Annoucement: I recently made a biggggg mistake and managed to delete all of my blog photos. I am working to get them all back up asap. Please bear with me, and if you have any questions on tutorials, please feel free to email me and I will try to help you out as best as I can...Thanks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Little Nora Jane Twirl Dress Tutorial

I shared this dress last week over at Positively Splendid, and wanted to re-post for any of you who missed it.  It was inspired by this dress. If you make one, I would love to see it!  Would you please post it to my Flickr group.

It's a little big for my model because it was made for my usual model, Sophie, who wears a 5t, but she refused to put it on since we had company.  Lucky for me though, my friends dd, who is quite a bit smaller than my Sophie, wanted to do it!  This tutorial ended up a lot longer than I expected, but it is really easy despite the miles and miles of explanation, so don't be afraid when you look at it!  It doesn't take nearly as long to make as it does to explain!

First you need to cut out all the pieces.  

For the front bodice, I just traced a bodice I had from one of her favorite dresses, anything you like will do.  You can use a bodice pattern you have already, whatever.  If you want to use mine, you can download it here.  It's a size 5t, but you can go up or down a couple sizes by adding or subtracting about 3/8"  for each size up or down you want to go.

For the back bodice, I cut a rectangle that was her chest size (22") x the height of the side of the front bodice plus 1/4" for the top hem (2 3/8" + 1/4" = 2 5/8").  So, my back bodice piece was 22" x 2 5/8".

For the bottom ruffle, 4- WOF x 7" pieces.
*For sizes larger than 5t, you may want to use 6 pieces* 

*WOF=width of fabric*

For the casing, 2- 1.5" x 12" pieces.

For the ties, 2-  WOF x 1" pieces.  

For the skirt,  you will need to cut a lopsided circle skirt.  
First, you will need some measurements.  I am going to put the measurements I used in as an example.  Here we go!  These are the measurements you need:

~chest measurement (22")
~measurement from empire waist point to hips in front and add .75 (9.75" front skirt length)
~measurement from empire waist point in back to bottom of calf then subtract 5.75" (13.25" back skirt length)

Got it?  Good!  Now for some more fun math stuff...don't get scared....Seriously, it's really easy, just take it one step at a time!

divide your chest measurement by 6.28

Ex: 22/6.28 = 3.5 (this is your waist radius)

now multiply that by 2

Ex: 3.5 x 2 = 7

You still with me??  Good!  Cause this is the last {math} step!  Add that to the other two measurements 

Ex:  7 + 9.75 + 13.25 = 30"

So, to cut your circle skirt you will need a 30" x 30" square of fabric.  Fold it in half, then in half again, so that it's quartered into 4 equal squares.

See how mine is now folded to make 4 - 15" x 15" squares...

Now you will take that last number you had...mine was 30, and divide it by now I have 15. Measure from the center point of your fabric.  This is the corner that has NO raw edges.

Make as many marks as you need until you can draw a nice arc...always starting your measurement from the center point.

Once you have made enough marks, draw your arch, and cut it out...

I like to pin it so it doesn't shift around, but it's not really necessary, but like I said...I'm a little OCD...  

Once you open it back up you should have a circle.  Usually for a circle skirt you would cut the hole for the waist before opening it up, but we are going to make it lopsided...

If you are working with stripes, you will want to turn the circle so that the stripes will be running opposite from the way they run on the bodice.  

Now take the back length measurement, and measure in from one side...I find it easiest to use my cutting mat and line the bottom edge up with my ruler at the length I need then fold at the zero...

Like this...  The short side is the front, and the longer side is the back.  Make sure to line up the front and back creases so that your skirt will be even.

Now fold it in half the other way (with the "sides" together)

Now measuring from the center point, just like the first circle you cut, measure in your waist radius (3.5" for mine), draw your arch and cut it out.  Before you unfold it, mark the front & back center and sides of the bottom edge and waist edge some how...pins, fabric marker, finger press, whatever, just be sure to mark them.

Last, you will cut 2 bias strips 3" x  24".  You only need these if you are using my bodice.

Fold your fabric like this to find your bias line...  That length is pretty long usually (longer than my ruler at least), so I fold it in half. 

