Today I am bringing home the Lucky Penny tutorial. I had been wanting to make this dress FOREVER and a St. Patrick’s day themed shoot was just the kick in the bum I needed. Evie actually has this JCrew dress in a mauve color. She wore it in our family pictures last winter.
But she has already grown out of it and I refused to shell out another chunk of change when I knew I could make it:
It is made from a comfy jersey knit that was originally white but dyed a nice olive green, and a silky “special occasions” fabric.
What is so great about this dress is that NONE of the edges are hemmed!!! The edges of the jersey won’t fray and the special occasion fabric is supposed to fray a bit giving it a rough textured finish. This also makes it pretty fast and totally easy!
Would you like to make your own? I promise you can do it! You don’t even need a printed pattern! And I promise if you just so happen to have family pictures coming up, if you make this dress for your cutie and show up to your session in it, you photographer will love you!
Of course it helps when you are an adorable red head who firmly believes in fairies and leprechauns
What you need:
1. One of your little girls tank tops and T’s to use as a sizing guide
2. 1 3/4 yard jersey knit fabric in color of your choice
3. Half a yard “silky” fabric in a complimenting color (either a shade darker or lighter then your jersey)
4. Sewing machine, scissors, pins etc.
5. I used little squares of paper with numbers on them and tape to help me keep the ruffles in order but that is totally optional
6. Something I found amazingly helpful were pins you can sew over… I know! I didn’t know they existed either! They were given to me as a gift and I about died. You can find them at your local quilting store.
How to make your own pattern:
First we are going to make the front of the dress. Take the T or tank that you selected and grab a nice big sheet of paper (I use some of my children’s art paper on the huge roll from Ikea but you could absolutely just tape together some pieces of paper). Fold your top in half and lay it on the paper tucking in the back neck portion of the shirt so you have the steeper slope of the front visible
This center line will also be on the fold of your jersey fabric
Once you have done this repeat the process with the back of your Tank or T which will become the back of your dress. Once you are done you can cut your two “pattern pieces” out.
Now you need to make two “top pieces” These are exactly the same as your front and back main piece but only come down to about a half an inch below the arm hole. These pieces are what will give us a nice finished neckline and armholes, with out hemming
Cut your fabric
Once you have your pattern pieces ready you are going to cut one with your front pattern piece, on the fold, and one from your back pattern piece, on the fold. Now repeat and cut one of your front “top piece front” and one of your “top piece back”. Now all your remaining fabric will be cut into strips. Here is the thing that is fantastic about this dress, the more skiddywampus and crooked the strips are cut the cuter the dress ends up. You really can do it however you want. If you prefer to just have nice straight lines and alternate silky jersey silky jersey etc you can totally do that but I really think part of the charm is the “wild” look. (Now keep in mind anything you do to the front of the dress you will do the exact same thing to the back. It is your choice whether to do it simultaneously or one after the other.) What I decided to do was cut my jersey strips first. I cut mine to be about two inches wide though again you can do them as wide or small as you like! There are no wrong answers here friends! Then I laid them on the top of my front dress piece:
Once I was happy with how it looked I took my silky fabric and cut it so it filled in the gaps.
In the end your dress should sort of look like a mummy ha! Now, this next part is optionally but I personally think it REALLY helped and made the process go a lot faster and saved me massive frustration. I took little squares of paper and numbered each of the strips of fabric, taping the square to the strip. This way I knew exactly where they would go when I was ready to sew them down. Again this is optional but I swear it helps.
Sew Your Fabric
Once I was done numbering I took my strips off the dress and ran a gathering stitch across the top of them. This is just means you do a straight stitch where your tension is loose and the length of your stitch is loooong. This makes it easy to ruffle up the top to the size you need.
When I was done I returned them in the proper order on top of the right side of the dress front, pinning as I went
When the dress was all pinned I took it to the sewing machine and simply topstitched all the ruffles into place. Now you can do this one at a time if you prefer. I just like having it all pinned so I wasn’t getting up and down…. yeah I am that lazy ha!
If you haven’t been dong the back piece simultaneously now you will repeat this process with the back piece Once done we are going to connect the front to the back at the shoulders. JUST at the shoulders. This will go against the grain but pin your front to your back, wrong sides together. Then topstitch across the shoulders.
Once you are done I swear the hard part is over!!
Set aside your main dress and grab your two “top pieces”. Pin them at the shoulders so that right sides are together
Now, take your main dress and turn it inside out
You should now have a nice finished neckline. I chose not to topstitch mine. I feel like it lays better if you don’t.
Next we finish the arm holes. If you are a beginning sewer I might suggest firing up the iron for this next step and ironing over the raw edges of your armholes. If you are more advanced you can just tuck and pin
Ohhhh you are soooo almost done! Now all you have to do is turn the dress inside out and sew up the side seams!!! Woo hoo! You finished! I decided to take some of my extra silky fabric and made a belt to add some definition at the waist. (Just cut a long wide strip, fold in half right sides together, sew up side seam, turn right side out and topstitch ends closed)
Now go have some fun with your cutie finding fairies and leprechauns!
Because they really do exist!!!