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Harlow is obsessed with all things matching.  I love it.  It’s so fun and interesting to see her little personality shine through.  Apparently I used to identify people with their face shape (“you know, mom! The guy with the square face!”) and what’s funny about that, is that I couldn’t tell you someone’s face shape now if you asked me!  Harlow’s thing is identifying identical colors.  She loves to find a tiny speck somewhere and “match” it to something else she can find.  Her ability to spot these colors blows me away!

She also loves just matching whenever possible — if she can wear a grey shirt when daddy is wearing a great shirt: WIN!  If she can match mommy for church on Sunday: WIN!

If she can match one of her dolls?  Win. Win. Win. Win.

She’s already told me that we need to make a matching dress for her baby brother…  we’ll see about that one.


This is a multi-step tutorial that should probably be broken up into multiple posts, but we’re going to just go ahead and make it one novel-of-a-post-tutorial.  There will be links to some videos if you follow along better that way, and I’ve broken down the steps into more manageable “chapters.”

SUPPLIES


let’s get to it!

If you like to follow along via video instead of text step-by-step instructions, I have a video with the steps here!

CREATE THE DRESS BODICE PATTERN


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1|| I have found that the easiest way to create a simple pattern for a toddler dress is to use a t-shirt to trace basic measurements.  Fold a t-shirt in half as shown, and using dots/dashes, create an outline of the folded shirt.


 

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2|| You’ll want to create a neckline for the dress — you can either make one for the back (that is a bit higher, typically) and one for the front, or make them exactly the same.

I chose to keep them exactly the same just to keep things simple.


 

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3|| Be sure to connect the bottom two lines of your bodice pattern — as not shown above.  I often forget this step!  But you will remember to add that line as soon as you scan it in!  You will need the bodice to be a closed shape for the ScanNCut to pick it up as a shape to cut.


 

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4|| Scan your half bodice pattern to Cut Data.


 

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5|| Choose the outermost outline for your vector/cut file and save.


 

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6|| Return to your home menu and pull up the saved half-bodice pattern.  This piece will serve as one half of the back of the dress.  You will need two of each side, so you can either cut out 4 total or mirror one and cut two from that.  (I just cut 4, since I’m using a solid fabric for both the exterior and interior of the dress bodice, but if you are using a patterned fabric, you might want to mirror and cut 2 of each.)

Add in a 1/4″ seam allowance — or 3/8″ if you want to give yourself more generous seam allowances!

Save!


 

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7|| Now it’s time to resize for your doll dress — or even a smaller size for a baby.  Measure the final dimension of dress width for your doll.  Cut that number in half.

Remove the seam allowance, resize to the final dimension and add your seam allowance back in.

Save!


 

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8|| Okay! Now we are going to create the front full bodice piece from these two halves.  Duplicate the bodice half and mirror one.


 

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9|| Using the nudge tool {the 4 arrows…resembling a compass-ish?} align the bodice halves so they are just slightly overlapping.


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10|| Weld the bodice halves together to create the front bodice piece.  In order for the ScanNCut to weld, the shapes need to overlap — if they aren’t, it won’t let you weld the shapes together.  Just go back and nudge them into place and try again.


 

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11|  Once you are happy with the front bodice shape, add in your seam allowance!


 

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12|| We will repeat the step to resize this front bodice, but this time you will use full width dimensions.  Measure the final dimensions, remove seam allowance and resize — and then add back in the seam allowance.


CUT FABRIC BODICE PIECES


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1|| Always test your settings before cutting your fabric, but here is my favorite configuration:

  • Blade Depth: 2-3
  • Blade Pressure: 5-6
  • Cut Speed: 1

I use my standard blade and adjust as needed.  Don’t forget to use the fabric support sheet!  If you aren’t familiar with cutting fabric with your ScanNCutI have a video explaining how I cut fabric without any fusible/iron-on backing that you can watch here.

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2|| Cut out 2 front bodice pieces and 4 back bodice pieces — for both the toddler dress and doll dress.  We will be sewing a fully-lined bodice for the dresses.

CONSTRUCT DRESS BODICES


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1|| Okay, so I hope to make this as clear as possible, so please let me know if I’ve lost you in the construction of this dress bodice!  Always think: right sides together.

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2|| Begin by sewing the should seams together – one front piece with 2 back pieces.  Repeat for lining pieces.

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3|| Press seams open.

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4|| Pin the two “U shaped” pieces together at the neckline.  Sew right sides together as shown below.  (I’m using white thread so you can see the seams more clearly — I would typically choose a thread that matches the fabric more closely.)

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5|| Next, we will sew the arm openings.  Pin and sew just as you did with the neck opening, beginning with one side seam and continue to the other — leave the side seams open, sew only the arm opening!

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6|| Carefully turn the sewn bodice right-side out.  It can be a little tricky, so just be patient as you work the back bodice fabric through each shoulder tube.

