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30 mins

Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon
Idea and inspiration
This was completely inspired by a little girl we saw at the park who was wearing a pretty dress with a white top and coloured, tiered ruffles on the bottom. ‘I could make that,’ I thought. I imagined creating tiers of gorgeous vintage fabric . . . but then I acknowledged my limitations and settled on this easier option. I love this idea though, and we’ve since made quite a few of them.

You can make them any length—shorter dresses have been better since the little one started climbing like a monkey. Grown-up versions work too!

Instead of a T-shirt, you could use a singlet; you can also make this dress using a coloured or patterned top.

Posted by Murdoch Books Published See Murdoch Books's 75 projects » © 2020 Eliza Muldoon / Murdoch Books · Reproduced with permission. · Project taken from Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon by Eliza Muldoon (£12.99), published by Allen and Unwin.
  • How to sew a baby dress. Cheap Cheat’s Dress - Step 1
    Step 1

    First the preparation

    I put the T-shirt on Lotte and marked with pen where to cut it—I settled on a little higher than her belly button, then I cut it.

  • How to sew a baby dress. Cheap Cheat’s Dress - Step 2
    Step 2

    After cutting it, I folded the T-shirt in half sideways and put four pins in to make reference points, one on each side seam, one in the middle of the front and one in the middle of the back.

  • Step 3

    To determine the size of the vintage bottom fabric, I put the t-shirt back on her and measured the length from the cut t-shirt edge to her ankles (adding a seam allowance at the top and bottom)—this was 50 cm.
    To work out the width, I measured around the base of the T-shirt and added 20 cm. Make sure you jot down the measurements—I think I’ll remember them, but I usually don’t! Then I cut the fabric to size.

  • How to sew a baby dress. Cheap Cheat’s Dress - Step 4
    Step 4

    Now for the construction

    With right sides facing, I folded the vintage fabric in half widthways, and stitched a seam. I now had a tube of fabric. The seam that I just stitched will be centred at the back of the dress.

  • Step 5

    I folded the fabric in half, like I did with the T-shirt, and marked quarters in pencil—one on each side, one in the middle of the front and one in the seam at the middle of the back.

  • Step 6

    I slipped the trimmed, pinned T-shirt upside-down into the fabric so that the right sides of the T-shirt and fabric were together and the seam was in the centre at the back of the T-shirt.

  • Step 7

    One at a time, I matched the pinned T-shirt quarters with the marked fabric quarters and re-pinned them together. They were different sizes so it looked a bit wrong at this stage.

  • How to sew a baby dress. Cheap Cheat’s Dress - Step 8
    Step 8

    To sew them together, I put a couple of little basic straight stitches at the first pin and, holding both pieces just before the next pin, I stretched the T-shirt until it matched the fabric evenly and then sewed that whole quarter. I then continued to sew the next quarter in the same way, and so on.

  • Step 9

    To finish, I hemmed the bottom. (Though I only did this after I found out that you would see it!) I trimmed all the threads, turned the dress the right way out and I was done.
    Note: I would suggest using a suitable stitch for jersey fabric. I don’t though, and it always seems to work out.

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