Do you ever come across a pattern and think, ‘oh, if only it was slightly different’ or ‘if only it wasn’t two pieces and was a dress instead’?
Well, I saw the Give Piece a Chance pattern and thought just that. The two piece ensemble is beautiful, and it certainly has its place in a young girls wardrobe, but what if it was a dress instead, wouldn’t that look cute? So I decided to join the patterns together, surely it wouldn’t be that hard?!
The cropped top is fully finished and buttons up at the back. The button back will work just fine as a dress, and it’ll be easy to leave the bottom unfinished to attach to the skirt.
The skirt has a waistband, shaped top half, then simple rectangular pieced bottom. My initial idea was to use the waistband as the join between the top and skirt… it didn’t go so well! So I unpicked all my overlocking, and the waistband joining seams. I now had 1/4″ less seam allowance to play with, so please follow my guidelines for this, my pictures will have skinnier seam allowances.
To create a Give Piece a Chance dress
You will need the Give Piece a Chance pattern and 1/4″ elastic to fit your child’s waist.
Create the cropped top using pattern instructions 1 to 8. This gives you a finished bodice (minus button/buttonholes) with an open bottom hem. Add a seam mark, either a snip, or washable pen mark to the centre front of the bodice. Baste the back edges closed (3/4″ overlap).
Create the skirt using pattern instructions 13 to 15. This will give you the shaped top half joined to the pieced lower rectangle. Add a seam mark, either a snip, or washable pen mark to the centre front and back of the skirt.
Sew two rows of gathering stitches to the top of the shaped skirt piece. You will want to gather very gently as there is not much difference in the width of the bodice than the skirt top. When I sew gathering stitches, I like to sew them 1/8″ either side of the seam I’ll be using. So as we are using 1/2″ seam allowance, I sew my first gathering at 3/8″ and my second gathering at 5/8″. This means you get a nice ‘channel’ to sew through once you’ve gathered! It does also mean you have to remove the gathering thread, but that’s no great hassle.
Using those centre marks and the side seams as quarter points, line up the bodice and skirt, right side of skirt to right side of bodice. Sew this seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance. I find it easier to do this with the skirt facing me on the sewing machine so that I can use the gathering stitches as my guide.
As with the Spinny Mini instructions, overlock/serge the very edge of this seam allowance, without trimming anything off. Remove the lower gathering thread, then press this seam upwards towards the bodice.
I prefer to add my buttonholes in at the very end, so the back bodice is currently not closed. To ensure that the bodice remains straight for the next step, I pinned the overlap straight and shut. You will also want to ensure that your ruffles are flat to the seam.
Edgestitch this overlocked seam allowance, very close to the edge to create a casing for your elastic. Leave a 2″ gap in the back for you to thread through your 1/4″ elastic.
Thread your 1/4″ elastic through the casing, sewing the ends together securely before tucking into the casing and closing the gap.
You’ll want to finish off your dress by adding buttonholes or snaps to the back bodice, and hemming the skirt using the instructions, number 21 to 22.