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This week I'm showing you the Perfect A Line Dress, available in both baby sizes 0-24 months
, and girls sizes 2-6
. This dress is truly wonderful on so many levels! It really lives up to it's name and has a simply perfect a-line shape. It is also ingeniously designed to be reversible allowing two looks with one dress. In addition, it can be worn alone or layered so it is perfect for every season! One last big bonus of the Perfect A Line Dress is that it the perfect canvas for creativity! It is perfect for applique and monogramming, but the options don't end there. For those of us without an embroidery machine there are a million other possibilities. Seriously, my head is full of fun ideas for this dress, but I had to choose just one to show you today. So today, I'll walk you through adding a tuxedo ruffle to the front of your Perfect A Line Dress.
A tuxedo ruffle really dolls up this dress and gives it just a little pizzazz. You'll be amazed at how simple it is.
Start by cutting your Perfect A Line front and back pieces from both your main and lining fabric as per the pattern. Keep in mind that adding the ruffle will make the front bulky so you won't want to reverse this one! I lined mine with inexpensive solid pink fabric.
Grab your main front piece and set the other aside for now.
Mark the center front of your piece either with your favorite making pen or by ironing a crease. Or follow my lead and do both!
Set your front piece aside and grab your contrast fabric for the ruffle. I cut my ruffle 3 1/4" wide by twice the length of the center front of my pattern piece. In my case for a size 2 that is 18" doubled. So my strip was 3 1/4" by 36". Measure the center front of your pattern piece and double that measurement for your own length measurement.
A little explanation on the width. The ruffle width is mostly personal preference. I eyeballed it with my ruler and decided a 3" finished ruffle width would be nice. I used a rolled hem on my serger to finish the edge so only added 1/4" to account for trimming and rolling. You could also finish the edges with a narrow hem by folding under 1/4" and then another 1/4" and stitching close to the folded edge. If you're using a narrow hem add 1" to the desired width of your tuxedo ruffle, in my case that would make my cutting width 4". Keep in mind that my dress is a size 2. You may want to make your ruffle wider for the upper sizes of 5 and 6 and probably want to make it narrower, perhaps 2" finished for sizes 0-12 months.
Finish your cut strip with either a rolled hem on your serger or a narrow hem using your sewing machine.
Next we will gather the strip. I chose to gather by running two gathering threads down the center front of my piece. I stitched my gathering lines about 3/4" from each other, a bit farther apart than if you were gathering a skirt. Gather your strip to be a little longer than your center front.
Pin your ruffle along your center front marking aligning the bottom edge and leaving enough extra length on the top top so that the outside edges of the ruffle extends past the curve of the neckline. The picture below will show you what it looks like from the under side and help explain what I mean.
Next stitch down the center front or your ruffle attaching it to your main fabric. Then choose a trim (or choose to not use a trim) and stitch it down. For ribbon I prefer to topstitch close to each edge. If using Rick Rack I prefer to topstitch down the middle. I chose 1" ribbon for this dress.
Now from the back side of your front dress piece trim the top of the ruffle to match the curve of the neckline. Your front piece should now look like this.
Continue and complete your Perfect A Line dress according to the pattern instructions. Sewing a perfect curve around the straps take a little time and practice but here are some tips:
- Sew slowly
- Sew with you needle in the 'needle down' position. If you do not have this option manually turn the wheel so that your needle is through the fabric.
- Raise your presser foot and pivot your fabric ever so slightly every 2 stitches. It sounds like a lot, but it works!
Also make sure that you follow the pattern instructions for clipping and notching the curves of the neckline and straps. This will insure that your main and lining fabric lie flat when turned and you have nice smooth edges. Follow the same tips as above for topstitching the straps and neck curves only use a slightly longer stitch length.
I used KAM Snaps instead of buttons on this dress. I kept it nice and simple so as to not distract from the ruffle. I did decide to make my straps slightly adjustable this time. Sweet Pea is between sizes for height so this size two was a little long on her. Instead of shortening the pattern I added a second snap to the back strap about 1" above the first one. She can wear it now with the shorter strap length, but as she grows we can use the first snap and keep on wearing.
Now, lets talk about wearing your Perfect A Line dress!
Sweet Pea is thrilled with her 'Shoes' dress! She is a girly girl to the max and LOVES shoes. When I saw this fabric I knew she needed something out of it!
The tuxedo ruffle front adds a new dimension to this dress and helps break of the busyness of the main fabric. It also plays up her super girly girl attitude!
This dress will be worn all summer long! But, if you learn one thing from me in this blog series it will be that |I love versatility. And of course the Perfect A Line doesn't let me down! In the Pacific Northwest the weather changes by the day, sometimes by the hour! If we have a cool day, this dress is still good to go. Add a tee under it and enjoy the day!
The versatility doesn't end there though! Does you Perfect A Line still fit come fall (or are you in the Southern Hemisphere)? Add a long sleeve tee and tights! Is your little one growing like a weed (I know mine are!)? When your Perfect A Line hits tunic length add some leggings underneath and keep on wearing!
|One more, just for kicks!|
Grab some fabric and try a Tuxedo Ruffle Perfect A Line. It's fast easy and lots of fun!
Here's the details for your Perfect A Line Dress pattern:
- Baby sizes includes 0-24 months
- Girls sizes includes 2-6
- Beginner sewing level
- Snap option so no buttonholes are required
- All seams are enclosed, no seam finishing necessary
- Dress is fully reversible with 3" or less of hand stitching