I’ve had several requests for an explanation of how the peasant dress underneath the apron dress and tab-front dress is made. Honestly, it's so dead easy I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how to do it. (But I will anyway:) Here goes:
The green dress was made from one yard of fabric. The red gingham dress, 1 1/2. My daughter is 36" from shoulder to ankle.
Iron your fabric and straighten the cut ends.
To cut out the dress:
Decide on the depth of the ruffle, then add ½” for a narrow hem and enough for a seam allowance at the top. (Mine were 3 ½” total.) Clip the selvedge edge of the fabric and tear or cut off two strips for ruffles.
Decide how long you want the sleeves to be. Add 1” for a double fold hem at the top and bottom. I wanted 6” sleeves, so I tore a 7” strip. Clip the selvedge edge and tear or cut off one strip for both sleeves. Don’t cut this in half yet.
What you have left will become the front and back of your dress. (Make sure when tearing all the other stuff off that you don’t end up with a dress that’s unacceptably short, or you’ll be adding ruffles of some other fabric to make up the length.)
To construct the dress:
Join the ruffle together to make one continuous strip. Turn up ¼” twice and make a narrow hem. Using a ruffler attachment or gathering by hand, make this strip into a ruffle.
Turn under ¼” twice on top and bottom of the large block (dress) and small block (sleeves) and hem.
Cut the dress piece in half, lengthwise, as shown in the pattern layout. Cut the sleeve piece in half lengthwise.
From each of the four pieces you now have, cut the top corners. This should be a right isosceles triangle, with the 90 degree corner on the fabric corner. The hypotenuse will be on the fabric bias. My hypotenuse for a size 4 was 4”. (Whoa, did that sound exceedingly technical? This handy picture will explain.)
You may have to experiment with this length. Too short, and the neckline pulls too far down in front and back. Too long, and it’s too high on the neck. This will leave you with four rectangles with no top corners.
Now sew the whole thing up, making a square. Dress front—sleeve—dress back—sleeve—like this:
Next, sew one side seam, from the sleeve hem all the way to the dress bottom. Attach the ruffle at the bottom and sew the other side seam.
Now you have what looks like a big T-shirt. Get your shirring elastic and run two rows of shirring around the neckline, the sleeve hems, and where you want the waist to be.
That’s it. Telling you how to do it made it seem a lot harder than it actually is. Once you know how, you’ll be making one of these to go under everything. Variations on this, of course, are endless. You can make longer sleeves, change the skirt, add more ruffles here and there, and so on. Shorter, and you’ve got a top, hip length and you’ve got a tunic....
Okay, I’m stopping now. Have fun!