Friday, September 17, 2010

Planner and Procrastinator Guest Post

Jess from the Planner and the Procrastinator (a great blog you should absolutely check out!) made THE cutest dress to share with us. I LOVE the back. Make sure to scroll down and look at that part it is the cutest detail. I am definitely making Evie one when I get home. Jess even provides the pattern pieces which you can find HERE. Enjoy! And remember to post your pics to the filkr group if you get a chance! Also read to the bottom for a brief aside from me. Now Jess:

I am SO excited to be guest posting for Kelly this week! And I am kinda secretly jealous..shh! that she gets to go to Rome and Egypt. I mean WOW! What a fun and amazing trip!

Hailey insisted that Bailey our dog be in the pic!
Lets jump right in! Let me start by saying this tutorial is LONG but by no means is it difficult or even really time consuming...I had it done in about a day (which for me equates to about an 1 hour of cutting, 3 hours of sewing time - 2 hours at nap time and 1 hour after bedtime finishing it up).

This makes approximately a 4t sized dress. Want to make it bigger? Smaller? Add or subtract approximately 1/4" for each size up or down. If you need help calculating feel free to shoot me an email and I'll be happy to help you figure it out!

Materials List:
1 used mens dress Shirt
1/2 yard of tulle (cut into 4, 4" strips)
1 package of double fold bias tape in coordinating color
10" strip of 1" elastic
1/3 yards of coordinating fabric (I used red knit)
1/2 yard of fabric for underskirt (I used leftover white knit)
1/2 yard coordinating cotton for the bodice (either solid or small print)

First print out your pattern pieces and cut all pattern pieces. Once you have cut 2 bodice pieces cut out of the cotton. And one bib piece cut from your dress shirt. You will also need to cut the rest of the square or rectangular pieces.

Here is a cut list:
2 -15 1/2 x 3 1/2 -back bodice pieces (I used white cotton w/tiny white polka dots)
13 x 36 (or 44") -underskirt piece (white knit)
2 -1 1/2 x 3 1/2 -strap loops (red knit)
2 -15 3/4 x 2" -straps (red knit)
4 - 4" strips of tulle

I used this mens dress shirt that my hubby had tossed into the donate pile because the collar and cuffs had started to fray.

I like to do the straps and bib first so that when I get to assembling all my pieces are ready to go.

So cut your 2, 15 3/4 x 2" strips of your coordinating fabric (I used red jersey because that is what I had but you could definitely use cotton).

Fold them in half long ways and press a crease.

Open up the crease and fold in about 1/4 inch on each side toward the middle crease and press each side down. Press one short side down about 1/4 inch then fold back in half and top stitch around all creased edges. So 2 long edges and 1 short edge. The other short edge we will stick into the bodice so it doesn't need to be finished. Set these aside for later.

Now lets make the bib! I cut my bib out of the top portion (as close as you can get to the colar) of the dress shirt using the buttons as my center line. Also cut out a strip of your coordinating fabric (again I used the red knit) and ruffle it up real tight! I made mine about an inch but if you like more ruffle make yours a bit wider! If you didn't use a knit for your coordinating fabric you will need to hem or serge the edges of this piece. Since I used a knit it wont unravel! Yeah for short cuts!

Pin the ruffle right sides together starting about a 1/2" down from the top to your bib and ending about a 1/2" down from the top (this will cut down on he bulk in that seam later me!) and stitch down making sure to stitch just past your gathering stitch (so it doesn't show through on the front). Then press your ruffles right side out and set aside.

Take one of your bodice pieces and lay your ruffled bib on it making sure it is centered.

Topstitch around the edge of the bib as close to the crease as possible. I used a zipper foot just so I could be sure I was good and close! Set aside.

Now take the other front bodice pieces and lay it out right side up. Place your straps just over 1/2 inch in from the armpit line, pin in place and machine baste down.

Take your other front bodice piece (now with the bib attached) and lay it right sides together directly on top of the piece you just attached the straps to. Stitch around the armpit, across the neckline and back down the other armpit using 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave the 2 straight short sides and bottom straight side open.

Snip into your seam allowance around the armpit curved line about ever 1/4 - 1/2 inch making sure not to snip your actual seam. Clip your corners and trim your top seam allowance. Turn right side out and press all seams so they look crisp!

