When it comes to making clothes for kids, the golden rule is to keep it simple. The beauty of this outfit by Louise Nichols is the neat A-line design that sits just above the knee, with a hook and eye fastening that allows for freedom of movement during playtime. It's also easy to sew, involving a few basic stitches. Try a fabric with a busy print that will conceal any marks gained from playing outside, which is still smart enough for parties and other occasions.
- Printed cotton (115cm wide), 1m
- Contrast fabric, 55cm
- Hook and eye fastening
- Decorative button
- To fit: ages two-four years
- Note: adjust hem length to suit the height
- MAIN FABRIC:
- Dress back: cut two
- Dress front: cut one on the fold
- Sleeve: cut four
- CONTRAST FABRIC:
- Front facing: cut one on the fold
- Back facing: cut two
- Pocket: cut one
- 1.5cm seam allowance used throughout, unless stated otherwise.
Download and print the pattern at sewmag.co.uk/templates. Cut out the pieces, referring to the cutting guide. Staystitch around each of the front facing and back facing pieces, 1.3cm from the edge. Sew the centreback seam of the back dress pieces up to the marking. Backstitch at the dot to reinforce the seam, and press it open. Stitch the dress front to the dress back at the shoulder seams. Press the seams open again.
Out of the four sleeve pieces cut, two are to be used as sleeve facings. Sew each sleeve to a facing piece around the curved edge, right sides together. Clip the curve and trim the seam. Turn the sleeves through to the right side, press and tack the open edges together.
Stitch the back facing sections together from the hem to the dot. Press the seam open. Sew the front and back facings together at the shoulder seams, and press the seams open again.
With the right sides together, pin the front facing to the dress front around the neck, matching the centre and shoulder seams. Stitch around the neck. Clip the curves and trim the seam. Turn through to the right side and press the neck seam. Pin the facing to the bodice to secure in place and topstitch 3mm from the edge around the whole bodice, including the back opening.
Fold the armhole hems and armhole lining hems over by 5mm, then pin the sleeves in between the two, matching the dots and placing the centre dot at the shoulder seam, so the open sleeve edge is inside the hems and the hems line up on both sides. Tack, then topstitch 3mm from the edge around the armholes.
Finish the top edge of the pocket, then sew using long stitches from notch to notch on the bottom curve, 1cm from the edge. Turn the top edge of the pocket over to the outside by 3.2cm and stitch the ends. Clip the top corners.
Turn the pocket through, then turn in the seam allowance around the rest of it, pulling the threads to adjust it to fit. Press and hand-sew the top hem in place. Position the pocket on the dress, pin and topstitch 3mm from the edge around it, backstitching at both top edges to reinforce the join.
Finish the bottom edge of the front and back dress facing, then pin the dress front and back sections, right sides together, at the side seams. Stitch these seams, trim away any excess lining under the armholes and press the seams open. Slip stitch the seams to the facing underneath the arms.
Press up the dress hem by 1.5cm, then tuck the raw edge inside the fold to meet the crease. Press and stitch the hem in place. Sew on a hook and eye at the top of the back opening and add a button to the pocket.