Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Make a Toddler's Dress from a Fleece Sweatshirt

A while back my very thoughtful husband found some size large adult fleece sweatshirts at a consignment shop. Since he knew I was making diapers he bought them thinking I could put them to use. Sadly, I tore the sweatshirts all apart just to find out they weren't really big enough to use for the size large diapers I was making.

Here I was with all this perfectly good cut up fleece. I couldn't throw it away!! A pile of fleece sat on my craft table for a few weeks until one day when I was moving things around I picked up one of the sleeves I had cut from the sweatshirt and Light Bulb!! I designed some warm fleece dresses for my 11 month old daughter.

Silly me..I didn't have a blog when I made these dresses so of course I didn't take step by step photos. I have tried to draw up some diagrams to show exactly what to do. This is a very easy project with very little finishing to do since you utilize the finished edges of the sweatshirt for the finished edges of the baby's dress.

The first step is to draw up a pattern for the toddler's sleeve that looks similar to the diagram below.

The first dress I made, the red and grey one, I only used rectangle shape for the sleeve and it just didn't fit quite right so I used a sleeve like the diagram above for the blue and grey dress.

Next, cut the sleeves off the adult sweatshirt right along the shoulder seam and then cut along the underarm seam from armpit to wrist on each sleeve. When laid out flat it should look like this. The adult sleeves will be the front and back of the dress.

If you have any scrap fabric you can applique a design on the front. I simply zigzagged around the hearts using scrap fleece. My son Yip actually designed the layout for the blue dress. I'm raising a little Calvin Klein!

Next lay the sleeve pattern along the bottom finished edge of the sweatshirt and cut out two. As the drawing shows you'll be using the white parts of the sweatshirt for the dress.

With the wrong sides of the front and back together sew shoulder seams using a 1/4" seam. This edge is already finished. Using any wider than 1/4" will result in a very bulky shoulder seam and neckline but this way you won't have to worry about finishing the neckline. Leave about a 7 inch opening for the neck hole.

Now find the center top of the sleeves and match to the shoulder seams. Sew sleeves on to dress so when laid out flat the dress looks like this.

Turn right sides together and sew underarm seams and side seams with 1/4" seam. You don't have to finish the sleeve hem because it is uses the finished edge of the sweatshirt. Now finish the hem. For the grey dress I simply turned the edge under 1/2" but I added some scrap fleece to the bottom of the blue dress.

I used a size large sweatshirt and it fits my 11 month old. I'm guessing that an x-large may fit a 18 month or 2 year old girl. You might want to just play around with different size sweatshirts to see what works. The average cost of each of these dresses was about three dollars. This dress could easily be made in a day or so. A nice, warm and cuddly dress for winter! This has inspired me to try to use the same idea for a summer dress without the sleeves. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

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