Lets work on the back bodice. It is super simple!

Start with the strap loops. Cut two little rectangles 1 1/2 x 3 1/2" and press a center crease. Fold each long side in about 1/4 inch and press. Just like the straps. Fold back down the middle and top stitch along the open edge.

Take one back bodice piece (15 1/2 x 3 1/2" times 2) and position each little back strap about 6" in from each edge, pin down, and machine baste.

Now take the other back bodice piece and place it right sides together with the other back bodice piece. Stitch across the top using 1/2 seam allowance. Fold right sides out and press.

Mark a line just over 1 inch from the top edge of the back bodice and stitch over the line. This will create a casing for the elastic in the back.

Take your elastic and feed it through one side using a safety pin. Stitch one side down. Then pull the end of the elastic so that you can stitch the other side down. Tada! Now your back bodice is complete.

Lets attach the two bodice pieces now! Keep your back bodice piece right side out. Turn your front bodice piece wrong side out. Place the front bodice piece over the back bodice piece so that it is sandwiched in between the two layers of the front bodice. make sure the raw edges match up and wiggle that back bodice in there tight so that it butts right up agains that bottom armpit stitch line. Pin down the two short sides, stitch down and turn right side out.

Set it aside for later when we are ready to attach the skirt!

Now for the skirt. We'll start with the top skirt. Cut your dress shirt from arm pit to armpit and even out the bottom so that it is straight.

I then cut the middle button down part off of it and stitched it together.

I serged the bottom edge then ironed about an inch under and then topstitched it twice about a 1/4 inch apart.

I just used the edge of my presser foot as a guideline.

Once the bottom is hemmed gather the top to match up with the bottom of the bodice. Place right sides together and stitch it down.

The underskirt is totally optional but I wanted to give the skirt some more movement and fullness.

SO I cut a piece of leftover white jersey knit, then stitched the shorter sides together and gathered the top. I cut it about an inch shorter than the outer skirt (which turned out to be about 13").

Then I grabbed some white tulle that I plucked out of the remnants bin a while back. I cut it in 4" strips. Sew these strips short sides together to total about 4 yards.

Then stitch the double fold bias tape to the bottom of the tulle to give it a nice finished look (again totally optional) and so it isn't itchy. Gather up the tulle strip to match up with the length of the jersey underskirt and stitch it down. Then press right side out and topstitch it down.

Finally put it over the top skirt right sides together and stitch it to the bodice.

Turn the skirt out and topstitch all the way around.

Last step I promise! Replace the boring old white buttons with some fun buttons! I chose red sparkle buttons from my stash. I replaced the two buttons that were there and added one in the middle because 3 just looks a little more fun!

Finally pop it on your little pumpkin and watch their little face light up! This is meant for a "fall/winter" dress for us. Being as we probably wont get below 50 degrees this winter, if that. We will put a long sleeved shirt under it with some tights and boots or converse! OR totally a summer dress with or without the cap sleeved undershirt and some little flip flops!

Look Mom! It twirls!! :)

Great for sitting on the front steps!

Or snuggling with your best friend!
Hailey told me later on that, "This could definitely be an every day dress, Mom. It is comfy and I can play with Bailey." I think she likes it! Yeah!

Like this tutorial? Want to see more of our fun projects? Head on over and check out our blog The Planner and The Procrastinator! See ya soon!

Thanks Kelly for having us! Have a wonderful trip!

Love and Hugs, Jess

Thank you Jessica! I LOVE it! I think I am going to do one in Fall colors, even if my hemisphere does say it is spring :)

Stop Photography
I love the idea of Stop Photography. It is painfully time consuming and takes such talent. My husband knowing me all to well showed me THIS and I fell in love. Wouldn't it be so cool to do something like that? It took 2,096 pictures, 48 hours of shooting and over 9 weeks of story boarding, choreographing etc. It is amazing and totally worth a look, especially if you love photography. You can google it at You Tube: Her Morning Elegance


  1. Beautiful!!
    So cute! i am kinda stalking your blog lately...i love it.

  2. YEAH! Woke up this am to find this! So exciting! Thanks so much for inviting me Kelly! Have a fun trip!

  3. Awesome job Jess! You are so good :)

  4. oh my gosh this is so darling...

  5. This is SO cute! I love the front! What a great guest post, I'll be linking.


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