Then, cut my strips...You'll need to cut the points off...

Woohoo!  Your dress is all cut out, and you can start construction!! (choirs of angels singing)  hehe...  

Start with the right bodice piece.  Stack two on top of each other.  You will want both RS facing when worn both RS of the fabric will be facing AWAY from the body.  Stitch the center side using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Mark the overlap point, and stack the two left sides the same as the right.  Then overlap it onto the right side of the bodice.  This is how they will be sewn together.

It should look like this.

Now fold your 3" bias strips in half lengthwise and press.  Then fold the raw edges inside to meet the center crease.  Next, sandwich the armholes inside the bias tape; pin; edge stitch the entire length of the bias tape closed.  This finishes your armholes and creates your halter straps.  Now finish (serge, overcast, zigzag) the bottom and side edges of the bodice.

Next, do a narrow or rolled hem on the top edge of the back bodice piece, and finish the side and bottom edges.  

Pin front and back bodice together at side seams (RS facing).  Stitch, and press seam to back.  

 Shirr the back of the bodice, but do NOT steam until AFTER you attach the skirt.  This makes the bodice and skirt just about the same size and much easier to pin together.  I started shirring 3/8" down from the top and worked my way down, shirring every 3/8" to about 3/8" above the bottom.  You want your bottom row of shirring to be as close to where the skirt seam will be as possible.

Now with RS together, match the center front and back and sides of the skirt to the center front and back and side seams of the bodice; pin; stitch; press up and steam your shirring. 

You will want to use some sort of stretch stitch here.  My machine has one that looks like this, but a narrow zigzag will work just as well.

Now matching the side seams, fold the circle in half again and fan it out.  Use pins to mark a spot just about where the pink "x" is (I actually did mine almost dead can probably see the pin if you click on the pic to make it bigger, but I think it needs to back more like where I put the "x"  Use your judgement...that's the fun of diy right?  do what you like!).  Then, use a fabric marker to mark 3/4" to either side of the pin.

Later, your casing strips will fit in between those marks like this...

Now, stitch your four bottom ruffle strips together to form a ginormous tube.  Press the seams open.  Do a narrow or rolled hem at the bottom.  Then, run two basting stitches right next to each other along the top edge.  Pin each of the seams to the center front, center back, and sides of the circle skirt. Then, pull the bobbin threads to gather the ruffle until it is evenly spaced and the same size as the circumference of the circle.  Pin in place; stitch ~ making sure to leave openings where you marked off for the casings & don't forget to reinforce where you start and stop! Finish the edges; press seam up.

Measure 3/4" back from the side seam and lay the casing down (don't forget to finish the edges of the casing since they will all be exposed).  It should go from the bodice to the bottom of the circle skirt.  Pin in place.  The casing should go through the opening between the bottom ruffle and the skirt, and the circle skirt should be folded up.  You should also have 1/2" of casing fabric hanging over the edge of the circle skirt so that you can stitch it to the bottom ruffle later and close up the hole.

Start stitching right at the edge where the circle skirt is folded up.  Only stitch the sides, and be very careful not to catch the bottom ruffle.  After you stitch the sides, pin the 1/2" of extra casing fabric to the 1/2" seam allowance of the bottom ruffle and stitch in place being very careful not to catch the circle skirt.

I used a pin to hold the circle skirt up to make sure I wouldn't catch it...  Then, stitch down the center to form two channels for the ties to go up and down.

Now press your ties, the same way you did for your bias strips, and edge stitch them closed.  Then, use a small safety pin to feed them up one side of the casing and down the other, and tie off the ends.

It should look like this when you are done.  I do a stitch to tack the ties at the top of the casing so I don't have to worry about it getting pulled out and possible a strangulation hazard, and I am done!

Now let your little girl can twirl to her hearts content!


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Cherie said...

So cute!
The ties on the side are my favorite part.

Rachel said...

This is very cute! I love that the ties can be left down or cinched up for 2 completely different looks.

Tanya @ Greetings From the Asylum said...

My daughter would love a dress like this! Thanks for sharing!

Zoe said...

