More Racerback Dresses

There is something about an impending baby that makes you want to clean all the things. We’ve had some visitors this month so I figured it was as good a time as any to go through the list of areas I’ve been wanting to dejunk. One of those areas was my fabric stash. I went through it and made a big pile of fabric I figured I wouldn’t be using (most of it was free to me). Locally we have this really cool place that teaches sewing skills to kids and teens for free so I was able to send my fabric there and they said they’d use it up! Win for everyone!

While I was going through all that fabric, my girls kept coming in and asking me to make them some dresses.Sadly I haven’t been sewing much lately. I recently made a pouf and before that I had a failed attempt at a top for me. Having the girls ask for dresses seemed pretty reasonable. But when they asked, I was knees deep in fabric and then we had those visitors so I didn’t get around to it. Until yesterday. I was sitting at our computer when Greta came in and demanded that I make her a dress NOW! I don’t usually give into threats made by terrorists (no matter how cute they may be) but the truth is that I’ve really missed sewing but struggled to find projects that appeal to me. So I told her to hold back the sass, but sure, I’d start on a dress for her.

I wanted to make things as quick and easy as possible (and it was becoming increasingly obvious that when Greta said she wanted a dress NOW, she really meant 5 minutes ago). So I had the girls come in and I asked if they wanted a dress with sleeves or without sleeves. They both chose without sleeves so the Hey June Racerback Dress it was! (If they had chosen with sleeves it would’ve been the Waterfall Raglan from Chalk+Notch. They are just both patterns I already have printed and ready to go). Then I pulled out a few fabrics that would work for the dresses and they got to choose which one. They both eagerly chose this butterfly knit that I got for free quite a while ago. I had some plain yellow knit as well that worked great for the neck and arm bands (as well as the racerback piece on Greta’s dress). And a small scrap of orange-ish/red-ish fabric for the racerback piece on Wendy’s. And then I got to work.

It really must have been a very long time since I sewed in front of the girls because as soon as I cut the fabric out Greta asked if she could go put it in her drawer. Not done yet, little lady!

But despite Greta’s impatience, this project went together super quickly. I think from start to finish it only took me 2 1/2 hours to make both of these dresses. I really need to start writing seam allowance on my patterns because on projects like this, that’s the only reason I need to pull up the pattern file on my computer. I don’t really need instructions for anything else. So once I had the seam allowance, I just got to work. I’ve been trying to be more careful with my neck bands (and arm bands, in this case) so I’ve been sewing them on on my sewing machine first before I transfer them over to finish on my serger. They’ve been coming out a lot cleaner that way (who knew slowing down and being careful could make things look nicer???).

I’ve blogged about this pattern before (you can see those dresses here) but just a refresher that it’s a FREE pattern. Not all free patterns are created equal (and not all pay-for patterns are either, unfortunately), but this is an excellent pattern. It includes sizes 12 months to 8 years. The instructions are clear and concise. And in my unprofessional opinion, the drafting is very well done. I would say the trickiest part of the pattern is those neck/arm bands. But if you take it slow and pin, you shouldn’t have any issues.

When I last made this pattern (I think about a year ago), I made sizes 2T and 3T but each of my girls has gone up a size since then. I mentioned wanting to make this process very easy so rather than print out the 4T size for Wendy, I just used the 3T pattern for her and added 4 inches of length at the bottom. Total cheater method, but she is skinny so this actually worked very well for me, thank you very much. Other than that, I didn’t change anything to the pattern.

I finished sewing these dresses after the girls went to bed. In the morning, when it was time to get dressed, I busted out the new dresses. The girls were very excited! They happily put them on and even agreed to getting their hair done so we could take some pictures. Taking pictures of wiggly toddlers isn’t very easy (and I know my pictures reflect that!) but for some reason my girls love it and always ham it up for the photos (maybe they’d be easier to take if they weren’t so keen on making a show of it haha). In any case, the girls love their new dresses. And I was so happy to be sewing something! Our first Racerback dresses were a total success, so I know that these butterfly ones will also get plenty of use. Sewing makes me happy and having the clothes I sew actually be worn feels pretty good too!

Pattern: Hey June Handmade Racerback Dress
Size: 3T
Adjustments: Adding 4 inches of length to the bottom of my older girls dress
Fabric: Jersey knit from stash
Cost: free pattern; fabric and notions free/from stash
Would I make this again?: Definitely!

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