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Layla's Summer Sundress

Layla’s Summer SunDress

Another one of my #StopPinningStartDoing projects I wrapped up a while back was an adorable Summer Sun-dress I made for my niece, little Layla. 

I had got the idea to make this dress from Felicity’s Sewing Pattern’s website, which I found while looking up baby dress patterns/tutorials on Pinterest.

I had in my fabric stash a couple of floral vintage style pieces that were a yard or less. Since the fabric wasn’t enough to do much with and I thought it was just adorable, I had set them aside to make some very cute outfits for Layla. 

Floral Vintage Fabric
Floral Vintage Fabric

When getting started on this particular project, I decided to go with the red, since I had the least amount of that. I think about 20″ by 45″ worth of fabric there, which I cut to 14″ by 45″ to make the dress.

The tutorial that I used to make this dress, the Zig Zag Shirring Tutorial was really meant for 1 to 6-year-old. However I decided that the same concept would work for Layla’s 4-month old size.

To make this dress all I really did was use the fabric length I had and then measure out the elastic shirring to fit Layla’s small 15″ waist/chest.

I started by pressing the top part of the dress over 1/4″ and then another 1/4″ for a total of 1/2″ top hem. I top stitched this in place. 

One of the reasons I decided to make this dress is because I wanted a chance to play around with shirring since I had never done it before. 

Sundress details
Sundress details

As the tutorial directed I used 1/8” wide woven, flat elastic and cut the 4 strips and marking it at 14-1/2″. Since Layla’s 15″ this 14-1/2″ benchmark would make sure that the elastic stretch a bit.

The elastic strips were to be sewn 5/8″ away from each other.  Instead of marking with a pencil I baste stitched my guide lines on to the dress. 

This was my first attempt and it was awful. The elastic wouldn’t lay flat and I kept sewing into the elastic.  My frustration also kept me from taking any decent photos of the process (sorry).

Anyways if my mother-in-law, Miss Linda,  hadn’t been there to instruct me I’d probably would have given up. Luckily I muddled through it and managed to finish the dress some how. 

I finished the dress by using a french seam to sew up the sides and making about a 1-1/2″ hem.

For making the straps I cut 10″ by 1″ strips and fold the strips 1/4″ in on both sides and then in 1/2″. I pressed the folded strips and top stitched them to create a 1/4″ strap. 

Instead of making the strap go all the way around I made four straps and set them up so they could be tied at the top. I figured this would be the best way to ensure that it fit little Layla. 

Strap details
Strap details

To tell the truth I’m not really happy with the dress. The shirring looks horrible. Oddly enough my sister @Fatebee actually like this dress the best, though it might because it’s her kind of style. 

Despite my issues I can say that I’m no longer leery of shirring a garment and might consider doing it again, but nothing on a grand scale as of yet. 

Regardless of my thoughts on the dress, little Layla looks great in the dress and the matching hair flower I made with the left over scraps. 

Layla in her Sun Dress
Layla in her Sun Dress

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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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