Lots of freebies in this post, because I am feeling so glad to
be finally not sick. The trade-off is that it is a looooong post,
so you'll have to put up with me till the end.
Well, here is Summer Dress #3: The raglan-sleeve nightdress!
If you have a serger, you might also call it the 45-minute
dress. If not, it could be done in a little over an hour. For
folks just joining us, this is the third in the series of
summer dresses made with these aims:
- They must be fast to make.
- They must be comfortable (rather than just nice to look at).
- Small children must be able to put them on and take them off without my help.
- There should be no noticeable difference if these are worn front to back (since I'm not helping to put them on the children - tra la la!)
again because they were going to be nightdresses
for the girls. Both Emily and Jenna have somehow gotten
it into their heads that girls must wear nightdresses to bed,
not pyjamas. But the way they sit! Grrrr. The nice thing
about sewing your own nightdresses is being able to
make them as looooooong (and as modest) as you like.
I remember being afraid of sleeves when I first started
sewing clothes. Thought they were difficult. So kept making
one evasively sleeveless garment after another until mum
noticed, nipped that silly trend in the bud and sat me down
and made me draft and sew a sleeve. Actually, sleeved
garments are easier to sew than sleeveless ones (let's
leave the spaghetti-strap tube dresses out of the
discussion for now). For one, you don't have to do
facings for armholes and shoulder straps. Raglan
sleeves are quite different from regular sleeves but
they are especially nice for a first sleeved dress
because you don't have to baste armholes
and fiddle with darts!
Here are the patterns for a 3-year old and a 5-year old.
I drafted the original for Emily last summer and then
put it away in such a safe place that I couldn't find it
again this year. So had to draft it all over again. Of
course I found the originals immediately after
finishing these dresses. Typical.
And the instruction sheet:
If you click on the pictures, you should be taken
directly to their respective download pages.
I'm winging it here, people. I don't own any commercial
patterns. My very fabulous sister- in-law gave me two
lovely Ottobre magazines for my birthday (they have
patterns in them) but I haven't even let myself remove
the patterns from the staples in the spine until I clear
my long list of summer projects. All this to say I have
no idea what the typical format or nomenclature of
patterns is. You all get the hand-drawn variety - I
still draft and label them the same way I did in homec
when I was 13 (but improved upon by mum, mercifully).
The instruction sheet essentially tells you how to:
1. Join the sleeves to the dress.
2. Sew up the side seams.
3. Fold down the neckline and sew to make an elastic casing. Leave an opening.
4. Thread in the elastic, join elastic ends, and sew up the opening.
5. Finish the sleeve hem.
6. Elasticize the sleeve to fit wearer's arm. One way is by shirring 2 rows
Shirring the sleeves eliminates the bulk of an elastic
casing, and also gives a gentler hug around the arms -
all good for sleeping! If you don't mind rethreading
your serger, different thread colors are a quick
and subtle way to pretty up a hem.
7. Then finish the bottom hem. I made a simple rolled hem on the serger.
So that's the most basic raglan-sleeve A-line dress in
the world. Even with changing needles and thread colors
on the serger, it took about 45 minutes.
Now I will show you why I think this is about the most
versatile simple dress in the world. Ready to get fancy?
The When-You-Run-Out-Of-Print-Fabric Dress
After sewing Jenna's (she's the 3-year old) dress, I worked
on Emily's. And my floral knit ran out. Of course.
But since I always have several yards of plain white knit in
my stash (good for things like undershorts for skorts etc),
Emily's dress became a tiered version of Jenna's, with a row
of ruffles at the bottom. What fun to play with
the alternating of prints and solids!
I got Emily to model it right after waking up one morning,
Remember how to make a tiered skirt? Same principle.
for something special - will tell more in a couple of days.
This was made for Emily last summer and she's
already outgrown it so Jenna's wearing it now.
Make it out of regular cotton and dip into your
box of trims. These are all old, old trims from mum.
I added a row of cotton lace at the neckline before
threading the elastic through the casing. I did not shir
these sleeves - instead I cut the sleeves themselves a
little longer to fold up the hems into elastic casings like
the neckline. I sewed on a row of ric-rac before threading
in the elastic. With the elastic in, the neckline and
sleeves gathered the trims into interesting wavy patterns.
The Three-Quarter-Sleeve Linen Dress
to finish it. I found some matching elastic lace in my
stash and sewed that onto the edge of the neckline
and the hems of the sleeves.
This was also made for Emily last fall and also outgrown.
Again, Jenna has claimed it but it is still a little big for her.
I hope you have fun with this dress and experimenting
with the pattern! I wish I had the inclination to set up a
flickr pool of sorts so you can share photos. Maybe
someday. Meanwhile, if you do make something from it,
come back here and tell us! Or email me! Perhaps that
will be my motivation to do that flickr group after all.
OK, if you're not in a coma by now, reading all that,
here's something fun.
Last night I felt like making one more dress.
As always, the idea/design/pattern/whatever appears
in my head and haunts me till I get it onto fabric. Nastier
still is how this usually happens just before bed, when I
can't possibly start on it till at least 7-8 hours later.
Here's the dress, made with surprisingly opaque
white knit and whatever else I had on hand:
Some first-time experiments just to see how this
particular white knit took to various embellishments:
- fray-able applique,
- some random scalloped decorative stitch I just realized (after 3 years, duh) my sewing machine had, and
- the odious rolled-hem-on-folded knit, which, depending on the kind of knit, is either gorgeous or looks like something the cat coughed up.
I like it. It's out of my head. Yay.
Want it? I'm giving it away. Yes, I am.
I'd say the dress fits a 3 year old, but it's stretchy,
so possibly a 4-year old, too. Jenna is a tall 3-year
old and she's wearing the dress over her actual
clothes (to keep it clean for you).
Now, a couple spots on this dress might look a little,
well, home-made, as a result of those experiments,
but if you still want it:
- leave a comment on this post. If you have anything you'd like to learn how to sew, add that in (but you don't have to). If I can do it, I'll post on it in the future.If I can't, it will be fun to learn something new.
- include your email address in the comment, or have your email address in your blogger profile, or ensure that your comment links to your public-access blog where I can find your email address. Or email me your email address.
Leave your comment by late Thursday (6 Aug) night
and I'll do a random draw on Friday the 7th. International
readers are welcome, too! Good luck, everyone!