I can’t wait to share this next project with you! My sweet friend and neighbor just gave birth to a little girl, and I decided to hand make a few gifts for her, including a onesie dress. They’re so cute and really easy to make. You will need a sewing machine, but even a novice sewer shouldn’t have any problem making this adorable dress.
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I started with a newborn short sleeve onesie. I went to my local Hobby Lobby and purchased 1/4 yard of fabric, everything else I had on hand. (Note: since I was making my dress for a newborn, 1/4 yard was enough for the length. If you’re making a dress for an older child you may need to purchase 1/2 yard so you can make it longer).
The first thing you want to do is look at your onesie, and decide where you want the waist, or top of the skirt, to be. Use a ruler to measure from the armpit seam to wherever you want the top of your skirt to be (I went down approximately 1.5″ on a newborn onesie). Use a pen to mark the spot, then measure down the exact same amount from the other armpit seam and make a mark on that side too.
Next, use a ruler to line up the marks and draw a line all the way across the front of your onesie connecting the marks under each armpit. Flip the onesie over and draw a line connecting the marks across the back of the onesie as well. You will now have a line going all the way around the waist of your onesie, and this will be your guide when attaching the skirt to the onesie.
I highly recommend using a Pilot Frixion Ball Erasable Gel Pen. You can write on fabric with this pen, and the marks disappear with the heat from an iron.
To figure out how much fabric you need for the skirt, lay your onesie flat on the table and measure the width right where you drew your line, from one side seam to the other side seam. (My newborn onesie measured 6″ across). Take whatever number you get, and multiply it by 4, and this gives you the amount of fabric you will need to wrap around your onesie. For example, since my onesie measured 6″ across, I multiplied it by 4 and got 24. So I need 24″ of fabric to create the width of my skirt.
The length of the skirt is less specific and can be adjusted to however long or short you want it to be. Where you decided to make the waist line on your onesie will also determine how long your skirt needs to be. Once you have your waist line drawn, lay your fabric on top of the onesie and decide how long you want it to be. Remember to leave extra fabric (at least 1 inch) to create a hem. You’ll also lose a little length when you attach the elastic to the top edge of your fabric as well. If you’re not sure, leave it a little longer than what you think you’ll need. You can always make a bigger hem or trim it a bit.
Next, make the bottom hem for your skirt. I folded the edge of my fabric a half inch and ironed it. Then folded it over once more and ironed again. So this gave me a half inch seam, but since I folded it twice, I used one inch of fabric to create the seam. Now sew your seam.
Now that you have your hem sewn on the bottom edge of your fabric, you’re going to attach the elastic to the top edge of your fabric. Place the fabric face down on your sewing machine, then place the elastic on top of the fabric, right at the top edge of your fabric. Put the end of both under the machine needle and sew a few stitches up and back to attach the elastic to the fabric just at the corner.
Now you’re going to pull on the elastic and stretch it as you sew it to the skirt. Stretching the elastic while you attach it to the skirt is what allows the fabric to be gathered and have some stretch once it’s attached to the onesie.
Now that your top and bottom seams are finished, we need to attach both side edges together. Lay the skirt fabric on a table, right side up, and fold it in half. Both sides should be touching now, with the back of the fabric on the outside. Sew your sides together to create the back seam, and there’s your skirt.
Now take your onesie and fold it in half length-wise, so the front of both sleeves are touching. The center of the back of your onesie should be right at the outside edge of the fold now. Make a mark on your skirt line right at the center of the back, so you know where to put your back seam. This way the back seam of the skirt will run right down the center of the back of the onesie.
Place the onesie on your table with the neck at the bottom of the table (so the onesie is upside down). Now turn the skirt inside out, and slide the onesie inside of the skirt until the top of the elastic is at the line you drew on your onesie, and pin the skirt in place. So your onesie is upside down, but the skirt is right side up and inside out.
Sew right down the middle of the elastic, attaching the skirt to the onesie, removing pins as you sew. Flip skirt over and there you have it.
At this point you can leave it as it is, or you can add an embellishment. I decided to attach ribbon across the front of the dress, turn the ribbon over at each end and stitch. Then hand attach with needle and thread at each end, then evenly space out two the three more spots and attach to the onesie. I then cut three flowers from a flowered trim I had and hand stitched them to the ribbon. I also made a matching headband.
I just love it and I can’t wait to give it to my friend along with the other things I made for the new baby!
*Note: If you choose a chevron or similar patterned fabric, you may need to take extra care to line it up properly along the back seam so the pattern runs seamlessly around the entire skirt. I recommend folding your fabric in half at the very beginning and lining up your pattern before you start making any cuts. Once you have your fabric pattern lined up, you can make straight cuts across the top and bottom and the pattern will line up nicely on the back seam.
If you have any questions let me know and I’ll try to walk you through it!
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