I love making baby items for our 1-year-old Lola and while it’s fun to make bigger projects like this ride-on car or activity cube, it’s also good to have some quick DIYs that I can start and finish during a naptime as well! Since summer is pretty much here I thought it would be a good idea to make some summer dresses for her to wear, and I realized that if you use pre-smocked fabric, you can make a cute dress in under a half-hour!Supplies:
-pre-smocked shirred cotton fabric (check your local fabric store) I got that cute fabric at Hobby Lobby.
-thin grosgrain ribbon
Now, if you are making this dress for a smaller baby or if the pre-smocked fabric you like has a wider smock area than you would want, you can pinch together and pin as many rows as you would like to remove and sew down the pinned line (just pull the smocked fabric straight while you sew it). Cut the excess fabric off when you are done and you can use your shorter custom length smocked fabric for the rest of the tutorial.
Measure around your kiddo’s chest area for a chest measurement. Lay your fabric in half (right sides together) and pin your fabric down the side so that the un-pulled smocked area is 1-2″ smaller than your chest measurement.
Sew down that line of pins, trim off your extra fabric and turn your garment right side out to find the length you want. Cut the bottom of your fabric to be 1/2″ longer than you want your hem to be. Fold and press your hem 1/4″ under, and then fold and press again. Sew around your hem with a 1/8″ seam allowance.Cut two pieces of long grosgrain ribbon, seal one end of each ribbon with a lighter (just hold a lighter a few inches under the ribbon end so it will melt a bit and seal) and sew each of those ends onto the front of the dress so you have a halter top (about 4″ apart).
Turn your dress right side out, trim any ribbon excess after you know it’s long enough to make the kind of bow you want, and seal those two ends with a lighter as well. Your sweet baby dress is done!Isn’t that pretty darn cute for being a 20-minute dress?? As far as the straps of the dress go, you can either do the halter like above, or you can do four straps with two on the front and two on the back so they tie together at the top of the shoulder. Or you can leave it strapless like a little tube top dress as well. I would also suggest making a few of these at once after you get one that you like all the measurements on so you can really make the most of your crafty time. Since the top is stretchy and you can adjust the tie length, this type of dress should last you all summer, provided you make it a little bigger and a little longer than your ideal size so baby can grow a bit over the summer months. It’s the perfect dress for a summer picnic or cookout too. Have fun! xo. Laura