Years ago, we made dresses using pillowcases. BUT then the pillowcase industry stopped making nice cotton pillowcases! Plus, fabric is cheaper and there are tons more cute fabric patterns from which to choose! We make it easy for you by assembling DRESS KITS, with everything included to make the dress. THEN it's up to you to add your creativity by adding a small amount of embellisment (button, lace, ric-rack or yo-yos) to make it cute! (Please don't add too much, as it adds weight to the dress, making it difficult to send.)
Sun Dress Instructions
NEEDED: fabric, scissors, 14-inches of 1⁄2” elastic, 2 pieces 42-44” of double-fold bias tape, safety pin, thread, straight pins.
1. Cut 42-44” wide cheerfully colored high-quality cotton or cotton blend into any length ranging from 16” to 36”. Serge OR double-seam the fabric into a ‘tube.’
2. Lay the fabric ‘tube’ flat, with the seam centered in the back; cut J- shaped armholes at the top corners (3 - 4" by 3 - 4"-depending upon how the length.)
3. Using pinking shears, cut 2 pockets ON THE FOLD (5-6” squares or rounded-square) from a coordinating fabric (this makes the dresses cuter than using the same fabric for the pocket). The fold is the top of the pocket; folding it provides a facing for the pocket.) This is a good time to decorate the pockets with lace, trims, buttons, etc. Since the edges are pinked, the pockets can easily be added to the dress using a straight stitch without turning under the edges! Position as you see fit, but please use TWO.
See here for ideas on ways to decorate the pocket (HINT: try using the armhole cutouts for a pocket embellishment!)
4. On the top edge of the ‘tube,’ iron down a casing for elastic by turning the cut edge under 1⁄4 “ and then another 3/4”. Iron in place—it needs to be wide enough so that 1/4" to 1/2" wide elastic pieces will slide through easily. Sew close to the edge. Repeat this step for the back of the dress. You should now have a casing on both sides at the top of each side of the tube.
5. Cut 2 pieces of 1⁄2” elastic, each 7" long. Attach a safety pin to one end of one of the cut pieces of elastic and pull it through the casing using caution not to pull it too far. Sew across each end of the casing to hold the elastic in place. Repeat this step for the other side. You should now have a gathered top on both the front and back of the dress. (Make sure you remove the safety pin).
6. Using double-fold bias tape, cut 2 pieces approximately 42”long. These will bind the armholes and become the ties at the shoulders, so they should be long enough to tie a bow at the top. PLEASE TAKE CARE NOT TO MAKE THEM TOO SHORT!
7. Now pin the bias tape to both arm edges, centering it lengthwise so there are equal amounts on each end for shoulder ties.
8. Starting at the underarm, attach the bias tape, being very careful to make sure both sides of the bias are caught and sewn. Continue to end of tape, backstitching at the end. Repeat from the underarm to the other end of the tape; and then repeat with the second tape on the other armhole. This binds the edge of the armhole with the tape. (Ensure that you give yourself enough room to catch the edges of the tape on the inside and outside of the dress.)
9. Finish off the end of the tape on the diagonal with a close zigzag stitch or tie each end with an overhand knot.
*Special Note on the ties: Packaged bias tape is folded not quite in half lengthwise. When you get ready to sew it on make sure the narrower half of the tape faces up. That way you will be sure you are always catching the underside of the tape, even around the curves. Beginners should sew one side at a time--open up the bias tape and attach to armhole--then fold it over and sew again--this will insure that the ties are attached properly with no gaps.)
10. Fold the raw edges of the ends of the bias tape inside and when you sew along the tape you will catch those also. Sew to the end of the bias tape. Repeat this for the other armhole. If provided, iron or sew on a Hope-4-Women or Dress-A-Girl tag in a visible location, usually the pocket. If not provided, we will do this before sending them..
11. Embellish with lace, buttons, or whatever you want! Be creative! Your dress is finished! (Please leave the ties untied when delivering to us, it makes it easier to size and pack.) We will put the Dress-A-Girl label on the dress before sending out.
For ideas check out other dresses: go to the photo gallery!
**Each Dress A Girl Around the World chapter is semi-autonomous, in that we know what dresses are requested by the missions to whom we send. In our SF Bay Area chapter, we will only accept the sundress pattern unless you have made prior arrangements with us to make a dress using another pattern.