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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bitty Baby Vintage Dress Tutorial

As promised, here is the tutorial for the vintage Bitty Baby dress. Because half the dress is already made; (I have used a pillowcase part of my Op Shop challenge) you won't find here how to make ruffle etc ... but I am SURE you have an old pillowcase, a forgotten dress or skirt, that has already done the job for you.

For the bodice:
You'll need a 15"x 16" rectangle
I have used a placemat (also part of my Op Shop challenge). First I"ve carefully separated the two layers, to make the most of the nice fabric. (The second rectangle will be used to make the bonnet).

The bodice piece looks like this:

Now, don't be put off by having to draw your own pattern; with a model and a little guidance, you will do this easily.

Let's have a look when folded in half:

side view
Remember, each square on the blue mat represents 1". Fold your rectangle in half and start with a broader shape (red outline) then draw and cut out the curves. Don't worry too much about getting the "pointy ears" (=ties) exactly as mine; since they will be tied up, it does not need to be an exact science.
I knew you could do it!

Pinned your bodice pattern onto your fabric and cut Two.
I wanted to make the most of the nice placemat border so I carefully positioned my first piece before cutting.

And did the same for the second one. You should now have two pieces like this:

Overlock or zig-zag stitch bottom edge of each piece.

With Right Sides together, stitch along sides starting at about 1" from overlocked/zigzag bottom edge, then all along top (all along those funny ears = shoulder ties)

Because the dress opens on both shoulders, I first thought this would be a wide enough opening to slide it on and off.
Half way through, I realised it might be awkward for Mia's little hands. That's why you can see on the back opening of my dress a not so pretty overlocked seam. Because you are sewing the sides together in the above step, you will have a much neater finish. Lucky you! Remember to leave a 1" space before starting to sew the sides. This will help later on when "sandwiching" the skirt between the bodice pieces.

Time to flip over, press and top stitch along sides starting at 1" above bottom edge and along top. (do not top stitch bottom edge).

You now have a completed bodice. Bravo!

The skirt:

You will need a 24" wide x 6" tall (including ruffle) rectangle.
Overlock or Zig-zag stitch the 6"sides.

The vintage pillowcase had a few tiny holes. So I cut different sizes and shapes patches,

pinned them on,

And zig-zag stitched them, (adjusting zig-zag stitch lenght and width to small)

Without holes in the pillowcase, I'm not sure if I would have had the idea to stitch patches on but I love the result! It's up to you to add them or not, holes or no holes!

Time to gather:
setting your machine on the largest straight stitch, stitch a first line at 1/4" from raw edge without reverse stitching on either ends. In the same manner, stitch a second line 1/4" below the first. Pulling one of the thread on each side, adjust the gathering to match width of bodice.

With Right Sides together, pin skirt to front bodice layer and stitch just below second gathering line.
Turn over and press back of bodice over like so:

Inside view

Outside view

The gathering is neatly sandwiched between the two layers of bodice. Top stitch on the front
, making sure the back piece is nicely aligned. Stitching (the back bodice) from the front will ensure you have the neatest line of stitches showing.

Finish Top stiching bodice sides, tucking in raw edges. All you need to do now is closing the dress at the back. With Right Sides together, bring overlocked edges together and stitch along, stopping at begining of bodice.

The dress was somewhat too pretty for velcro, so I've used a small hook instead.

Et voila!

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