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7|| At this point, we should have the following raw edges:  entire bottoms (where we will connect the skirt), side seams (shown above), and the back seam (where the zipper or closure will be.)

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8|| Keeping right sides together open and line up side seams as shown above.  Sew using the seam allowance you added before cutting our patterns.

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9|| Repeat for the back opening, but don’t attach the halves — if that makes sense.  Turn the bodice enough that you can put right-sides together for each half and sew to create clean edges in the back of the dress.  You can see it a little more clearly below.

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DRAFT AND CUT SKIRT PIECE


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1|| Now it’s time for a little math!  I chose to do a half-circle skirt for the bottom of this dress.  It doesn’t have quite as much “twirl” as a full circle skirt, but it also doesn’t use as much fabric.

For a half-circle skirt, fold the fabric in half — you’ll cut out the arc to create half a circle.  For a full-circle skirt, fold the fabric in half and then in half again.  When you cut out that arc, it’ll open to create a full circle.  I know that might seem obvious…but well, I want to make sure I’m explaining things!

Measure your toddler’s waist circumference — with this measurement, we need to find the radius for the skirt pattern.  I love this website calculator, because I can’t remember any of these formulas without a little reminder.

So, because I did a half-circle skirt (and sorry if I’m over-explaining this, I am just a “why” person, so it helps me to understand every little bit of this stuff!) I needed to get around Harlow’s waist with only half of a circle.  Don’t forget that fact when you calculate your radius, or you’ll end up with a skirt that is WAY too small!

For example:

Harlow’s waist was 19.5″.  I need half of a circle to go around her entire waist, so to calculate the radius, I doubled the circumference.

With a full circle circumference of 39″, the radius needs to be just over 6.2″.

Measure the length of your skirt (adding in some length for a hem!) and measure that arc as well.  I just used my tape measure and marked small dots measuring from the corner of my folded fabric.  I know… not the most precise, but I want to show you that you don’t need fancy tools to do a lot of this stuff!

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2|| Cut out each arc to create your half-circle.

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ATTACH SKIRT TO BODICE


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1|| I don’t like having raw edges typically, so if you have a serger, I would definitely serge both the bottom edges of your finished bodice and the top of your skirt.  It’s definitely not mandatory, and I’ll show you the dress completed without having done so, but if you are able, it just takes your garment to a more professional looking level.

Mark the center front of your bodice with a pin or fabric pen and do the same with the front-center of your skirt as well.  Lining up the center points, continue pinning the skirt to your bodice — right sides together. :)


 

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2|| Sew bodice and skirt together.

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3|| You should be left with with an almost completed looking dress!  The back of the dress will still be open — we’ll take care of that in the next segment!

ADDING THE ZIPPER


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1|| I chose to make this dress with an exposed zipper — I love the way that the teal of the zipper adds to the color blocking aspect of the dress!  There are a few other ways you can add the zipper:

  1. Before closing the side or back seams, the zipper will be sandwiched in place between the outside fabric and lining.  Pin and sew into place.  Carefully turn right-side out and continue with the construction of the bodice and attaching to the skirt.
  2. Finish dress bodice as we have done, but instead of attaching the zipper on the outside of the bodice, you’ll pin it inside and sew into place.  It is a bit of a “hack” way of adding the zipper, but you are just beginning and don’t want the look of an exposed zipper, it’ll totally work.

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2|| Place zipper and using a fabric pen, mark on the skirt portion where the zipper will end.  Sewing right sides together, sew up to that point from the bottom of the skirt.

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3|| Pin zipper in place and sew along the perimeter of the zipper tape as shown above.

 

HEM SKIRT


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1|| There are a few ways to hem your dress!! You are almost finished!

Serge and press: If you have a serger, this step is another great place to use it!  Serge the bottom edge of the skirt prior to hemming.  Press a hem about 1/4″ Donezo!

Simple hem: Using an iron, press a hem about 1/4″-3/8″ from the bottom of your skirt.  Sew around the bottom of the skirt.  Voila!

Double folded hem: Using an iron, press a hem about 1/4″-3/8″ from the bottom of your skirt.  Before sewing, press again to create a hem with no raw edge.  Sew around the bottom of the skirt.  All pretty and finished!

Use an Iron Steam Tape:  I used to think that this trick was too much of a cheat…but now I’m totally hooked!  Use a product like this one to help hold your ironed seam into place.  Either fold again to hide the raw edge, or sew into place.

 

REPEAT CONSTRUCTION FOR DOLL DRESS


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*to add the ties, pin in place before sewing the back bodice seams.  
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You did it!

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I’d love to see what you create! Be sure to tag me on instagram or share your project on our facebook page!  — or you can always leave a comment with a link!  I love seeing how you all take these ideas and just run with them!

let me know if you have questions!

xo
kaciasignature

I was provided the Brother ScanNCut for this sponsored tutorial.  All opinions and ideas are my own.
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