Step 1: To Make This Dress As Pictured You Will Need:
1 piece of 44/45" wide cotton fabric (see below sizes for length needed)
24" length of single fold bias tape
2 yards of ribbon for ties
OPTIONAL TRIM: 45" of each trim (enough to go across the width of the fabric). There are 2 different trims used here.
Fold the fabric in half, selvedge edges together. Cut off the selvedge edges so it doesn't cause puckering in the finished dress.
Cut the fabric to the length needed, using the following measurements. These measurements include a 3/4" hem allowance. Adjust the length if you want a larger hem allowance.
Step 2: Finish the Bottom Edge
Turn under 1/4" and then another 1/2" and press. If you want to add trim here, follow the OPTIONAL steps. If you don't want to add trim, you can stitch the hem that you just pressed and move on to the next step.
OPTIONAL: adding trim. Stitch "ball" trim on right side of the fabric, catching the pressed hem as you stitch. Add the grossgrain ribbon by covering the top of the "ball" trim. First stitch the bottom edge of the ribbon closest to the balls, making sure the ribbon covers the top of the ball trim, but leaves the balls hanging. Next stitch down the top edge of the grossgrain ribbon, stitching close to the edge of the ribbon.
Step 3: Stitch the Side Seam
With right sides together, stitch the side sem with a 5/8' seam. I recommend a zigzag or serged seam, or better yet do a french seam, as follows:
OPTIONAL: french seam. With wrong sides together, stitch a 3/8" seam. Turn fabric placing right sides together and line up the edge you just stitched, which is now a folded edge. Sew in 5/8" from the folded edge, enclosing the raw edges of the 3/8" seam. You will have a completely encased seam with no raw edges showing.
Step 4: Cut Out the Armholes
Fold fabric in half lengthwise. Mark the top and the side edge depending on the dress size you are making:
for 6 months to 2T: mark 1.5" in from the folded edge and 3" down from the top edge
for 3T to 4T: mark 2" in from the folded edge and 4" down from the top edge
Draw a curved line to connect the 2 marked points. You will cut both armholes with one cut so they will be exactly the same. Cut on the line, cutting through all 4 layers of fabric.
Step 5: Finish the Armholes
Cut the bias tape into 2 12" pieces. Open one folded edge of the bias tape. Place the bias tape along the edge of the armhole, right sides and raw edges together. Stitch 1/4" from the raw edge. Fold the bias tape over to the inside, making sure to encase the raw edge within the bias tape. Press this down and then stitch close to the folded edge of the bias tape. Repeat on the other armhole.
Step 6: Finish the Top Edges
Fold the raw edges at the top, first 1/4", then 5/8" to form a casing. Stitch across from armhole to armhole. Repeat this for the other top raw edge.
Thread 1 yard of ribbon through each casing. Pull the ribbon out an equal amount at each armhole to create gathers in the front and the back. Tie small knots at the end of the ribbons to prevent raveling.
Tie bows on the shoulders with the ribbon, adjusting the gathers as needed to get the right fit for the child and the dress is now ready to wear.