Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sew Simple Saturday Link Up Party!


   Welcome to the March 2016 Sew Simple Saturday Link up Party! Sew Simple Saturday is a monthly link up where we can share our helpful hints, tips and tutorials!

  Since I recently announced the Little Dresses for Africa Sew Along and upcoming Linky Party to be held May 7th, I thought I would share a short tutorial on making theses simple dresses from yardage instead of pillowcases.. There are several patterns available for making these dresses.  I LOVE this pattern from Nancy Notions and this is the one we will be using today!

  Let's get started:

1. Print the yardage pattern :

2.   Choose good quality quilting weight cotton.  These dresses have to last and get washed ALOT! This will probably be the ONLY dress that each girl may own.  Also try to choose fabric that is not see thru and I do like to pre-wash my fabrics.

3. You will also need:
1/4" elastic
Double fold Bias Tape, or make your own
Matching Aurifil thread - I like to use 50 wt or 40 wt.
A few cardboard scraps or template plastic

4. Cut out the  Armhole template on the largest size. Trace around it onto the cardboard or template plastic. Make one.
Then trim down to the next size and make that template, then trim down to the next size and make that template and finally make the smallest one. This way you only have to print the pattern once but can still have all 4 size templates. Since I make these Dresses each year, I like to write the sizes and measurements on each template plus the sizes for the  elastic, bias tape and Dress sizes.

5. The Dresses are sized based on the length. Decide which size you are making and cut that length of fabric.
Place right sides together with selvages together. Sew inside of the selvage lines making sure to include the pin hole area.

Press seam open and  stitch down this selvage seam about and inch or so on the top. . It makes it easier to run the elastic thru the casing.

Center the selvage seam on the back of the dress and press. Trace around the appropriate Armhole template. Flip it over for the other side.

Cut out armholes.

For the elastic casing, turn under 1/4" and then 1/2" on the front and back top edges. Stitch down

Refer to the pattern and cut the appropriate length of 1/4" wide elastic. I like to use a Safety pin to feed the elastic part way through the casing. I stop feeding the elastic when the end of the elastic reaches the other end of the casing. I go ahead and stitch that end of the elastic down to the dress so that it does not pull all the way through the casing. I backstitch several times to hold it in place.

Then I continue pulling the elastic through to the other end, remove the safety pin and stitch that end down. I leave the fabric gathered in the middle to make it easier to attach the bias tape on the armholes.

Referring to the pattern for length , measure and cut two pieces of 1/2" Double Fold Bias tape. Unfold each end, turn under a 1/4" on each end and hem. Refold.

   Normally to attach Bias tape you would unfold it, sew one side down, fold it back over and top stitch. However, I like to use a Decorative stitch on the Bias Tape Ties.
 Take one piece of the Bias Tape and fold it in half, finger press. Line up this fold with the side crease on the dress. That centers the Bias tape so each end will be even when tying the dress. Make sure you have the bias tape all the way against the edge of the armhole. I use Alligator clips to hold it in place while I sew.

Choose a pretty decorative stitch. I also used a contrasting Aurifil 50 wt thread.

Attach the other Bias tape to the other side using the same method.  To evenly distribute the gathers in the front and back, hold each side of the dress where the ties meet the armholes, tug and release.

To hem: The pattern says to turn under 1/4", then 1/2" and edgestitch. I usually make my hems a little wider.

And now you are finished! You could also add pockets, ric- rac, applique etc.. I tend not to embellish.

I think it turned out really cute. I love this fabric by Dear Stella. It is a really nice quilting weight cotton.  And I purchased it on sale for only $3.00 a yard! All throughout the year I watch for suitable fabric that would make a cute little dress. Also don't be afraid to ask your favorite quilt shop for a fabric donation.
  I recently placed an order with a new to me company , Rocking Chair Quilts.  I mentioned in the order comments that one of the yardages that I had on order was for Little Dresses for Africa and I would need the piece in a full continuous piece. I received an email the next morning saying that they would love to donate a couple of yards of fabric for me to make dresses! Woohoo!  I quickly responded how wonderful any donation would be and gave them a link to my blog and LDFA so they could feel confident in their donations.  I received the fabric along with my order today!

These will make really cute dresses. I certainly appreciate their generosity! And I love my order too. They have great Sales!  If you have an opportunity be sure to check out their shop and you can also find them on facebook! 
  I hope ya'll enjoyed my little tutorial. The linky party for the Little Dresses for Africa Sew along will be May 7th , so you still have plenty of time to get those dresses made.

This months Sew Simple Saturday linky Party is being sponsored by AurifilThe Fat Quarter Shop and Featherweight Quilt Company! Do you have a tip, technique or tutorial that you would like to share. If so, follow the Linky Tools below to link up and be entered into the chance to win one of 3 prizes.
One lucky participant will win this beautiful 10 Spools Collection of Aurifil 40wt threads:

Another participant will win a Gift Certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop!

And a third person will win a cute 84 pc Hexagon Kit from Featherweight Quilt Company!

Woohoo! So you have a chance to win one of three prizes!!

Here are a few tips and guidelines!

1. Using the Linky tool below,  link to your blog post or face book post.
2. Be sure your face book post is set to public so we can all see it.
3. Be sure to link to your actual blog/facebook post not your blog/facebook homepage. We want to be able to find your Sew Simple link!
4.Please post the Sew Simple Saturday Button ( the button and HTML code are on the right sidebar of this blog)  somewhere on your blog OR include the text link in your post. It helps to spread the word. The more people that link up, the more fun and encouragement we will receive! And please SHARE!!!
5.Visit as many of the other link ups as possible. Everyone loves to gain feedback on their hard work. And be sure and spread the comment love far and wide!
6. Following my blog is not a requirement, but it is greatly appreciated, plus you won't miss a thing!
7. Be sure and stop by our sponsors , Aurifil  and Fat Quarter Shop, and let them know how much you appreciate their continued support and giveaways! They are the most awesome companies that truly love our community!

The Link-up will be available Saturday March 5th through 10:00 pm EST Sunday March 6th!

Please stop by and visit as many people as you can! And leave them some comment love!  Who knows what neat idea or tip you may come across!
Now,  Let's make some friends and let's PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And don't forget to be working on those Little Dresses for Africa. We will have some fabulous rpizes for that Linky Party on May 7th! 
xo jan


  1. Your dress fabric is adorable. cute cute cute!

  2. THANK YOU for sharing a cute project today! THANK YOU for the Linky too!Love your Blog+happy to follow you via gmail!
    THANK YOU'S to Aurifil+FQS too!

  3. What a great tutorial. I love that the fabric shop donated such fun fabric for you!

  4. Great tutorial! And Yaay I finally had a tip I could link up with!

  5. Jan it's a fabulous tutorial. I want to give it a try! Thank you for hosting the linky party and giveaway each month too -- xo... Karen

  6. I enjoy following your blog and reading these handy tips & tutorials. I finally figured out how to share one myself about a handy tool that I use!


Hey yall!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today! Your words mean so much to me. Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment and if you have a blog, feel free to grab a tractor button from the sidebar and plow along with me! Ain't no tellin what we'll get in to.
xo jan