Hey sewists! Today, Niki Meiners from 365 Days of Crafts is here to show us two free dress patterns for preschoolers. If you’re looking to learn how to sew a dress for the little ones in your life but are on a budget, don’t worry – these easy dress patterns can be fashioned from an old men’s shirt from your husband’s closet. They’re so cute and easy to make, so read on for the tutorial!
In this tutorial, the Men’s Shirt Size is XL and the dresses were made for a kid’s Size 5
Dip Dyed Tuxedo Halter Dress
1. Choose a Men’s dress shirt. For this tutorial, we chose a size XL.
2. After dip dyeing the shirt–find out how to dip dye here–I washed and ironed it.
3. Removed the shirt pocket with seam ripper. Keep the front buttons in-tact.
4. Trim off sleeves and remove the collar portion of the shirt as close to the sewn edge as possible.
5. Smooth out the fabric. Use a disappearing ink marker and draw a straight line across the front of the fabric. This will be the collar.
6. Create a gentle curve to transition from the neck to the back. Repeat step 5 for the back. (I used my daughter as a pattern. It was approximately 6 inches off the back fabric.) Save the excess fabric to form the straps.
To make the front of the dress. Press the fabric over ¼” and then repeat and press. Sew the edges to create a seam using an ⅛” seam allowance. Gather the fabric in pleats using the same increments on each side of the center.
Use the excess fabric to create the ties for the halter and for the tuxedo ruffle. Cut 3 even sections of fabric approximately 2.5”x 12 inches. Press the long side of the fabric over ¼” and then repeat on the opposite side and press to form strips. Fold in half and press again. All raw edges should be on the inside now. Sew along the edge using an ⅛” seam allowance.
Sew two of these strips to the top of the halter to form ties. Sew the raw edges closed.
Cut the reamaining strip in half and sew edges closed. Pleate the fabric and pin on each side of the button side of the shirt. ( as seen in image 5)
For the remaining edges of raw fabric – Press the fabric over ¼” and then repeat and press. Sew the edges to create a seam using an ⅛” seam allowance.
In the back of the dress – ather the fabric in pleats using the same increments on each side of the center. The sides are not pleated.
Peasant Dress with Applique
1. Removed the shirt pocket with seam ripper. Keep the front buttons in-tact.
2. Use another dress as a pattern and trim around the dress.
3. You will cut the front and back of the dress at the same time; they are the same pattern piece. Cut out the Dress front and back. Leave the length of the dress un-cut until the very end, when you can try it on for size.
4. Start sewing With right sides of the fabric together and sew with a 1/4 “ or ½” seam allowance. (Make sure you use the same seam allowance on the entire project) I did not make separate sleeves I made one seamless dress.
5. With right sides of the dress front and back together, pin the dress together on both sides, from the end of each sleeve all the way down the sides of the dress:
6. If you have a Serger, finish off all your seams, by serging each one. If you do not, a zig zag stitch will also work.
7. To create a finished edge around the neck -fold the fabric over 1/4 inch all the way around the area and press, and then fold it over again and press to create a casing for the elastic. (so there are no raw edges)
8. Pin the neck all the way around, making sure when you sew it down that you leave an opening for the elastic to go in and to come out. I did not sew across the buttoned area.
9. Thread elastic through the neck casing with a safety pin. Attach a safety pin the end of your elastic. Thread the elastic on safety pin several times, to avoid the skinny elastic ripping free.
10. My daughter is tall, so I did not need to create a new hem line. You might need to do so depending on the height of your child and the size of the shirt.
To apply the applique:
- Cut a section of fusible web for each layer of your appliqué design. Remove one side of the backing from your fusible web sections. With the wrong side of your material facing up, apply the fusible web to the material. Set the iron to a cotton setting with no steam.
- Run the fabric pieces through the die cut machine or draw your images on the back of the webbing and cut out with scissors.
- Carefully press these pieces to affix them to your garment.
- Use a blanket stitch with floss to embellish.
Helpful Tips For This Project:
Tip #1: Be careful not to drag your iron across your design, as this could cause your applique design pieces to shift. Instead, lift the iron up and then place it down onto the next section of your design as you work.
Tip #2: Do not worry if your lines are not straight or your corners are not perfect. They add to the uniqueness of the project.
Niki Meiners is an artist, writer, Creative Director and Style Maker. She is a lover of the old and fond of the new. You can check out her website, 365 Days of Crafts, in order to find out more about her!