I call this tutorial my "Ruffleump" costume because I was trying to think of what I wanted to dress my baby girl and her brother for our fall festivities in October! :) The circus came to mind and I thought my boy could be some sort of circus animal trainer or ringmaster and baby girl could be an animal! I LOOOOOVE ruffles so of course I had to include lots! And then "elephant" and Winnie the Pooh's "Huffalump" came to mind and I thought that would be the perfect word to morph with "ruffle".......and there you have my etymology of the word - "Ruffleump!" LOL!
I envisioned a dress with ruffles on the sleeves and a back with layers of ruffles. To design I thought kind of an a-line would work best. I saw a dress on SewSet that helped my inspiration! Below you'll see how I drew my pattern out on paper. The piece on the left is the front, the little triangle type piece up top is the sleeve, the long triangle and other piece are how I designed the back to have the ruffle layer openings.
I then cut 8 long strips to gather and pin as ruffles on the back
Here you'll see everything cut out (minus the ruffle strips) for the dress. You'll see that the front was cut on the fold, the sleeves were cut on the fold, the center back was cut on the fold and the other back pieces were cut to make 2. I also cut the center back a little shorter - there may be better ways to piece a dress like this together. Since I didn't want to button on the shoulder I needed to have room in the back to put a loop button closure. There are probably a million better ways that experienced seamstresses will do this - I'm a self-taught mama who likes to wing it! lol!
STEP SIX - attach shoulder seams and side seams. I have a serger to finish the raw edges but you can finish them any way you like - french seams, pinking shears, zig zag stitch, etc.
STEP NINE - this is a long process. You'll need to use bias tape to finish the armholes and neck hole on the dress. There are a TON of tutorials out there how to do it and practice makes perfect! For this project I ended up just ironing the creases in my fabric to make bias tape but I do like using my bias tape maker tool. I've included several pictures of what the armholes and neck look like during this process.
STEP TEN - hem the bottom of your dress and add a button and loop!!! You can add all the embellishments you want now - applique, embroidery, etc! For my little girl, this cute elephant hat will be the perfect finishing touch as we attend our costume parties this fall! :)
Thank you for checking out my tutorial and I hope this will springboard into other cute dresses for your little girls!