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Special Christmas Polka Dress by Abi

Hi! It's so nice to be back on the Lamazi blog. How are you all?
Today I'll be talking about a new dress that I have made for my eldest and giving you some tips on how to do it for yourselves! My girls often get new dresses at this time of year. It's nice for them to have something special for Christmas day. I don't normally make Christmas specific outfits however, and prefer to make a special dress that they can continue to wear for events into the Spring and Summer.
This dress was inspired by the work of Designer Caroline Bosmans, whose work I greatly admire. She designs some extraordinary clothes for children and it would be hard not to love them. This is the inspiration: 
Although I love this dress, I made a couple of changes to fit more with our lifestyles! I have made it longer, because lets face it we all want to get some wear out our kids clothes. I have also chosen a fabric with a lot more drape. The fabric is a gorgeous 'Polka Sketch' viscose twill.  Although I love the shape of the original, my daughter still loves a spinney dress and I want to hang onto that for as long as possible! For the shirt part of the dress I have used the Simplicity pattern S8852. As my daughter is slim I have cut an age 5 wide and an age 7 tall. The skirt is self drafted and you can read all about how I did it below! Enjoy. 
Let's get started!
Step 01:
Cut out a sample of your fabric approximately 30cm wide x 10cm long. Measure and note down the dimension (dimension 'A').

Step 02:

Sew two lines of gathering stitches (long stitches) across the top.

Step 03:

Pull gently on one end of each thread, gathering your fabric evenly across it’s length until you like what you see! Measure dimension 'B' as shown.


Step 04:

Decide where you would like the top of the skirt to sit on the shirt, it’s easiest to make this decision, while your model is wearing it. Once you have decided , measure dimension 'C' as shown.

Step 05:

Once you love your gathers and have measured the shirt, use the following calculations to work out how big your pattern pieces will need to be.

Multiply C by A. Divide the answer by B, this answer is your pattern piece width (it does not include seam allowances at this stage).

Step 06:

Taking into account where you would like the top of the skirt to sit on your child's waist, measure your child and decide how long you would like the skirt to be. As this is a two layered skirt you will also need to decide how long you want the top layer to be. Note down these dimensions (they do not include seam allowances at this stage).

Step 07:

Cutting your paper pattern pieces!

So what exactly am I making?!

The skirt is made up of a top layer, made out of a single gathered and flared piece of fabric.

The bottom layer is made up of a waistband attached to a gathered piece as shown (this avoids too much bulk at the waist when the layers are joined together).


Step 08:

Lets put pen to paper!

For the top layer cut out a rectangular piece of paper that measures your answer from step 5 divided by 2 (because you will make this on the fold) wide and your chosen skirt length from step 6 high.

For the bottom layer cut out a rectangle of paper for the waistband. This will be dimension 'C' from step 4 wide and 10 cm high. Cut a second piece of paper that measures your answer from step 5 divided by 2 (again, because you will make this on the fold) wide and your chosen length from step 6 minus 10 cm (which you have already given to the waistband) high.

Step 09:

But my child is 6, you know a skirt is not a skirt unless it spins?!

OK, let’s add some flare. Take both skirt pattern pieces and mark them with a series of equally spaced lines (approx. 6cm apart). Cut along each of these lines from bottom to top, leaving just a millimeter uncut at the top to hold the pieces together.

Lay the pattern pieces on top of another piece of paper and spread out the cut sections at the bottom of the skirt equally, until you like what you see. I stick them down as I work. Bare in mind that larger spacings will mean more fabric - make sure you have enough and that is is wide enough!

Step 10:

Draw on your seam allowances. And repeat steps 9 and 10 for the top layer.


Step 11:

Cut out 2 waistbands, 2 top layer skirts (on the fold) and 2 bottom layer skirts (on the fold) from your fabric.

With the right sides together sew the side seams of the skirt pieces and the waistbands.

Use the method in step 3 to gather in the top of both the top and bottom layer skirts, to the width of the waistband.

With right sides together attach the gathered edge of the bottom layer skirt to the bottom edge of the waistband.

Step 12:

Baste the top and bottom skirt layers together at the top of the waistband.

Step 13:

With right sides together attach the skirt to the shirt as shown.

Hem your skirt and you are done! 

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