Friday, April 2, 2010

Sundress/Top tutorial

This is my first tutorial so bear with me ladies :) A lot of tutorials take for grantid that the reader has a general grasp on all sewing lingo and techniques, I am going with a teach you from scratch approach. This will be a bit long but I know that anyone can do this!
I just finished this little sun top for my daughter Paige
It is pretty easy once you get the hang of it and the same technique can be used to make so many more dresses and tops.
Measure your child around their chest then add 10" to that. Choose how long you want it to be,and if you are wanting a top or a dress. Measure just above the arm pit to where you want it to end. Then add 2" for hemming.
Example: Paige's chest is 23" around, and I wanted this to be a long top so from chest to hem 18" long.
So I will need a piece of fabric 33"w x 20"h

Cut 2 strips of fabric 12" by 4" and set them aside, these will be for your straps

Next at the top of the fabric on the wider edge fold over 1/2" and iron it to give youself a nice straight edge

Then fold over 1/2" again, now you have your hem, stitch it straight across
Now is where it looks difficult but is really not. Using elastic shirring thread (from any craft store), hand wind a bobbin, use a little tension when wrapping but do not stretch too much, then load into the bobbin casing in the machine as you would your normal bottom thread.
use your presser foot as a measuring guide and start your stitch about 1/2" from your hem stritching with the fabric nice side up, be sure to lock your stitch (backtrack over the end of your stitches)  when you start and end a row. Do not cut the access elastic thread after each row leave appx 2" at either end.
You can do as many rows as you want, the more rows the tighter it will be, I normally do 5-7 rows. On this top, 5 was plenty.
Are you ready for some magic?
Take your iron on stream setting and iron your stitching now with the nice side up.
The elastic shrinks up and you now have a stretchy top!
flip it over and run a stitch (or 2) across the ends of your rows to secure the elastic. (you will thank me after you wash this a 20 times and it still looks great!)
now you can cut the access. Do not stretch the thread when you cut or it will dissapear into the fabric.
Now bring the 2 edges together, nice side on the inside so that the top looks "inside out"
Run a stitch down the edge, this is now the back seam.
Turn right side out and this is what you should have.
Repeat the hem ironing process on the bottom of the dress that you used for the top then stitch.

For the straps, fold the strips in half with the nice sides together and run a stitch down the edge.Turn right side out, put the seam in the center, then iron
I prefer to try the top/dress on my child so I know it will fit perfectly before adding the straps. If you are worried about poking them you can use safety pins instead of straight pins.

once you have them pinned exactly where you want them, leave them pinned, slip off of your little girl and stich them in place. Go over the strap 2-3 times to ensure it will not fall off when they are playing.
Voila! You made a Summer top / Sundress!

Well ladies how did I do for my first tutorial?


  1. Love the cute top, im sending you an award so check out my blog.

  2. great job Jeni...You know I couldnt do something like this even though it sounds so easy


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