I’ve always loved dresses and skirts. To this day that is what I pretty much live in during the summer. If I have a choice between shorts or a skirt, I'll pick a skirt every time. I can remember wearing tons of sundresses and skirts to class in college, especially during the summer. I don’t know, I’m just much more comfortable and cool in them and if I was going to be sitting in class I might as well go for comfort, right? What isn’t to love about a cute little skirt, solid color tee and a pair of Tretorns or flip flops? Of course, during the winter months I could also be seen wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a fleece pullover with my sneakers, but don’t hold that against me (say it with me people, it’s called a hangover). Oh puhleeze, like you never did that.
So on one of my various trips to JoAnn’s a couple months ago, something caught my eye in the fabric section as I walked in the front door. Now, let me just say I do not make a habit of making things for myself and to date, have only made one piece of apparel for myself and that was years ago (I will save that humorous little story for another post though). Let’s just say it did not turn out too well. But out of the corner of my eye as I was walking in the store, I saw some adorable summer prints that were smocked at one end. How fabulous! Light and breezy cotton summer prints that were already smocked at the top! The tag on the bolt said Sew Easy One Seam Project by Fabric Traditions. A one seam project? No pattern required? Just sew it up one side and put it on? Well THAT I can do!
Unlike other fabric, this fabric was sold by the inch and not the yard. So I measured around my bust, added a few inches just in case, and that's it. So when you get your fabric home, all you have to do is turn it inside out, pin it down the seams, try it on to make sure the fit is good across the bust, then sew that one seam.
So these are the prints I picked up. They also had a pretty white or yellow eyelet and a few plaids. But I decided on the two pink and green ones (of course) and the sort of modern red, white and blue polka dot one (I wore that one on the 4th). Click the photo and you can see the smocking at the top all ready to go!
Because I'm short, I cut some fabric from the bottom of my dress so it would be a little shorter (most of you would not have to do this since most of the world is taller than I am) and then did a quick hem. I then used the extra fabric I'd just cut to make the ties/ straps to hold the dress on. We do not want any wardrobe malfunctions, you know!
To make the shoulder ties, I cut my strips of fabric 4.5" x 16.25" (they are a little long but I prefer it that way than have them too short). I then sewed a hem on each of the short ends. After that, I laid my strip down, pattern side DOWN. Fold the bottom side UP, then fold the top side DOWN to over lap that. Iron the seams. Then fold them AGAIN into the center, until you've got your shoulder tie made, and all you have to do is stitch that one seam.
When you're done with all the shoulder ties, all you have to do is stitch them onto the dress. Two on the front side, two on the back side. NOTE: Remember that because the top part of the dress is smocked w/ elastic thread, it will stretch. So due to the stretching, you need to sew your straps closer into the center of the dress as opposed to the outside. You can see on this dress how I opted for matching pink grosgrain ribbon in lieu of making the straps.Would I wear this to a dinner party? Not exactly. But it's a cute, lightweight summery little smocked dress that I love throwing on with flip flops for running errands or after a day at the pool. If you don't want to wear it as a dress, then always keep in mind you can shorten it a bit and wear it as a top. And another great thing about this fabric, besides the smocking work already being done for you, is that this fabric is great for kids or adults alike. Sew, Sew easy!