Toga Dress

This is my first quick finish for Kids' Clothes Week (yeah, it was last week, but it's the thought that counts).  It was a super easy dress that I sort of just made up on the fly.   This time, KCW kind of snuck up on me, so I wasn't all prepared with a stack of fabric and patterns.  Luckily, I do have a pile of clothes that I've culled from my wardrobe to be used for fabric.

So I pulled out this spaghetti strap top with a shelf bra (neither of those things should be in my wardrobe) to make a summer toga dress. 

After cutting out the shelf bra, I put the tank top on Dell, then marked where I wanted the gathered waist to hit.  It ended up being about 8.5 inches from the bottom.  I also made sure that I would have a couple inches of extra length so that there would be a bit of bagginess above the gather.

Then I put the side seams together and flattened out the shirt so that the folds of the shirt would now be down the center of the front and back.  I used a tank top that fit well to trace out the top of the shirt, giving myself an extra half inch for the seam allowance.  I also made sure that the line from the armpit would flow into the current seams of the shirt.  


The shelf bra provided the extra material to make trim for the neckline, facings, and straps.  After cutting the original side seams, I cut 1" strips across both pieces of material. 

For the armholes, I ironed two of the strips in half with the wrong sides together.  I then sewed it to the right side of the armhole using a scant 1/4" seam.  You have to give it a little stretch to ease it around the curve. 

Then I trimmed the excess, folded it over and topstitched it to the wrong side of the fabric.


For the neckline, I did the same process but in reverse, so you sew the strip to the wrong side of the fabric, and topstitch it to the right side.  For the edges, fold under the very end of the fabric before you fold and pin it down. Pinning the ends will really help make sure it stays in place.

To make the straps, I took three of the 1" strip and cut them in half, so they were about 7.5" long. I then pinned three of these strips together at the end and braided them. I tacked the ends so they wouldn't come apart.

Then I stitched them to the top of the dress, making sure they measured 4" across the shoulder.  I just stitched over the line of stitches that were already there and then hand sewed the very top to the strap so it wouldn't flop over. 

To gather the waist, I salvaged the elastic from the shelf bra. I wrapped it tight around my little's, making sure I could still fit a couple fingers in between her and the band. I added a half inch for overlap and stitched the ends together securely. 

Then I pinned the elastic evenly to the inside of the dress along the line I'd marked earlier. I just pinned it at the sides and the middle of the front and back. Then I sewed it down, making sure that the elastic was stretched from front and back of the needle and the fabric of the dress lay flat. Because the elastic was wide enough, I did two rows of stitches. 

Trim the threads, and finished!