Wednesday, February 8, 2012


 Ever wonder how to make a little girls Bubble Dress, well you can with just these few items

* My Bubble Dress is a size 2/3 (for a very small 3yr old) but it's all based on yopur bodice size and how much you gather the skirts.

1.       Jelly Roll of Fabric 20 Strips 42” long (keep 5 separate you can mix and match or coordinate) I got mine from Walmart from the Fabric Palette collections.
2.       1 coordinating fat quarter 18x20 inch piece of fabric
3.       1 remnant of fabric that is 18X36 you can have a smaller/shorter piece as this is for the lining and the length of the strips end up being 21” long and if your lining is shorter your dress is short it’s all in the look you want.
4.       1 inch Elastic
5.       Sleeveless Bodice pattern (I have one that I’ve been using for  a while can’t remember where I found it)
6.       Sewing machine
7.       Iron
8.       Thread
9.       Pins

I stitched  15 of my Jelly Roll strips together side by side, I kept 5 of these separate for the neck straps and waist straps and front bodice coordinating piece.

Once you have all 15 stitched together it looked like this.
9 of my 15 strips

Because each strip is 42” long I then cut my 15 striped piece in half and stitched them to the side of my first batch of 15 strips.  I then had 30, 21 inch strips in a row.
I then sewed the first and last strips together so it became a big tube.

You can’t really tell it’s a tube of fabric but aren’t the colors beautiful.

I then cut out my bodice a front and back  (2 pieces) out of the coordinating fabric 18x20 inch, as well I used the same pattern pieces to cut  lining. I added little pleats at the top and bottom on the front of the bodice for more style. I quite like how it turned out.

All I did was make the bodice longer between the shoulders and measured in ½ inch for two pleats on each side right where I wanted to place my straps.
1/2 inch pleats

The straps are two of the strips that were set a side. I coordinated mine to match the front and back , I stitched them right sides together and then turned them through and top stitched each strap to keep them looking neat and tidy after washings.

I placed the straps in between the right sides of the bodice best way to understand is to see a picture
Straps on Bodice

And pinned it all in place
Sew across the top of the bodice and do the same with the back bodice piece, putting right sides together and stitching across the top. (You don’t have to, but I Ironed each bodice piece)

Then flip the two pieces open and lay each on top of the other and pin the right sides together  (I don’t have a picture for that one and it’s hard to describe) and stitch down each for the side seams. It becomes another tube.
Flip them back around so wrong sides are together the neck straps are loose at one end and attached to the top of the bodice. Now top stitch the upper edge of the bodice starting at a side seam (keeps it hidden) and stitch all the way around.

At this time you can take the other two strips of fabric you had set aside (we had two for the neck straps and now the 2 for the waist)

I stitched the two miss matched pieces right sides together, then turn them through so the right sides are out again and top stitch the strap. I then cut it in half. And set aside.

I then took the last strip for the coordinating fabric for my front bodice piece and cut a strip the length of my finished bodice (added a ½ inch) by 4 ½ inches wide. Fold this piece in half right sides together so it’s now 2 ¼ inches wide and iron flat. I then placed the two waist straps (remember we just cut those in half and set aside) in between the right sides of the front bodice piece so the raw edges are together. I matched the stitch seams with the bodice where the back and front are stitched. Stitch down each side of your coordinating bodice piece.

At this time I found it easiest to stitch this to the bodice. I lined up the raw edges of the coordinating piece to the bodice and top stitched up the edges and across top of the coordinating piece so it is now a part of the bodice.

Take your bodice (now one big piece) and place your piece of elastic into the back piece inside, pinning the ends of your elastic between the stitch lines and pin into place.
Finished elastic casing

I find this hard to describe but easy to do, once you have your elastic pinned in place stitch down your seam line (careful of your pin) to start creating your elastic casing to hold the elastic in place. Once you get just past the elastic leave your needle down and then turn your fabric so you are sewing towards yourself and the other end of the back bodice piece. You are going to sew just along the elastic (don’t sew the elastic) and as you go pull the elastic with your left hand away from yourself and with your right guide the fabric through the machine. When you get to the seam line with your sewing machine foot keep the needle down lift the foot and turn the fabric again so you are stitching back up to the top of the bodice. Ta da your elastic casing. If you know another away that works better for you do it that way.

Now back to the Bubble skirt portion of this tutorial.

I surged the edges of my top skirt just to clean up all the loose threads from stitching the strips together
 (this isn’t a must but helped me clean it up)

Take your beautiful tube of colorful strips and sew a gathering stitch all the way around.
To make your gathering stitch, I took maybe 3 stitches then I found what works for me is to reach up with my left hand (I’m right handed) and pinch my thread with my fingers.
pinch thread to gather while you stitch

Keeping my tension set at it’s loosest stitch which is 6 on my Pfaff, and pinch the thread and stitch away and it gathers my fabric for me, works perfect every time.
Gathered Nicely
Gather the top and bottom of your top skirt (the colorful strips)

Take your remanent (Lining piece) of fabric and sew the short ends together, on mine it was the two 18 inch sides and make another tube.

You will want to do the gather stitch on the top and bottom of this as well.

Place the right sides of your lining and your top skirt and place together, make sure you have the correct size to go around your child’s legs if you gather too much it will be too small and they will not be able to run and walk in it. My child is a small size 3 and the total circumference of the bottom of the skirt is 32 inches.  Stitch together now turn back around so the right sides are out. This seam will be the bottom of your skirt.

Take the remaining raw edges of your skirt and linings put wrong sides together, I basted these together loosen enough so I could gather it smaller to match the size of the bodice. Place your bodice right side and raw edges of skirt right sides together, pin and stitch.
Bodice pinned to the skirt right sides together

Turn it right side out and admire your creation.

This was very easy and fun to make

This is my first tutorial so please bare with me while take this running leap into blogging and tutorials

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