Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tips for using the Nancy's Notions Pattern for Little Dresses for Africa

Hi everyone!
 I wanted to share a few tips on using my favorite pattern for making simple dresses for the Little Dresses for Africa Sew along. Nancy's Notions has the easiest pattern! And it's free!
click here for pattern!
  As a quilter I have lots of cotton yardage available so I prefer to use yardage instead of pillowcases. Yardage also makes it easy as you use the selvages for the back seam, so no raw edges to worry about!

You can find a full tutorial on the blog here: LDFA Tutorial. But here are a few tips that will speed things along!

On the Nancy's notions pattern you will find the armhole templates as pictured below.  Cut out these templates on the outer most ( XL) line.

Using a piece of thin cardboard, cardstock or plastic, trace around the outside edge of the XL size. Then trim down the pattern to the Large size and trace, then trim down to the Medium and trace and finally trim down to the Small and trace!

Now you have 4 armhole templates!

Find the cutting and sizing information on the pattern:

Write this information along with the elastic lengths and bias tape lengths on each of the 4 templates. Be sure to mark the fold line on the templates also. You can flip over the template for the opposite armhole so no need to make 2 templates of each size :

Now you have all the information handy on each template for each size dress! This really saves lots of time!

 The patterns calls for making a casing for the elastic for the front and back of the dress. I simply cut the length of elastic the required length according to the pattern and using a large or diaper pin I start threading it into the casing. When I get the end of the elastic even with the edge of the casing on the right, I go ahead and stay stitch it so it will not pull all the way through! (see where it is stitched on the right side) Then you can continue to pull the elastic all the way through the casing without the end of the elastic getting lost inside of the casing. Leave the gathers in the middle of the bodice, remove the safety pin and stay stitch the left side. REMEMBER : Leave the gathers in the middle of the bodice until AFTER you finish off the armholes with bias tape.

See how the gathers are away from the armhole making it easier to attach the bias tape.

I use my favorite Aurifil 40wt thread on the bias tape with a decorative stitch! It makes a really fun and cute addition to the simple dresses!

After you have attached the bias tape to both armholes you can evenly distribute the elastic with a gentle tug. Woohoo! Sew simple and fun!

Four down and 6 to go if I reach my goal of 10 Little Dresses! Wish me luck! I hope you will join in the fun and link up with a photo of  your little dresses July 1 thru 3rd!
Happy Stitching!
xo Jan


  1. Great tips! I wish I had the time to do some dresses! (My five year old grandson is here for a while...I can barely get the dishes washed!)

  2. Thank you for helping us along!!


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