Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cupcake one-shoulder birthday dress!

I can't believe I forgot to make a post about the cupcake dress! 
For K's birthday, she chose the cupcake fabric I'd just gotten, of course. Like these things do, a one-shouldered, breezy classic but modern dress with giant bows popped into my head. Obviously I wasn't going to find a pattern for that, so I drafted one.

two giant bows on the shoulder.

I used my basic bodice draft that I use for most of her dresses. Any bodice pattern without closures will do, as long as it fits the chest and has a scoop neck. You want it to fit over the hips or head without struggle, so loose rather than tight -- she's five and narrow, this was 13 inches across including a 1/2" seam allowance.
First, do the one-shoulder by drawing a line sweeping up from the armscye to the opposite shoulder -- it should angle up about 35 degrees from the horizontal, because you don't want it hanging too low in front. 
I decided to do two straps on the same shoulder, which helps fine-tune the fit because the inner one takes care of the cross-bodice and the outer one takes care of the height -- my pet peeves when it comes to little girls falling out of their summer dresses. Just extend the shoulder into straps,widening so they make nice big bows when tied -- mine were about 10" up from what was the shoulder seamline. As for the bottom, from here it can be empire or drop waisted, or even A-line. I decided to go with a slight drop waist so as to eliminate the need for elastic but allow for a gathered skirt. Curve up at the sides for a nice line.

Cut two out, it doesn't have to have a front and back as long as you cut them with the fabric folded (so that one has the ties on the left, and one on the right when you look at the print...) Since it's a summer dress out of quilting cotton, it needed a lining -- I think this one was $2/yd at my neighborhood place? White for the bodice and pink for the skirt, to pick up the silly colors. So, two of the print and two of the lining. 

You'll also need rectangles for the skirt, I usually go for the full width of 45" and about 12" long, just a basic rectangle, with the short sides seamed up, hemmed and gathered. (I love gathering now that I have a serger!) Remember to have the seam of the lining face out so it doesn't rub. It's fine to gather the lining and the print to the final measurement of the bodice bottom (24 inches, in this case), and set them aside.

To sew up the bodice, start at the bottom of the left armhole and pin a lining piece and a print piece together, right sides facing. Stitch all the way around the gnarly strap parts, coming in quite tight and going up again between the two straps ( i ended up fudging the seam allowance a bit at the lower point, it's more like 1/4"... so it's not too narrow to turn.) You can decide now whether you want the ties to come to a point or be squared off. Clip deep into the corners and V, and turn the whole right side out (a chopstick helps with turning the skinny ties). Do the same thing for the second set of lining and print fabric.  
Then pin and sew each side seam all together on the inside, starting with the bottom edge of the lining and finishing at the bottom edge of the print continuously from the edge of the lining to the edge of the print. You don't have to finish the seam allowances if the dress is fully lined. 

Sew on the skirt (either all together, or the print to the print and the lining to the lining, so seams are inside), turn it right side out, and press. (I added contrast topstitching all around the top edge to define the line, but that's just my thing.) 
Make some cupcakes and party on!

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