Here is the promised pattern for a wrap-around dress to fit a 2-3 year old, approx. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert dressmaker, nor do I have perfect bias-tape skills, but I thought I would share the general guidelines for making a dress like this, in case you have a small girl who would like one.
**Disclaimer** When I was making measurements for this pattern, I realised I shuffle and adjust the pieces a bit while I am sewing until the dress 'sits right' and/or fits the child properly. The wrap design is a forgiving one! So don't worry if your pattern is not exactly like the one in my drawing- it should still turn out fine. Maths and measurements are NOT my forte- I like to think of myself as an 'intuitive' sewer- so please, treat my pattern as a 'guideline' only.
This dress was inspired by a combination of two different dresses owned by my daughter: one store-bought, and one I made with guidelines from the vintage Japanese craft book 'Cute infants outgrow clothes quickly' (Kamakura Shobo Publishing Co, Ltd, 1984). It can be worn either way around- with the crossed part at the front, or the back, as shown above.
It's great in summer by itself, or in cooler weather worn over leggings or trousers and warm tops. As your child grows, the dress will become a wrap-top, but it should be easy to adjust for a bigger child- just cut the patterns out longer.
*Please note* 1/4" seam allowance is included. Other measurements are in cms.
You will need:
*paper, pen, ruler and scissors for making your pattern
*sewing machine and thread
*a piece of fabric approx. 90 cms wide, and 55 cms long. I use a medium-weight, cotton/linen blend fabric when I make this dress. You could also use linen, cotton, gingham (I made a green gingham version here), lightweight denim or corduroy.
*either store-bought or home-made bias tape- about 610cms long.
1. Make your bias tape. You will need two pieces that measure approx. 28 cms for the front sides, two pieces that measure approx. 35cms for the armholes, and one long piece measuring approx. 2.5 meters for the rest of the dress plus ties. I make double-fold tape using my rotary cutter and ruler- cutting strips of fabric that are the same width as the ruler (7.5 cms/3"). If this is your first time applying bias tape, you might find this easier to use than the narrower store-bought type. A tutorial on making bias tape is here. I like to use vintage cotton sheets - it's a great way to recycle them, and the old patterns look great with a plain-coloured dress. (There is another way to make bias tape, as shown here. You can also buy cool little gadgets that make the tape for you.)
2. Make yourself a pattern based on my drawings below (soon to be replaced with clearer ones- sorry!). Adjust the length if necessary. Fold fabric, right sides together, and place the 'back' pattern piece along the fold. Pin both fronts and back pieces to fabric, and cut out.
Front pieces- (place fabric right sides together)
Back piece- cut 1, on fold.
3. Sew shoulder seams. Zig-zag or overlock (serge) to finish.
4. Sew down ONE side of the dress to join. Now finish the seam, and finish both unsewn edges of the other side of the dress. Now sew this side together, but leave a gap about 7cms down, measuring about 2.5cms. This is for the tie to pass through.
Now it's time to apply the bias tape. You'll need a steam iron and lots of pins near by. I'm no expert when it comes to doing this, but I find that with practice, the technique gets easier. There are some online tutorials to help if you're new to this- here's one: Basic application of bias binding
5. Apply bias tape to the straight sides of both front pieces. Don't worry about finishing the edges- they will be covered later.
6. Apply bias tape to the armholes.
7. Apply the long piece of bias tape to the rest of the dress, starting at the half-way point on the neck. The neck and front trim and ties are all in one piece. As you go, cover the raw edges of the dress fronts, like so:
8. Zig-zag/overlock the hem edge. Then press up a hem and sew in place.
9. Press dress and trim loose threads. Pass one tie through the interior opening, wrap it over at the back, and tie in front. Voila!
I added a pocket to this one, cut from the leftover piece where the neckline is cut from the fabric.
Have fun (and good luck.)