Wednesday, 22 October 2014

TIPS and More!

Greetings everyone

Now the colder, darker nights are drawing in how about getting that stash out and making a pair of shorts or a dress?

The beginning is important, 
how to choose fabric
how to stitch to survive
help us stitch well instructions and photos from Sue

Flo’s Hints and Tips: Most Important... make sturdy dresses. We need a dress that will last!! Many of these dresses will be washed in rivers or on a washboard with harsh homemade soaps.


When choosing pillowcases or fabric put your hand under the fabric if you can see the outline of your hand then that fabric is too light!! Do not use it for dresses!

Lightweight Fabrics

If you have fabric or a pillowcase that is too lightweight, use it to make bias tape. Or if you have a wonderful antique pillowcase and the fabric is too lightweight use fabric under it as a lining (make a tube the same width as the pillowcase and hem)... cut the tops and armholes at the same time and sew them as if they were one pillowcase. Other suggestions include making a pinafore over top of the lightweight pillowcase or line the lightweight pillowcase and use it as the skirt on a t-shirt dress. These ideas can be done before you make the dress or, as a solution when receiving dresses made out of lightweight material.


Please make straps out of bias tape or fabric not flimsy materials. And only use items intended for garments. Everything must be washable. No craft ribbon or raffia. When making a longer dress, make a kick pleat or slit at the bottom and reinforce the top of the kick pleat inside of dress.


Always... did I say always... yes always backstitch at the ends of the bias tape, where the bias tape joins the top of the dress (back and front) and at the top of the pockets. Use a medium stitch length (10 to 12 stitches per inch).


We have found that making the elastic one-inch longer for the back casing on larger dresses makes for a better fit. We generally use 1⁄2” or 3⁄4” for the casings. When tacking your elastic make sure you sew close enough to the edge so that when you sew the bias tape on it covers the stitching


Please make sure that your straps are long enough. But on baby dresses do not make them too long (choking hazard). No 1/8” or 1⁄4” ribbons for straps!!
We recommend the following strap lengths:

Size 1/2 to size 1 Size 2 and 4
Size 5 to 7
Size 8 to 10

Size 12 to 14
27" x 2 34" x 2 36” x 2 40” x 2 46” x 2


Please attach all items by sewing... Not by gluing. When adding appliqu├ęs or pockets please finish the edges. NO RAW edges on dress anywhere!


Please consider making a pocket for the dress average about 5” by 5” or 6” x 6”. The link below to Sue contains a simple pocket tutorial.


They are so cute and they add so much to dresses... check and see if your sewing machine or serger has a ruffling foot... it makes these cute accents go so much more quickly.


When making a fabric tube I often put the seam in the center back because it just looks more like a regular dress with the seam there. Whether you put the seam in the back or on the side please make sure that it is a serged seam or that you finish that seam off in some way... zigzag the seam after straight stitching it or french seam it. If you just straight stitch the seam it will fray and that dress will not last long! Be sure you totally enclose the selvage in the seam.

We are making God’s best dress for a little girl. This may be the only new dress this little girl gets and it is important that it is well made out of sturdy materials. Please do not take short cuts!! 

Sue has made some great help videos to make sure seams are stitched really strongly - just right for surviving the rigours of the washtub!

You can find the link HERE

Little girls and boys just love to have somewhere special to keep a little treasure.  Why not make an added patch pocket for those treasures, not too small but just right for little hands!

You can find the link to Sues great instructions and helpful photos just HERE

More patterns and instructions next time!



  1. Hi Jayne, I have been trying to find patterns or measurements for different size dresses and can't find any. I have found strap lengths, pocket sizes but no actual dress measurements.