Merida dress tutorial

It´s been quite a long time I showed you the Merida costume I made for my daughter. After being asked be several ladies how to make it, I have finally prepared a tutorial that I would like to share with you today, at the occasion of Halloween! I have not taken any pictures while sewing that dress - I was in a hurry as usual... Well, I will explain the whole project step by step. However, where I suppose you could have a problem to understand, I add some sketches for you to clarify.

As you will see, it was really not difficult to make. Read my instructions and I am sure you can do it as well! 
Well, let´s start! 

The dark blue part of the dress:

I used the dark blue stretch velvet as the main fabric. Pay attention when cutting the velvet: you always have to cut in the same direction, otherwise the different parts of the dress will look like made from different colour of fabric! If your material does not ..., you do not have to serge it. Otherwise, you will prefer to serge/zig-zag stitch it as you go.
The main body of the dress is made of 4 same parts: two front pieces and two back pieces. So first you have to make the pattern for that. Later on you will sew the sleeves and attached them...

1/              First of all, make a quick pattern of the dress by folding a tee in half and tracing around it. The bodice is in fact much like a simple tee except there is the zipper on the back. You need to draft just one piece that corresponds a half of the front/back part.
2/               Measure the length from the shoulder to the waist of your child. You need to know where the waist will be. Mark the waist on your pattern. Fro the waist down, you will draft the skirt. The skirt and the bodice is cut as one piece. The skirt is an A-line skirt. Measure the your child´s legs - the skirt should go to her ankles. You have to cut that pattern piece four times while adding the seam allowances all around. 
3/         Sew the two front parts together while leaving a few centimeters unsewn on the top. Press the seams open. Topstitch around the slot to prevent the seam allowance from moving. Then sew the two back parts together while attaching the zipper. Use a zipper that is long enough to assure the comfyness. It should go at least to the hips.

4/         Then sew the front and back pieces together at the shoulder seams.

5/         If possible, put the dress on your daughter to verify the measurements. Pin the side seams on her and then sew them. Press the seams open.

6/         Use the ribbon or the bias tape to finish the neckline while still leaving that small opening on the front. Put the eyelets on both sides of that opening.

7/        Now draft the sleeve pattern either using the same tee you used to draft the bodice or using the pattern of the bodice. Make sure the length of the sleeve is accurate. Then mark the two large strips on the pattern. One of them should be where your child´s elbow is. Cut these off. Your sleeve pattern is done.

8/         Prepare 16 straps of the same length as the width of the strips you cut off. They should be large enough to be folded twice. Fold your straps in half and then fold them again. Stitch the bords together.
9/         Cut the parts of the sleeves from the fabric adding the seam allowances. Stitch the ends together to form the circles representing the different parts of the sleeves. Hem both sides of each circle. Connect them together by attaching the narrow straps you prepared in step 8.
10/        Place your sleeves inside your dress, pin them and stitch. You have finished the main part of the dress. Now you will just add some small but important details.

Off-white part of the dress

I used the polyester normally used for the lining of the skirts/jackets etc. as I found it in my stash. It would be very nice if you use the white/off-white/light grey/cream satin. You have 2 options: you can sew the whole blouse with the ruches at the bottom of the sleeves and around the neckline and then to stitch it to the dress. Or you can sew just the ruche around the neckline and the sleeves. That´s what I did as I did not have enough fabric. So here´s how I proceeded:

1/         Sew the two sleeves. You can use the same sleeve pattern but you have to cut it much larger to have the desired effect. Sew a ruche at the bottom of each sleeve. Put your sleeves inside the dress sleeves and stitch them together on the shoulders, as well as at the bottom.

2/         Prepared the ruche, fold it horizontally and attach it to the neckline. 
Your dress is done. Put some ribbon to the eyelids and voila! Your princess can go to the party!

Happy sewing.


NB: If you use my tutorial, I would appreciate if you send me the pictures (by email via contact link or copy & paste the link to your blog or post the pictures on my Facebook profile... There are other ways, of course... 


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