This is adorable- that little girl looks so happy to be wearing that twirly dress!

Jess@Balancing The Dream said...

this is soo incredibly beautiful!! if i had an ounce of your sewing talent i would be attempting this right now!! great job! :)

Jill said...

That dress is just beautiful! And your tutorial makes it look so easy!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Jennifer Smith said...

Seriously, could you be any more talented?!! Thank you for letting Adriana be your model for the NORA Jane dress. She LOVED every minute of it! I think her favorite part was twirling in it over & over again.
This dress is sure to put a smile on any girls face!

TheWifeLife said...

So cute! I think it looks better than your inspiration.

Sharon Johnson said...

I'm not a sewer so I don't know if I can tackle whit but I will sure try. This is adorable.

Edna said...

Oh My Gosh! That is so freakin' cute! It is Adorable with a capital "A"! Makes me wish I had a little girl :-(
Am now following you, would appreciate a "follow back" Edna

Karena said...

I love this. So precious.

BluBabesCreate said...

Darling! Perfect for my four girls! Come see a dress shirt skirt!

Shannon said...

I'd have loved to have a dress like that when I was a kid! I'd even love to have one now! So very cute!

Abby said...

What a fun dress for a little girl! Love it!

Michelle@Somedaycrafts said...

I'm LOVING this dress. So cute and fun! My daughter would love one of these. I am featuring this at Grab my "featured" button.

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

I love this dress!!! I love it love it love it! Thanks so much for sharing a tute :)

Marci said...

adorable! I wish I knew how to sew more than crepe paper ruffles!!

Crystal said...

This is beautiful and your tutorial makes it sound so "do-able"! Thank you so much for linking up! I will be featuring this tonight on my blog! Have a wonderful weekend!:)
Homemaker in Heels

Blue Velvet Chair said...

adorable dress. I am blusting (blog lusting) over it for my daughter!

Anonymous said...

I'm hooked! I am a new blog follower because of this awesome dress. Great job!!

Kelly said...

This is so adorable! Great job!!

Ladybird Ln said...

So fun, I love how it can have two different views. And the spinability is definitely a plus!


Aleks said...

this is beautiful. ill be trying this soon.

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

this is stunning April! you have skills :)

Thanks for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday!

sisters4saymoreismore said...

oh my goodness!! this is ridiculously cute!!!


visiting from kojo designs friday fun finds...

Karen G. said...

ADORABLE!! You are so talented! I cannot wait to give this a try! If there are any more Paper Wings dresses you want to do a tutorial for I'd love to see them--there's a couple I've been drooling over!

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

Thanks so much for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday last week, I featured this today!! Come by and grab a button :)

Georgine said...

Hi, what does WOF mean? I am new to sewing and haven't a clue. My girls would love a twirly dress, and I would like to try this. Thanks for the help!!!

April said...

@Georgine WOF= width of to see your dresses when you are done! You can add them to my Flickr group if you like!

April said...

@Georgine WOF= width of to see your dresses when you are done! You can add them to my Flickr group if you like!

Rachel at Sun Scholars said...

What an adorable girl (I mean dress!!) and fab tutorial!!! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing this post at For the Kids Friday at Sun Scholars. I loved it SO MUCH, that I've featured it this week. Stop by and grab an A++ button, and share with us again! YEAH! :)

TheAccidentalCrafter said...

Oh I love this dress, I think it'll be perfect for a wedding too. I can't find your bodice pattern to download, is it still available? I love the crossover on the front.

jcs.crew said...

I love this tutorial! It was super easy! I did some of my own "alterations"... instead of using your bodice I cut off a long sleeved t-shirt for the top. I found this and thought it would be perfect for a (to quote my 4 year old) "princess witch". So I bought some super sparkly black fabric and basically just did the skirt portion. It's darling! Thanks for your work and sharing! jala

Mrs M said...

Oh no where have the photos gone for this dress? It is the most beautiful I have seen for a while. Can't wait for my little one to be big enough to enjoy it.

April said...

Well, as it turns out, my smartphone is smarter than me, and I deleted them all, but no worries, I will be uploading more asap!

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