly wider bias tape for the neck lines -- this is to make it a little easier to thread a ribbon through the casings.
Run two ribbons through the casings -- one through the front neck casing and the second through the rear neck casing. It's okay to make the ribbons a little long -- you can trim them later.
I have all kinds of gizmos to help run ribbons or cords through casings -- but nothing seems to work better than attaching a sturdy safety pin to one end and just working it through.
You see how the front/back of the dress gathers along the casing -- you'll adjust this as necessary when you fit the dress to your model!
Okay -- now for the hard part. It's actually not hard, it's just that I don't have my model handy to check the sizing. The 36 inch "length" of my dress is way too long -- but I don't know exactly how much too long. So -- I'll guestimate. I'll make things a little long since I can alway shorten it later if I need to. I'm going to cut about 12" from the length of the dress!
Now -- I have a little bit of a dilemna. I could hem the bottom and call it done -- but I really want to put a ruffle at the bottom of the dress. However, if I use a contrasting print or solid, then I violate my "1 yard of fabric". So -- I'll use my trimmed length extra for my ruffle.
I've trimmed a cylinder about 12 inches long by 44 in circumference. First, I'll cut away the French Seam join -- giving me a 12 inch by 44 inch (approximate) rectangle.
Next, I'll cut this in half -- giving me two 6 inch by 44 inch rectangles. I'll then join these two pieces to give me a 6 inch by 88 inch rectangle -- and then sew the ends together to give me a cylinder 6 inches high by 88 inches in circumference.
Important!!! Take note of your print orientation if you're using a printed fabric! I had to make sure all my fairies kept facing in the proper direction (didn't want no upside-down fairies!)
Next, I sewed a roll-over hem along both the top and bottom of the cylinder. Probably didn't need to do this ... but I'm making this up as I go along and it seemed like a good idea at the time!
Now -- to attach this 88 inch cylinder to my 44 inch pillowcase dress cylinder. I'll gather as I go -- creating my ruffles.
There are several ways to do this -- I used the same method I used when I did the Fleece French Beret. I have two "circles" of fabric -- one 88 inches, the other 44 inches (the bottom of the dress). Pin the two together at the seam. Now, if this pin is the 12 o'clock position, then pin again at the equivalent 6 o'clock positions. Now, pin again at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions. You now have 22 inches of "ruffle" fabric attached every 11 inches on the pillowcase dress bottom. Now, I just need to sew along the edge -- gathering the 22 inches so that it fits in each 11 inch segment. Kind of like attaching a sleeve.
Unfortunately, my camera hiccuped during this process and I don't have a picture of the pinned ruffle before and after sewing. My bad!
But -- here's the results on the model after the gather! Okay, I'll have to come back and shorten the dress. I'll remove the ruffle edge, trim the main dress shorter, then reattach the ruffle edge. Maybe I'll use a bit of ribbon, trim, or rick-rack to hide this cut line?
Hmmm ... this looks kind of nightgowny, doesn't it. Maybe version two will be a soft cotton or flannel and I'll leave it this length for a nightgown!