Thank you to everyone who is excited about being part of this ministry. Jen, who originally wrote this post, is thrilled that there are mommies who want to show love to the little girls at CHOC and UCLA.
I am happy to be able to share my pattern with you. First things first: I just began following patterns, let alone creating them. I tried to be as detailed and specific as I could, but I am sure that the pattern is not perfect. Please don't hesitate to shoot me questions or simply improvise at home. Also, since I did take the time to make this pattern and share it with you, I beg your courtesy- please do not make this gown for a profit or mass production. Just make it to share with families who could use it. Thanks!
1. Print out these photos to cut your pattern. My pattern is sized for a little girl's 3-4, but the pattern is so simple that you can adjust it accordingly. The photos at the bottom are duplicates of the first photo so you can clearly see the measurements. If you can't print the photo, just roughly draw it yourself on newspaper with the measurements provided. Or, send it to Kinko's and they will print it off to scale. Whew. Let's start.
You will need about 1 yard of fabric for the bodice, and 1/4 yard for the sleeves and bottom ruffle. Seam allowance is 1/4 inch. I used only a straight stitch for all seams and hems.
The project will take about 1 hour. If you have toddlers, the project will take about three hours. Make sure you eat something during that time or your attitude will be similar to your toddler's. Please also make sure to feed your toddler.
2. Cut out your fabric. I use a fun print for the bodice and a contrasting fabric for the sleeves and bottom ruffle. I love ruffles.
3. Place the front and the back of the dress together and sew the shoulder seams. Make sure the right sides of both pieces are facing in. Then sew the sides of the dress together. Leave armholes open.
4. Turn the gown right-side out and press.
5. Iron a finished hem on the curved edge of each sleeve. Roll the raw edge twice and press so no raw edge is visible after sewing. I do this for most of my hems and seams.
6. Use a long straight stitch to prepare a ruffle on the sleeve. I set my length at 5.0, up from the standard 2.5. Then pull one thread gently to create a ruffle effect. Make sure the length of the sleeve matches the length of the armhole.
7. Pin the sleeve to the gown. The raw edges will touch. The wrong side of the sleeve must match up with the right side of the gown.
8. Sew your sleeve onto the gown, slightly overlapping the ends of the sleeve.
9. Press. You can sew an extra hemstitch around the sleeve to finish if you want. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.
10. Find the middle of the back of the gown and cut straight down the back, from the neck to the bottom. Make sure your cut is as straight as possible.
11. Iron a hem into the neck and the sides, but not the bottom. Turn as little of the fabric as possible over 2x so that no raw edges show. Sew your hems.
12. Sew both pieces of your bottom ruffle together. Press open. Iron a hidden hem and sew the hem. Using a long length straight stitch, sew a straight line across the other horizon of your ruffle. Gently pull either the top or bottom thread to create a ruffle. Make sure the top of your ruffle is the same length as the bottom of your gown. Don't get frustrated if this does not work the first time. Soon you will be a ruffle pro!
13. Pin and sew your ruffle onto the bottom of the gown. As with the sleeves, the raw edges will be together. The ruffle's wrong side will be edged against the gown's right side. Press when finished so that the inside seam is ironed down towards the bottom of the gown. You will be making a finishing hem next. You want to catch the inside seam with your next stitch.
14. Sew a finishing stitch 1/4 inch from the seam that joins the gown with the ruffle.
15. Using a buttonhole foot, make a buttonhole about 1/2 inch from the top and side of one side of the gown. My button was about 1/2 inch in diameter.
16. Match your button to the other side of the gown and sew on, either by hand or with a machine.
Thanks for trying out my pattern! I pray that many of these gowns are put to good use. Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions to make this pattern better.
Feel free to forward my pattern to anyone who you think would enjoy it. Stay updated for an address where you can send your gowns.