How to Make a Dress

At the end of each of the steps below, you will find a video
to help you better understand each step in making a Dress a Girl dress.

Step #1 - Choosing and Cutting the fabric.

When choosing your fabric, 100% Cotton is the best choice, simply because we need the dresses to be as durable as possible.  If you can see your hand through the fabric, it is not a suitable fabric.  It is nice to select a coordinating fabric for the pockets and shoulder straps but isn't necessary.  

Please use the following guidelines on cutting your fabric.  Dress a Girl Around the World has figured out these measurements, and they know more than we do about what works.  You will notice that the dresses come longer than girls in America wear their dresses.  I am guessing that this is for two reasons:  modesty and a longer wear life. 

You will use your fabric width, usually 44 inches, as it is, and only cut the length.

      Small - dress sizes 2, 3, and 4

      Dress - Cut the length anywhere from 21 - 29 inches.

      Cut four pieces of 1/2 inch elastic 6 1/2 inches long.

      Pockets - Cut four 6 inch squares using a fabric that coordinates with the dress fabric, if possible.

      Shoulder straps - Cut two strips of fabric 4 inches by 20 inches.  It is nice when the pockets and shoulder straps match.

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      Medium - dress sizes 5, 6, and 7

      Dress - Cut the length anywhere from 30 - 37 inches.

      Cut four pieces of 1/2 inch elastic 7 inches long.

      Pockets - Cut four 6 inch squares using a coordinating fabric.

      Shoulder straps - Cut two strips of fabric 4 inches by 22 inches.  If possible use the same fabric as the pockets.

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      Large - dress sizes 8, 9, and 10

      Dress - Cut the length anywhere from 38 - 42 inches.

      Cut four pieces of 1/2 inch elastic 8 inches long.

      Pockets - Cut four 6 inch squares using a coordinating fabric.

      Shoulder straps - Cut two strips of fabric 4 inches by 24 inches.  If possible use the same fabric as the pockets.

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      X-Large - dress sizes 11, 12, 13, and 14

     Dress - Cut the length anywhere from 43 - and up.

     Cut four pieces of 1/2 inch elastic 9 inches long.

     Pockets - Cut four 6 inch squares using a coordinating fabric.

     Shoulder straps - Cut two strips of fabric 4 inches by 25 inches.  If possible use the same fabric as the pockets.

To learn more, watch the video below:

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Step #2 - Making the pockets

If you want to add rick rack or some other embelishment such as a decpratove stitch, you will want to add it now before you sew the pockets together.  Using a 1 1/4" jumbo wide craft stick, make a pencil line by placing the craft stick at the top of the pocket and tracing a line under the stick.  Use the pencil mark as a guide for placement of the rick rack or a decorative stitch.  Now, place two of the 6 inch squares together, right sides facing, and stitch around three sides. On the fourth side, leave a small opening so you can turn the pockets right side out.  Before you turn the pockets, clip the corners to remove some of the bulkiness.  Now do the second pocket.  The pocket is the perfect place to put the Dress A Girl label.  Now is the time to add buttons if you wish.  .

To attach the pockets, you need to fold your fabric in half with the selvege edges together.  Then fold the fabric in half the other way matching the top and bottom.  With the fold at the top, place one pocket about an inch from the top fold and about two or two and a half inches from the center fold.  You will have to place your hand under the top layer only, to pin the pocket in place.  Now open the second fold up and turn the dress over.  With your fingers feel where the first pocket is situated and place the second pocket on top and again slide your hand under the first layer to pin.  Open the dress all the way up and check to see if the pockets are evenly placed and make corrections.

Stitch the pockets to the dress using a quarter inch seam allowance.  Then stitch again between the edge of the pocket and the quarter inch stitching.  Remember to backstitch.  This makes the pocket durable and makes sure your small turning opening is sewn closed.

To learn more, watch the video below:

Step #3 - Sewing the back seam and hemming 

Stitch the selvege edges together using a 5/8 inch seam or in the case of a large selvege edge, a seam large enough to miss the selvege.  On the medium and larger dresses you will need to leave a six inch opening at the bottom of the selvege edge to create a kick pleat.  Press the seam open.

For the kick pleat, fold the selveges back and stitch down, making sure to backstitch several times across the top of the kick pleat.

Using a jumbo wooden craft stick (X-large tongue depresser - 1 1/4" across) and a pencil, lay the stick on the raw edge of the hem and draw a line.  Fold the hem to the line and fold again and pin.  Sew the hem all the way around.

To learn more, watch the video below:

 

Step #4 - Cutting the armholes and making the elastic casing

Fold the dress in half, so you can find the exact middle of the front of the dress.  Match the middle front to the seam in the back and fold together.  Using the correct size template, cut out the armhole.  Go to the machine and sew a 1/4" seam across the top of both the front and back of the dress.  Now using the craft stick again, place it against the stitch line and draw a line.  This time fold the dress on the line and stitch 1/4" from the upper edge.  Now using the stitch line as a guide, fold it under and stitch again.  Using a large safety pin, guide the elastic through the casing and sew each end.

Now you will take the other two pieces of elastic and sew them vertically to the armhole.

To learn more, watch the video below:

Step #5 - Sewing the shoulder straps

Press the strip of shoulder strap fabric in half.  Then open it up and press each side to the middle.  Then fold again creating about a one inch shoulder strap.  Sew the ends together creating a circle.  Pin the circle of fabric to the armholes and around the elastic for the shoulder straps.  Stitch, making sure you properly stitch through both sides.

To learn more, watch the video below: