Monday, July 5, 2010

Baby Tuxedo Dress Tutorial

UPDATE: My tutorial was featured on U Create!!! How great is that! Thank you so much Kari :)
I originally wanted to make this dress for myself as a birthday dress, but I don't have enough of any cute fabric for me, so Genevieve gets a cute dress for moms birthday! It may look daunting but is SOOOOOO easy I promise. Just be patient and remember you are working with fabric so a little stretching or pulling goes a long way. Also a lot of this tutorial is arbitrary, if you would like defined measurements etc. you should probably pass on it and stick to patterns. (ew that sounded brattier then I meant it...sorry)
The Materials you need:
A onsie or, for a bigger girl, a plain colored shirt that match's your fabric. Either long or short sleeve works fine.
1/2 yard of cute fabric
2 coordinating fabrics with 1/3 yard of each (just long strips of whatever fabric you think complements the main fabric.)
Fabric for the center tuxedo portion or the button section cut from some other outfit you decided is so far gone you might as well cut it up
Coordinating buttons
light weight fusible interfacing (just a little square)
Sewing machine
OPTIONAL: Ribbon or string for drawstring waist
Not optional: Some good tunes to listen to while sewing.
(I am a visual learner so pictures will come first in my tutorials. If you get what is happening you can probably skip the explanation)

Cut off Snaps from onsie to make a long shirt. I also want 3/4 sleeves so I cute some of the arm off.
Cut your strips keeping in mind that you will need less fabric for the inside ruffles. How much fabric should you cut? That depends how ruffled you want your tuxedo top to be. To be completely honest I think I went a little over board on Abby's ruffles. The strips are super wide (2inchs) and were really long so the ruffles would be thick. They sometimes stick so far up she can suck on them and makes this face when they tickle her:
It is up to you and how funky you want it to be. I probably will scale it back for the shirt I am going to make her tonight. ANYWAY,
This next step is optional since the ends will be hidden when they are sewn onto the shirt but I am a bit neurotic about unfinished edges so I hemmed up the ends of my strips.
Now using your shirring setting gather up those bad boys leaving a long tail of thread at the end. (If you need to learn to shirr you can read THIS, it is a very useful thing to know how to do) If you want the ruffles to be bigger just grab one piece of thread at the end and tug on it. Push along the gather and repeat until you have it as ruffly as you want.
There you have it a lovely pile of ruffles. At this point I decided that I should probably use some interfacing since my ruffles were MASSIVE and a onsie is pretty flimsy material. I only have heavy interfacing which is a bummer because it makes the shirt really stiff. I didn't snap a pick because i was so side tracked thinking of all the sewing stuff I totally forgot to bring to timbuck too. I just cut bib shape piece of interfacing that would cover where my ruffles are going to be placed. Then you can follow the instructions on your particular interfacing to attach it on the wrong side of the shirt right where you will be attaching your ruffles.
Now the fun part Take which ever ruffle you would like to be seen the least and starting at the top of the left side pin it to the shirt. Proceed to make a "U" shape, pinning where you feel necessary.
I pinned at the "corners". Make sure at the top, the fabric goes up and over the neck so it is hidden. Sew the ruffle on. I chose the selvage part of my brown fabric because I thought it added a fun texture. (because this outfit isn't busy enough right?)
Follow the same steps with your second length of ruffle. Laying it just slightly inside your first ruffle. Then repeat again with your third ruffles until your shirt looks something like this:
Step 9:
(I finally got the pic to upload ha! I have defeated you again cruddy internet!)
Now grab the material you set aside for the "tuxedo" section. Out of it you will cut 2 rectangles. Both need to be the length from the neck line to the bottom of the "u" of ruffles you created. One needs to be wider then the gap from inside ruffle to inside ruffle. Essentially you are cutting a rectangle that will fill in the gap. The second piece needs to be less wide as the first but the same length. Hem up the sides of both rectangles. Now this is optional but I decided on the second smaller piece to use the side that the seam was on to make it look more tuxedoey. That is totally your choice. I then attached the smaller rectangle to the larger making sure it was nice and centered. Then you can attach the number of buttons you think looks good, I know the picture shows 5 but in the end I went with 3, I just thought it looked better.
Before you attach the tuxedo to the shirt I would hem up the bottom edge. You could do this while attaching it if you are super sewer and don't like lots of lines of thread, but who really notices right and it makes attaching it easier. Which, when you are dealing with a mountain of ruffles, is a nice thing.
That is how your dress should not look! Woo hoo You are done with the hard part! Now for the skirt. This again depends on how long you want it to be on your bubs and how fluffy. I wanted mine to go just to Abby's knees so I cut a long rectangle with enough length to hem and it would be to her knee. I cut it to be 2 and a half the lengths of the front of the onsie. Once I hemmed it up I shirred the top again leaving a tail so I could adjust.
I laid it on the bottom of the onsie to make sure it it fit and made any necessary adjustments. This is where you can do one of two things. I will first go over if you want a gathered waist.
Place the "skirt" and "top" right sides together, leaving about a half an inch of onsie fabric hanging blow the skirt. Pin the skirt and then sew around. Once you have done this turn the entire dress inside out and sew the edge of the little "lip" of onsie to the wrong side of your skirt. Now when you flip in right side out you will have a little pocket to feed a ribbon or string or whatever you like through. Just make a a little hole in the seam you just sewed and feed through the ribbon attached to a safety pin. If you think that is to much (which I did AFTER making the pocket) then you simply line up right sides together and sew around. I would highly recommend zig zag stitching or surging this portion so it doesn't fall apart in the wash.
TADDAH! Woo hoo you are done! (you can see my little pocket if you look closely) I like using a onsie because it makes getting it on and off her head so easy :) Which is good because this little chica is on the move! She took six steps yesterday wow!
If you end up making one I would LOVE to see it so send me some pics or your link. Have fun and get creative, guaranteed if you live anywhere near a fabric store you will end up making a cuter one then mine, but you gotta use what you have right?
P.S. My friend Elizabeth found the website We Love Colors where I purchased Evie's leggings. I love them because they are nylonish so she isn't sweating bullets but is protected from the mosquitoes. They are nice and stretchy and she has been wearing them for 6 months now! The only draw back is the Velcro on her cloth diapers has made them snag a few times, bummers. Have I sold you on them yet ha! Happy sewing, hope your daughter looks dapper!


  1. Such a cute tutorial! Thank you for sharing!! I have a question...I really really want some leggings for my little girl so I went to that site but couldn't find any for little girls...just big girls...did you buy the ones for women and they fit her?

  2. visiting from u create!! THIS IS AMAZING!! i'm new to sewing but I think this just might be doable!! thanks so much for sharing!! I love it!

  3. @Amy I went also and found the page with the little girl leggings that little Abby is wearing. Here is the link that will take you right to them. They are calling them "Footless Tights" and they start with sizes as small as 6-12 months. Hope this helps.

  4. I was totally inspired by this dress today and came up with my own version for my 4 year old :) I linked up! Thanks!


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