Tuesday, March 22, 2011

how to make an a-line dress.

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This dress is one of the most popular little girl dresses and is pretty easy to make.
A girl is to a a-line jumper, as a boy is to the jon jon!

I am sewing this for a friend, since I am stuck in the boy world of clothing...
nothing makes me long for a little girl more than staring at beautiful fabric!

Anyways, I am using the "Lucy" pattern from Children's Corner, but any a-lined dress pattern will do.
**Note I am not following their directions, because I developed my own way of doing it, so follow at your own risk. HA!

Other great patterns for an a-line jumper is Holly & Hunter and William and Winnie.  

What you will need from the store... main fabric, lining fabric, 2-4 buttons
The amount of fabric needed will vary according to size.
I always measure my pattern to see the amount of fabric the dress will need, because they over estimate sometimes and you waste 1/4 yard.

Let's get started...

First we will cut the lining.
When you make Lucy there is not a front seam, so the back and front will be cut on a fold.
This means you need to unfold your fabric and fold the edge to meet the middle of the fabric.
Do this on both sides.

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Next place your pattern on the folds of the fabric


Cut out your fabric lining front and back.

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{what you get when it is unfolded}

I then place my lining onto my main fabric to cut out front piece and back piece...

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{what you get when it is unfolded}

For the main fabric, put right sides together and sew down the side seam...
Sew from under the arm to the bottom of the jumper.


Now do the same for the lining.
Put right sides together and sew down the side seam...

Flip the main fabric right side out and leave the lining wrong side out...

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Place the main fabric into the lining...
This will put right sides of the main fabric and lining together, so you can sew around the top.
{this will make more sense in a second}

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Match the front and back straps of the lining to the main fabric.

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Now pin into place around the entire top of the jumper.  
Make sure you are matching side seams!!!

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{match those side seams}

Here is my jumper after pinning together...

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Now it is time to sew.
Sew around the outside edges of the top of the jumper.
My pattern called for 1/4'' seam.

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Remember to leave your needle down, pick up your presser foot, and turn those corners!!!

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Here is my jumper after sewing around the top...

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Now we are going to trim closer to the seam around the top of the jumper.
You do this, so the fabric does not pull, when you flip it around.

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Flip and iron your edges on the top of the jumper.
**Tip... Use your scissor tips to poke out the corners of the straps... 
this will help them be square and oh so pretty!!
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Now to finish the bottom of the jumper...

In the middle of this slightly confusing {internet} explanation you will wonder...
"Why are we doing this?"
Just hang in there because we are getting a starting point to begin sewing around the bottom of the jumper!!

Lets start with jumper out in front of you.

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Take the left side seam of the lining fabric and fold it up about 1/4 inch...
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Now take the left side seam of the main fabric and fold it under about 1/4 inch...

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Fold them together and hold it there for a second...

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Now reach your other hand into the jumper at this left side seam and grab the turned under raw edges...

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Here is me pinching those raw edges together...

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Now pin this side seam together...

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Continue around the jumper, matching the bottom of the lining edge to the main fabric edge.
**Just for your peace of mind... it will look funny and completely wrong!

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Now sew along the bottom edge of the jumper.
But stop about 3 inch before the spot you began, so we can turn the jumper through this opening...

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{3 inch opening}
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{jumper before turning...told you it would look funny}

Turn your jumper through that opening...

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{jumper after turning}

Get your iron and let's close the hole!

Fold under the edges to match the rest of the jumper... for me 1/4 inch.

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Iron and pin into place.

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{Make sure you catch the lining underneath too}

Iron around the entire bottom edge of the jumper.
*If you are going to make it reversible, try to match the lining and main fabric perfectly while you iron.

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{this will keep the other fabric from peaking out when it is reversed}

Top stitch close to the bottom edge of the jumper.
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I also like to top stitch around the top of the jumper too.

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Mark with a erasable pin, the length for you button holes on the front straps of the jumper.
I am using covered buttons... check out my "how to cover a button." post.

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{if you use bigger buttons, make sure you start the button hole lower, so it doesn't pop over the edge of the strap}

Sew your button holes and cut the opening for your button holes.

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And lastly!!  
Sew on your buttons to the back straps.

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Congratulations you are finished!!!

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Happy Sewing!

23 comments:

  1. I love this. I also love how you have it step byt step with the photos.

    I would like to let you know that you was giving the Stylish Blog Award at my blog. To receive it you may go to http://mommyandwife2011.blogspot.com/2011/03/stylish-blog-award.html .

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  2. Jama-this is super cute and easy! You really do make great tutorials! The photos are soo helpful! I hear you are moving back closer to home. I know your sister is excited to have you close by! Keep the fab tutorials coming! Could you give us pricing info on the items that you make?

