Well let me tell you a little something about my Bear....she is chunky! Yes I am working on this....I do have her on a sort of diet...I watch her portions...try to make sure she eats healthy....I control her intake of sugar...but she is still chunky! And added to that she inherited her Daddy's chest! My 6 1/2 year old has a 38 inch chest! And it's not fat it's just that she is that thick in that area of her body. So pair that with the chunky factor....it is nearly impossible to find clothes that fit this child! I have had the hardest time the last two years find just basic school clothes! Now she is chunky enough I can't buy from the girl's section and the Junior department just scares me!
So......yet again I am grateful that I have a Crafty Momma that passed on her smarts and her genes when it comes to making stuff! My 6 year old loves to dress up on Sunday's! Now we go to a come as you are, dress up if you want to...but Jeans are fine kinda of church. So fancy dresses are not required. I normally get away with letting her wear a cute skirt and tee shirt on Sunday mornings....but this year the Easter Dress bug has hit my little girl! And she wanted a DRESS! I guess Momma did too because I started looking a good two months ago with no success! I finally decided that I would just have to make her one!
Unfortunately we live 50 miles away from the nearest fabric store and gas prices are high. So when I happened to be near a fabric store I was low on cash and when I had the cash I couldn't justify the gas money to get me there and back! Sigh! So what did I do....well I started digging in my material box! See one of my teenagers USED to be my little sister...and my Momma did sew for her occasionally...and when she got to big I got the leftover material that Momma didn't use..... But she only sewed for her when she was 3 or 4 years old and most of the pieces of material that I had were less than 2 yards!!
Yet another issue....mmm...what's a Mama D to do??? Well you start searching for patterns that use multiple pieces of material or ones that use less than what you have.....considering my chunky kid....I really didn't think that I would find one that took less than 3 or 4 yards of fabric.
Then the light bulb went off! I have always liked making my girls those tee shirt dresses! When the Bear was a little toot I made her several! All you need was a tee shirt and a yard of fabric that matched! Easy Peasy!
But I wanted to do something a little fancier for Easter.....so I decided to mix my tee shirt dress idea with a tiered (some people call them broomstick) skirt! And because my kid is chunky and we like to camouflage that as much as possible I wanted it to be high waisted (or empire waisted).
First off you have to do some math for your skirt. I measured my daughter's chest/bust line and used that as a substitute for the waistline measurement.
OK let me back up a bit ....if you make the skirt a separate piece you have to allow for a casing for the elastic and you measure from you person's waistline....I made a empire waisted dress and attached a premade tee shirt to the top as a bodice...so I started at her bust line!
You take your bust line/waistline measurement and double it. Bear's was 38 inches so it came out to be 76 inches. This is how big you want your first tier. For the second tier you double that first tier's measurement and the same for the third.
Now to get how wide to make each tier, you want to measure your person and find out how long you want your skirt. I wanted a 30 inch skirt so my tiers were 10 inches each.
This first pic is showing that I cut just a little off the bottom of my piece of material to make sure it was even. This is always the first step I take anytime I use my rotary mat and cutter....if things are even in the first place it will save you a headache in the long run!
**Note....Most of you can skip the next step or two...since I was using what I had and didn't buy what I needed I didn't think I would have enough of each color to make my tiers so I was going to mix them to get enough....however when it came down to it I had enough to do each tier in a separate color....so I added some work to myself...but learned a neat trick in the process!
***Note...OK I did make a mistake here....I should have made all my Green squares a little bigger to allow for the hem...I didn't so I just made do...I knew that if it looked too funny I could always add a little lace to the bottom! Mama D is NOT a perfectionist!!
OK now that I have all my cutting done....we need to start sewing. I have already explained how you figure out big around you need to make each tier. And since each of my squares was 10 inches wide....that made my job pretty simple. I just used 8 squares for my first tier (that's 80 inches and pretty close to the 76 that I needed...this is a gathered skirt so a little extra material just makes it fuller!), 16 squares of the yellow and all of the green!
**Now if you didn't cut all your strips apart like I did...you would just have to measure each strip and use as many as you needed to make your tier. Sew each strip together until you made a circle and follow the rest of the steps.
And yes I realize that 16 plus 16 is 32 and I had 32 yellow squares and only 28 green ones....but it just didn't look right with the green in the middle....and as I pointed out before...it's a gathered skirt...it will just be a little less full on the bottom...and it turned out plenty full!
I then sewed each square together to form my tiers. When all my tiers were formed ....I started assembling them. For this type skirt it is easier to work from the bottom up. And for those of you who have sewn in the past I did something entirely backwards....I started with my hem.
After basting you want to start by gathering you material just a little and pining it to the next tier. This is where mine being in 10" squares came in handy....it made getting everything onto the next tier easier because it was premeasured. I generally start by pinning the sides together, then I divide that in half and pin it at the half way mark...I continue doing this until I have my material in manageable sections. I then gather and pin each section as evenly as possible and when I get done it generally requires little adjustment!
When everything is pinned to your liking....sew a 5/8" seam all the way around the tier and finish the seam by Zig Zagging right next to it on the inside. Also remove you basting stitches.
You will repeat these instructions for tiers #2 and #1. #1 of course will be attached to the tee shirt! I also finish all my seams with a zig zag and trim each as needed to cut down on a little of the bulk around the tiers!
When I was done this is what my very happy little girl twirled around the kitchen with her proud Daddy looking on!
Did I mention that this dress only cost me $5 for the tee shirt?? Well it did...even if you didn't have the fabric stashed away like I did it would only cost you a couple of yards of material and a little imagination. Of course the bigger the person the more material you will need. But my little one just loves her new Twirly Easter Dress that Mama made her...and Daddy just loved the price!
If you have any questions feel free to contact me....I am sorry for the lack of pictures on some of the steps...I got busy sewing and forgot to take pictures! Now I have to go get busy on some short for this kid! All the shorts I have found this season are too short....if they don't come down to her knees my 6 year old is not wearing them....but I am not gonna make her wear pants all summer! So I guess that BIG piece of denium I found the other day (I think I was gonna make a maternity dress out of it way back when) is gonna make my little girl some much needed shorts!
I hope you all have a very blessed Easter weekend!