Friday, April 5, 2013

Checkerboard Dress Tutorial

 I'm so happy to have been picked to participate in the Sew Off competition at Nap Time Crafters. The challenge for Week 1 is Kids Clothing and this Checkerboard Dress is my entry. Voting is open until Sunday night, go vote for YOUR favorites, everyone is allowed to vote 1 time for their 2 favorite projects. Go to the bottom of the post and click on 'Click to vote.' And if my look is one of your favorites, it is #9 Checkerboard Dress :)

The patterns: Oliver+S Roller Skate Dress pattern and the on seam side pockets were made with Freshly Picked's free pocket pattern.

The fabrics: White cotton and 100% cotton sateen in fuschia, my daughter picked out the pink fabric, it was her favorite of all the pinks that were available. The lining is 100% cotton voile in white.

The mods and tutorial: The squares were pieced together to achieve the checkerboard look. The first thing I did was figure out the proportions of the dress, so I cut out a lining and placed fabric squares on top (they were 5 inch squares from a charm pack).
 It was the look I was going for, so with .5 inch seam allowances taken into consideration, I cut 6 inch squares.
 There were 60 squares cut out: 30 white, 30 pink.
 I sewed the white & pink squares into rows (and pressed the seams open).
 Next I sewed the rows together (and pressed the seams open) to form the new fabric. I took extra care to make sure all the corners and edges lined up in order for it to look exactly like a checkerboard.
 Then I cut out the dress pattern.
 I added a 1 inch square notched neckline. To help achieve that I ironed on interfacing to the neckline of both the dress and lining pieces.
 I added deep on seam side pockets (my daughter insists on having pockets on everything).
 The shoulders are perfectly symmetrical.
 There is an empire waist elastic casing (that follows one of the checkerboard seams), it only partially goes around, it does not go under the front center square. I achieved this by stitching in the ditch of the checkerboard seam (parallel to the casing lines) to secure the elastic.
 I found a white button (in my button stash) for the back, it's perfect for this dress because it has a square on it.
 The entire dress is fully lined to hide all those carefully pressed open seams and to make it nice against the skin. I'm so pleased with how it turned out, all of the squares are positioned exactly where I wanted them and the dress fits her perfectly.
 The placement of the squares on the back is the same as the front and that is exactly the way I wanted it.
So move over stripes... move over chevron... here comes checkerboard!

PS photo shoot location: white hallways at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
PPS ignore the Tinkerbell bandaid on her knee, she took a stumble on Monday :(