Making a dress for my daughter to wear on Valentine’s Day has been on my “list”. I wanted it to be Valentine-ish, but not “scream” Valentine’s Day. That way, she could wear it any any time…
Anyway, I digress… I used that pattern, with just a couple of tweaks to make this adorable knot dress for Valentine’s day. I widened the bodice a tiny bit to make room for the knot button holes and sized it up, since she has grown a bit from last year.
Even though I was taking photos and doing other mom stuff throughout the sewing process, I still finished this dress in 3/4 of a day.
I took photos along the way so I could share the directions for how to make a knot dress. The construction of this dress is very similar to my halter dress as well and is very simple.
If you do want a fuller skirt, I will include measurements in the tutorial. (It would be really cute!)
Isn’t his bow tie cute? You can find the tutorial for the bow tie over at The Frugal Girls.
- 1/3 yard fabric for bodice and bodice lining
- +/- 1/2 yard fabric for skirt (double this if you want an extra full skirt)
- 1/4 yard fabric for contrasting skirt band (double this if you want an extra full skirt)
- 1/4 yard fabric for knot ties
- Scissors, ruler, fabric pen, thread, iron and other basic sewing supplies
- bodice pattern: print here: Knot Dress Bodice pattern, sizes 2 to 6 (you will need to cut 4, I forgot to notate that on the pattern)
- You must be logged into google to access the pattern
- When printing the patterns, do not print directly from Google docs. Download the pattern to your computer and open it in your adobe acrobat reader. Choose actual size and the landscape or portrait option. (I just printed a pattern directly off Google docs and noticed it printed slightly smaller.)
- You will need to cut 4 of the bodice pattern pieces- I forgot to notate that on the pattern.
- This knot dress is designed to run on the large side, this way your child can fit it over her head, wear a shirt under it in colder months and also be worn for a couple of years as a top. If you want a tighter fit, you may want to size down, or add a piece of elastic in the back- you can get an idea of how to do that in my halter dress tutorial. (or create muslin with just a front piece and back piece out of scrap fabric to test your fit…)
If you don’t have a little one handy to measure, here is a guide you can use for the main skirt piece. (the dress should fall well below the knee with these measurements)
12-18 mo: 9.5 to 10.5 inches
2t: 11.5 inches,
3t: 13.5 inches,
4: 15 to16 inches,
5: 18 inches,
6: 20 inches.
(Every child is different and all moms like different skirt lengths on their children, so remember, these numbers are just a loose guide, so please use your measurements if possible.)
Straps: Sizes 3t and up cut 2 straps 14 inched long by 3.5 inches wide. Size 2t and down, cut straps 13 inches by 3.5 inches wide.
Apron: Size 3t and up, cut the apron fabric 12 inches long by 15 inches wide, size 2t and down, cut the apron fabric 10 inches long by 15 inches wide.
This is what you should have: (I cut my bodice lining out of the chocolate fabric)
Step 2: Assembling the bodice.
Line up the 2 main bodice pieces right sides together and the 2 bodice linings right sides together. Sew along the sides using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press the seams open.
Fold the straps in half, longways, right sides together and sew along the long side and one of the short sides. Flip the straps right side out and press flat. Do both straps.
Slip the bodice lining (my lining is the brown fabric) over the bodice, right sides facing each other. Line them up and pin in place. Flip the bodice around so the back side is facing up.
Pull the bodice back piece and back lining piece apart and slide one of the straps in between the layers. The raw (un-sewn) side of the strap will go in first and line up with the raw edges of the top of the bodice, as shown below.
Pin the strap in place 1/2 inch from the edge. Repeat for the 2nd strap.
Sew along the top edge of the bodice 1/4 inch from the edge, all the way around, front and back.
Snip the corner piece and cut little v’s into the curves of the arm, be careful not to snip into the seam.
Flip the bodice right side out and press the edges flat with your iron.
Top stitch around the entire top edge of the bodice, front and back.
Pull the bodice and bodice lining apart and press the edge of the lining up and to the inside 1/4 inch.
Follow the directions for your machine to make a 3/4 inch button hole. I was able to find a button that measured 3/4 inch and used it with my button hole attachment. (I made several practice button holes before attempting one on my dress…)
Step 3: Assembling the skirt and apron.
Wrong sides together, fold the skirt contrasting band in half longways and press. (If you are making the fuller skirt option, you will have two of these, do both.)
Press the seam with the finished seam turned up.
Fold the skirt panel in half right sides together. If you left the selvages on, go ahead and trim them off and then sew the skirt sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. (If you are making the fuller skirt option, you will have 2 panels, stack your skirt panels right sides together and sew both sides.)
Finish the side seam(s) with your serger, sewing machine or pinking shears.
Turn the skirt right sides out and top stitch around the contrasting panel. The top stitch should catch the finished seam you pressed up.
Apron: Fold both side edges over 1/4 inch and press, then another 1/4 inch and press again. Sew along the edge.
Repeat the folding, pressing and sewing on the bottom edge of the apron.
Step 4: Gathering and putting the skirt, apron and bodice together.
To gather the apron, change your sewing machine setting to the longest stitch length and sew a straight stitch across the top of the apron, 1/4 inch from the top edge. Pull on the top thread and slide the fabric down the thread to gather the top of the apron. Keep pulling and gathering until the apron is about 6 to 8 inches wide. (My size 6, is gathered to 8 inches, you might want to go down about 1/2 inch per size.) Spread your gathers as evenly as possible.
Follow the same instructions to gather the top of the skirt. Keep gathering the skirt until it is the same width as the bottom of the bodice.
Fold the bodice in half to find the front center. Mark this spot with a pin or your fabric marker. Fold the apron in half and find the center mark as well and mark it.
Place the apron and bodice right sides together and line up the center marks and raw edges. Use a few pins to hold the apron in place.
To attach the skirt, line up the skirt seam(s) (center or sides) and raw edges with the right sides of the bodice and skirt together.
Start pinning the skirt to the bodice, sandwiching the apron in between.
Once you have pinned about half the skirt, you can flip the skirt and bodice around so the bodice is inside the skirt to make the pinning easier.
After you have pinned the skirt all the way around, be sure to go back and remove the pins you used to hold the apron in place.
Remove all the pins and flip your dress inside out. The bodice lining you folded and ironed earlier will hide the gathered seam.
You have two options to secure the bodice lining in place, you can do a simple fell stitch or whip stitch by hand.
Or you can do what I do: Flip the dress right side out and with one hand inside the dress and the other hand outside the dress, I pin from the outside and use my other hand to make sure the pins are holding the lining in the right place. I then top stitch around the bodice from the outside. This will usually catch all of the lining and sew it in place. If I miss anything, I can always go back and hand stitch any missed spots.
This method works pretty good, The only thing I missed was the folded edge in this small area:
Flip the dress right side out and admire your work… Gorgeous!
No go take some pictures and come back to share. Pretty please?
I hope you enjoy making this dress, please comeback and share your creations in my flickr group, Facebook page or tag me on Pinterest (all you have to do is type @mom and my name should come up – [jamie] the user icon is a little boy in a green shirt).
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