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  3. Could you do a tutorial for a basic bubble? I will have a little crawler this summer and will need lots of these!

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  4. sure!!! i will put it on the list :)

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  5. HI! Im new to your blog, a beginner to sewing and I really want to make this dress for my 13 month old! Where can I get the pattern? Thx!

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  6. You can google the pattern name "Lucy, children's corner"... or here is a site that sells it!

    http://www.allbrands.com/products/abp16204.html?ovchn=SPRI&ovcpn=Froogle&ovcrn=Froogle&ovtac=CMP

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  7. Lovely. Hate to ask, but do you know of a site that shows how to add the buttons so you can use it as a reversible? I <3 this. :)

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  8. i don't but... it is really easy! Sew a button on the other sides of the straps! You will need to sew 4 buttons total... that will make it reversible :)

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  9. SO easy and so gorgeous! And i read in the comments that it can even be made reversible. Thanks for sharing. I am pinning it.

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  10. I made this tonight. I was successful except the hem. I couldnt figure out how to turn it without making it puffy. So i just did the hems manually. Im putting snaps in I think If i can figure that out. Any ideas on how to do the hem you way? My way too a little more time,

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  11. Did you iron the hem after turning your garment? An iron can do wonders!!! If you did, then you just have to make sure that the lining and outer fabric are the exact same size in length. You can just check it by laying the dress flat and comparing them before sewing the hem together. You can also hem them separately and have them hang separately too if that is easier.

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  12. Wow, I love your trick with the hem, I can't wait to try it!
    I have my own trick that isn't as pretty as yours, takes longer, but avoids the problem Melissa discussed.
    Here it is: First I cut the hem length 1 inch too long. Then sew them together at the bottom, flip them up 1/2 inch and iron, then another 1/2 inch and iron. Then pin and topstitch it into place.
    When flipped inside out (reversed) the contrasting fabric now shows as a bottom border band!
    Then I take a 1 foot long by 1 inch wide strip of that same contrasting fabric. Then fold the top and then the bottom down, wrong sides together and iron. Then fold the length in half, wrong sides together, and iron. Then open it up and fold each half in half, wrong sides together, to the middle ironed line. Now that contrasting fabric looks exactly like Bias Tape. Then I topstitch around the entire thing to close it.
    Now I sew by hand it in it's middle onto the jumper bodice, near the neckline, being careful not to catch then reverse fabric. Then tie it into a bow.
    When worn on this side, there is now a matching bow that coordinates with the bottom hem band!
    This method keeps the jumper totally reversible. Hope that helps!

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  13. Oh dear, the auto spell things mixed up a sentence very badly. It SHOULD read: "Now I sew it by hand in it's middle onto the jumper bodice, near the neckline, being careful not to catch the reverse fabric." Sounds much better doesn't it, lol!

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  14. do you have directions to making the straps sewn together rather than button?

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  15. First, I want to say that you are really a kind soul for sharing all your talent with others. Your tutorials are great and you are a great teacher. GOD bless you. I am volunteering at an orphanage in India and want to sew some simple dresses for a young girls from the age of 5 to 8. Something simple with a round neck with sleeves with A-line bodice dress. If you have any suggestions it would be great...or even have a pattern to share. I can sew but I'm not really great at it but I really want to sew these dresses for these poor unfortunate girls..just to bring one smile to their faces...any help will be much appreciated.

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  16. this is so cute-but i am very intimidated by button holes & buttons, as i have never done it before. maybe now i'll give it a try...

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  17. Just finished, only took a few hours. Love the tutorial with pics!! Thank you!

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  18. Hi

    I would love to try this dress but am struggling to find a place I can buy the pattern in England as the Childrens Corner website doesnt ship to UK. Any ideas?

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  19. Thanks for the tutorial. I was going to order the Children's Corner pattern (after the recommendation of a friend) but found one at Hancock for $.99! This was all pretty straightforward until it came to the bottom hem. I have turned it in and out a dozen times and cannot seem to figure it out. It looks fine as long as it's turned inside out but when I try to turn it the right way, it looks like a big balloon. I really don't have trouble with spatial things...but I'm about to pull out my hair with this one!

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  20. Thank you so so much for your tutorial and beautiful graphics, I am new to garment sewing and would like to sew this little dress for my new granddaughter I figure I start with something small.
    Thank You again,

    Miriam Galas

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  21. The information in your blog is very informative. Keep up the good work.
    integrated receivables management

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  22. Holy smokes, this simplifies the A line a LOT! I have 2 girls & I love a little girl in a sweet unfussy dresd!!! Thank you!!

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  23. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! It is my favorite online by far. I just used a Sew Simple sleeveless dress pattern from Wal Mart for .99 and it worked great. I have made several for my 3 girls already and have been experimenting with adding different contrasting appliques to each side :)

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