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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sew a cute dress for a baby. Learn how to sew French seams and make buttonholes

With this blog post I want to discuss sewing for children and also talk about the sewing machine I am currently using whilst I am living abroad.
This pattern is a Simplicity New Look and I think that it is so incredibly pretty I just had to make it.
When sewing for young children there are some things you need to bear in mind. Firstly comfort is paramount,  so no rough fabrics or tickly seams to irritate the skin. The fabric has to be soft yet durable - cotton is ideal - and the garment needs to stand up to a lot of rough and tumble!

The fabric I used is this Rocking horse print poly cotton from,  you only need one metre, and I used a metre of plain white polycotton too for the lining and trim.  View it on this link Rocking horse fabric

Little girls love dolls so I also made a dolls dress with the leftover fabric. I will give you the link to the blog post at the end of this post.

The style is loose and comfortable and can be worn as a pinafore with a simple t-shirt underneath.

The pattern is Simplicity New Look 6903

The first step I took was to make the applique pocket and attach it to the front of the dress. To make it I cut it out twice in the main fabric and once in interfacing. Iron on the interfacing to one piece then right sides together sew the pocket all around the seam allowance  leaving a gap to turn it right sides out. Clip the corners and trim and snip the curves, turn right sides out and trim in whatever way you like.
I chose this brightly coloured jumbo ricrac.

Stitch the pocket to the dress front where marked, making sure that you finish off the ends securely.

I am sewing the garment with French Seams which are not only robust but are comfortable next to a child's skin. I am also lining the dress.
To sew a french seam place the front and back WRONG sides together, sew a narrow seam. Trim, press open. Turn the garment inside out and sew another narrow seam on the wrong side of the garment. In this way all raw edges are neatly enclosed.

This is a picture of the wrong side where I have pinned the fabric together to sew the seam.

And this is what the finished seam looks like on the inside of the garment.

Do the same for the lining, sewing the dress front to the back with a French Seam.

Instead of making bias binding for the sleeve edges the lining will provide a very neat armhole.
Right sides together pin and stitch the dress to the lining at the armholes. Trim the seam, press and under-stitch for extra strength. 

Next we need to deal with the neckline. So pin and tack the front and back together at the top. Iron on some lightweight interfacing to one front yoke and one back yoke.
 Run two rows of gathering stitches between the notches and gather up so that they fit between the dots on the yokes.

Gather up evenly and stitch the yokes to the fronts and backs between the dots.

Pin the yoke linings to the front and the backs and stitch leaving the lower enge open. Trim the curves, turn right sides out, press, turning under the seam allowance on the linings and slip stitch the linings in place.

For strength top stich close to the edges on the front and back yokes.

Mark the position of the buttonholes.
We are going to be using the Brother Innov-is 10A from in this post and I want to show you how easy buttonholes are to sew on this machine. This is a great machine at a very reasonable price. It is ideal for people new to sewing but it is also a machine that you can grow into as it offers such a lot of functions. See it here on web site
Brother Innov-is 10A from

You will need your buttonhole foot and have your manual open at page 56. The instructions are very concise and clear as they explain exactly how the buttonhole foot is operated.
Attach the foot to the machine and turn the control ideal to select pattern number 14. Place the button in the buttonhole guide and that's it really. Pull the buttonhole lever down and hold your thread out of the way. Prepare a piece of double fabric with interfacing between and sew a test buttonhole.

Once you are happy that the buttonhole is correct then mark the position on your garment with tailors chalk.

Then stitch them on exactly the same setting and cut them open. Use sharp pointed scissors please, or you risk your buttonhole continuing too far if you try to use a seam ripper.

Turn up a very narrow double hem on the underskirt top stitch and press.

The ruffle is cut on the bias and there are four pieces. Join them together in a circle and press the seams open, press the ruffle in half. Run two rows of gathering stitches inside the seam allowance and gather it to fit the bottom of the dress. Matching the centre front and back and side seams to the joins in the ruffle adjust the gathers and pin and stitch in place.

The Brother Innov-is 10A has an overedge foot so this is a good try to test it out.
Select the stitch you want by referring to your manual and attach the overedge foot to your machine.

Position the toe of the foot at the edge of your fabric as shown in the manual and overedge the seam you have just sewn. Press it and then press and top stitch the seam towards the dress for extra strength.

This is a really pretty dress and is one which you can make time and time again with different fabrics and trims.

Please do visit and teach your child how to sew a dress for her doll. Sewing is a wonderful gift to pass on to any young person. 

Happy sewing


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