Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Snap-Front Baby Dress

Two of my good friends are having babies soon so in the next couple of weeks I have baby showers to go to :o) When one of my friends came to visit we took her and her husband to our local farmers' market and one of the booths had cute little girl pillowcase dresses for sale. My friend really liked one with apples on it since she's an elementary school teacher. So for a gift I thought I would attempt to make a dress for her baby.  I looked up different online tutorials on pillowcase dresses but then I came across a pattern for a cute snap-front dress on Prudent Baby.

I found some apple print fabric at Joann's for the body of the dress and a red and white pindot fabric for the collar.  Here's a little sneak peek of the finished product:

I pretty much followed the directions on Prudent Baby but I did tweak a couple of things.  I made the dress slightly smaller than the 12-18 months the original pattern would fit.  I shrunk the pattern to 90% of the original size to fit a newborn.  I'm not sure if the size is right (I'm not good with sizing babies!) but I figure if it is too small for my friends baby she could always use it as a doll's dress :o)

So after printing out the pattern I pinned it to the wrong side of the fabric along the fold for the body piences and cut the fabric.  I extended the length of the pattern an additional 4 inches at the same angle to make a dress instead of a shirt:

My first attempt at sewing the collar didn't quite work because the sewing foot couldn't fit around the snap backs.  I ended up tracing the collar pieces a little larger than the pattern called for and sewed a larger seam.

Here you can see all the pieces to the dress cut out:

The first step was attaching one side of the snap to the front collar.  I used white plastic snaps I also found at Joann's.  The pattern also said you could use buttons, but I've never sewn a button hole so I went for the snaps.

There is a special tool to set the snaps but I just set the two pieces of the snap in place and used a hammer to clamp the two pieces of one side of the snap together.  I placed a towel in between the hammer and the snap surface to prevent any scratching of the snap surface.  And here we have one side of the snap on the front piece of the collar:

Then I pinned the right sides of the fabric together and sewed a seam around the edge leaving a section of the bottom open between the marks on the pattern:

I made notches in several places along the seam to allow for the collar to lay flat when I turned the fabric right side out:

I then folded and ironed a seam for the open bottom piece of the collar and set this part aside.  Next I sewed the right sides of the collar back together leaving the bottom open as in the front collar.  I attached the snap front through both sides of the fabric so the back would show on top and the receptacle for the front collar snap would be on the bottom of the back collar.  (This should make more sense if you've worked with snaps before or when you start playing around with them, it's a bit confusing I know.)

Next I sewed the front and back body pieces of the dress right sides together from the bottom to the armhole: 

And used my pinking shears to finish the edges:

The arm holes were a bit tricky.  I followed the directions on Prudent Baby and used excess fabric with a surged edge (I think!) instead of bias tape because I'm not exactly sure what bias tape is.  I'm a sewing newby :o)  Even after ironing the armhole it didn't quite lay flat so I decided to sew it into place.  

Next I did a loose stitch across the top front body piece of fabric by hand and gathered it together to fit into the open end of the front collar.  I pinned it and then sewed it into place:

And then I repeated the gathering and sewing for the back piece and collar.  I sewed a hem for the bottom of the dress snapped the snaps together and I had a finished baby dress!  (I found the little wooden hanger at Michael's.)

So cute!  I hope the mom-to-be loves it :o)

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