Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the Lemon Squeezy Home: The Poppy Dress Tutorial

had so much fun browsing online for beautiful poppy images. I wish I lived somewhere with poppy fields!


Let’s make this Poppy Dress, shall we? The dress portion is very easy and sews together quickly. While adding the poppies takes longer, it’s a great touch!

You’ll Need:

-fabric (how much depends on your measurements you’ll get below) *I used white cotton fabric, but the turquoise you see pictured behind Miss B would look great with orange poppies! **Please note: thicker fabrics and doubled layers tend to shirr a lot less, so the thinner your fabric, the better it will shirr**

-orange thread

-thread matching fabric

-elastic thread

-marking tool, optional




-fusible interfacing (I didn’t use any, but it might be good to back the sewn-on poppies)



Take your measurements. B is 2 1/2, but a little large for her age. I’ll give you the information you need to make this dress for any size, but also the dimensions I used for my dress.


First, measure around the chest, just under the arms. B’s was about 21”. This is for the large rectangle used for the dress portion. Add at least half that number. **Remember, it is better to add more than less, depending on how tight your fabric shirrs.**DSCF5817

Next, determine the length you need. I wanted to make a dress, so I measured from her neckline to her knee, giving me about 17”. You could shorten it for a shirt. Add about two inches to that measurement for hemming.May 2011

I only added one inch to the length measurement because I planned on using the selvage edge for the top of the dress.DSCF5826

SO, for the dress portion I cut a 32” x 18” rectangle.


Measure from just below the armpit in the front, to just below the armpit in the back. B’s was about 11”. This is for the shoulder straps. Add at least half that measurement to the length. Also determine the width you would like. I wanted 3” wide straps, so I cut my two strap pieces 4” x 16”. May 20112

Ok, now that your fabric is cut, let’s move on!DSCF5827

If the top edge of your dress fabric piece isn’t the selvage edge, then fold over 1/4”, then another 1/4” and sew. You could also serge, then fold down 1/2” and sew. DSCF5675

Since I used the selvage edge, I just started to shirr. Wrap the elastic thread loosely around the bobbin (research online to see if your machine is the best candidate for shirring this way). Set your thread length to the longest stitch (mine is only a 4). You’ll want to sew on the RIGHT side of the fabric, so the elastic thread is on the wrong side. I just used my pressure foot edge to guide how far apart I wanted the shirring lines. DSCF5836

Shirr, shirr, and shirr some more. I left a 1” gap for design after shirring for rows. Shirr as far down as desired, and whatever pattern you desire. You might just want to do row after row and not leave a gap, how most dresses are that have shirring. DSCF5837

Wrap your now shirred rectangle around the person who will be wearing it and determine how much you need to take off. Do not cut it until you sew it! You don’t want to loosen up that elastic thread! After sewing, try it on again to make sure it’s how you like. Then cut away any excess.DSCF5838

I serged mine, but you could sew it and then zig-zag the raw seam edges if you are worried about fraying. You can see how I kind of slowly tapered out, so the bottom portion of the dress under the shirred part was a little bigger. DSCF5839

Hem the bottom of the dress as desired. DSCF5831

On to the straps. Fold over the long side 1/4”, then 1/4” again and sew each long edge. I serged, folded, and then sewed.DSCF5841

Shirr all or just a part of the sleeves. When you leave it like this pictured below, you get a nice ruffle on the edge.DSCF5842

Try it on and pin the straps in place, being careful not to poke them with the pins while taking it off!DSCF5843

Sew straps in place, and the dress is finished. Time to add those poppies!DSCF5844

Take your felt and draw a whole lot of circles.DSCF5852


You can make them whatever size you please, but here is about the size of mine.DSCF5847

Using the tweezers to hold the circles…DSCF5854

start burning the edges with your lighter. See how the edges are just slightly darker? DSCF5855

I like the swiftly burn over the top of the circle as well. It makes it have more color, plus it starts to curl the circle edges more, making it look more like a petal, in my opinion.DSCF5853DSCF5856

Pin them on in place. (If you opted to use fusible interfacing, iron those on inside the dress where you will be sewing the flowers on.)DSCF5859

Sew a line through each poppy. If you are worried about them being pulled off, sew around each circle. You could add beads, but I was afraid it would make it less washer-friendly if I did that.DSCF5860DSCF5861

Thanks for letting me join in the Color My Summer series! Yay for COLOR andSUMMER!