full skirt

Summer Dress with Full Skirt; Juniors Edition.

Hey Guys

Hope you enjoyed the bee. This week I will be showing you how to make a little girl’s summer dress with a full skirt (no pattern of course). This is truly a deviation from my usual escapade so I feel the need to explain why: there are two reasons really, 1. its juniors week on the sewing bee so in honour of that and 2. one of my god-daughters watched the preview for this weeks show last week and was traumatised by the JOKE!!! I made about me not liking kids, this 7 year old sweetheart actually refused to go to sleep that night until she understood what I meant by that comment (which was a joke)! so I have decided to dedicate this weeks post to my little rug-rats. I have made them these cute little summer dresses, now these little divas are ready for some sunshine


Here’s what you’ll need:


Measurement – back, chest, waist, shoulder to chest, shoulder to waist, shoulder to hem.


Fabric (preferable a nice cotton fabric)

Something to mark your fabric with (chalk, biro)





Zip (I used an invisible one)

Bias binding


Step 1: Cut a piece of fabric that is the width of the largest measurement on the bodice+6″ and the length of the shoulder to waist measurement+1″

Step2: fold in half width wise and press, then on the open ended edge (opposite the fold) fold 1″ in towards the fold then bring the fold over to line up with the edge you just created. Press. These are now your centre front and centre back bodice.

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step 3: half the back measurement and mark this along the top edge starting from the centre front and back edge


Step 4: from the top edge (working vertically) mark the shoulder to chest measurement+0.5″


Step 5: Along this point you just made, mark a quarter of the chest measurement + 1″


Step 6: Back at the top again! measure the neck hole as wide and as deep as you like in the top corner of the centre front and back (I did, 3.5″in and 3″ down.

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Step7: Join these to marks with a curve to make the neck hole


Step 8: Along the bottom edge mark a quarter of the waist measurement+1.5″


Step 9: using a ruler join the chest and waist mark, then freehand a curve from the chest mark to the back mark along the top edge, it should look like this:


Step 10: Measure 0.5″ down from top of the curved line, then with your ruler slanted from the top edge of the neck hole seam, draw a straight line to the mark you just made




now cut this out and separate the front and back pieces.



Step 11: measure 3.5″ in from the centre edge and fold and press (this is your dart lines)


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Invert the dart lines that are outwards facing on the right side of the fabric, now you are ready to draw your darts

Step 12: starting at the bottom edge of your folded dart line , measure a dart that is 0.5″ deep and 3.5″ to 4″ long


do this for the front and back bodice pieces (with the back pieces you can make the darts 1 or 2″ longer)

sew and press darts.

Step 13: now you are going to make make the circle skirt for the dress, quarter the waist measurement. Get a piece of paper, take your tape and make a quarter circular curve in the corner, mark on one edge where the tape ends.

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place the top corner point of the 0″ mark of your tape on the top corner of your piece of paper, measure down to the length of the mark you made (this is now your reference length), now pivot your tape (keeping the top corner in the same position) and mark the reference length in intervals:

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Join these marks with a smooth curve and using your tape measure make sure that the curve is a quarter of the waist measurement+(0.25″ to 3/8″). if the quarter circle is too big or to small, shorten or lengthen the reference length and repeat until  you get a close enough match to the waist measurement.

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Cut this out and reserve as a template.

Step 14: Minus the length of the bodice from the shoulder to hem measurement then add the length of the reference to this, (this is now your skirt length)

Step 15: cut 1st piece of fabric double the skirt length+2″ width wise by skirt length, length wise, fold in half, then fold 1″ in towards the folded edge and press (this is the centre back zip allowance). Cut 2nd piece of fabric double the skirt length width wise by skirt length, length wise. fold in half, press and line the fold with the zip allowance.

Step 16: working directly on the fabric, repeat the pivot action, only this time make it the skirt length measurement. them place your template in the top corner and cut around the 2 quarter circles

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Step 17: working on the back skirt piece measure down 8″ from the waist seam in the zip allowance, then sew that down to the hem


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Step 18: attach the skirt to the bodice making sure the centre folds line up (I often start sewing from the centre)

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step 19: Insert your zip


I am adding an organza belt to mine (I think it’s really cute in little girls dresses), to do this, cut a long enough strip of fabric to go around the child’s waist and tie a nice bow, cut it in half and fold each strip in half  length way, sew around the raw edges leaving one shorter end open on each strip. Turn them out and iron. Attach the raw ends to the side seams of the back of the dress like this:


Lay the front of the dress on the back of the dress, right sides facing. Make sure the waist seams match up, sew the side seams with a 0.5″ seam allowance and the shoulder seam with a 3/8 seam allowance, I finished off my neck and arm hole with bias binging and did a rolled hem.


This is what my little girlies looked like in their dresses

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As usual I would love to see how you get on, please send me your pictures, questions, comments, and suggestions