Refashions #8: Frilly Summer Baby/Toddler Dress from an Ink-Stained Ladies’ Skirt

This little dress would make a great and unique dress for hunting eggs and visiting the Easter Bunny.

Here was the before skirt (it had a nice ink stain right in the front):

However, with a lot of creativity and imagination, it became this cute little size 1 dress:

Ruffle Dress

Here’s the back:

See the bustle?

Ok, here’s how I did it. First, I separated the lining and the over-skirt. My next task was to make the base of the dress. I used the lining of the skirt as it was in good condition, thick, and a nice color.  After cutting out a basic A-line front and back, I sewed them together. Next, I finished the neckline and arm holes.

I did some research to learn how to finish knits. It was easy!

Here is the link to the site I found, if you are interested in learning how to finish knit arm holes and necklines. I do not own a machine with a twin needle, but my single needle did just fine.

This next step is out of my time order, but I did it prior to sewing on the ruffles. I tried gently stretching the neckline and found that it was not stretchy. That just won’t do when one is trying to get clothes on and off a child. I decided to create a button and loop closure. First, I measured and cut a three-inch line down the back center. Next, I created a rectangle from two long triangles of scrap fabric (I was getting desperate!). I attached it using the same method as the neckline and arm holes. I created a loop from another scrap, and then, attached both the loop and a vintage button. Cute and functional!

Next, I removed the frilly ruffles from the bottom of the over-skirt. There were four total, all alike. I played with the placement for a long while before I finally decided where I wanted them. I sewed two onto the front of the dress, one around the neckline from the back, and the last I used as a bustle. Bustles are so cute on little girls!

I sewed the ruffles on with the seam below the ruffle to give them body and to hide the stitching. I did the same on the bustle. The bustle was made by folding, starting at the tall end of the ruffle, and layering the fabric so that it ended up looking like tiers. Easy and cute!  The top of the bustle is hidden under the third ruffle that goes around the back of the neckline.

After I made the button and loop closure at the back neckline of the dress, I knew I couldn’t sew the back ruffle all around the back neckline. Otherwise, my previous work would have been pointless, and the neckline would be too tight. I tried different ideas. I did not like stopping the long end on the right of the hole because it looked lopsided and sloppy. I solved all these issues by attaching a small snap to both the shoulder of the dress and the end of the ruffle. I love it when things work out well!

My last task was to add what I decided to call a “bubble” hem to the bottom of the dress. I cut a 6 inch strip right across the skirt, avoiding the ink stain and maintaining the seams. I basted the wrong sides together, gathered them, matched the seams to the ones on the dress base, and sewed it on.

So far, this was my most involved and most creative little dress. I am looking forward to creating more and imagining more! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.

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