Monday, 23 July 2012


Aaah, the birds are singing, the sky has shed its usual sort-of-greyish colour for a gloriously glowing blue, and humans and Makies alike are out enjoying toasting their bones and, of course, looking faaaabulous at the same time!
Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Prof Plink prepares to leave the library and head into the great outdoors.

This tutorial will help you create a stunning sun dress with multiple possible customisable variations. It's so ridiculously simple that you can stitch one up by hand in half an hour... and probably in less than 5 minutes by sewing machine. But who wants to be inside with a sewing machine today, I ask you?!

I used some cotton scraps for this version but just about any fabric you've got lying around will be fine. If you're one of these people that doesn't have fabric lying around (weirdo), you can pick up 'fat quarters' of all sorts of fabric online. These are the perfect size for creating Makie clothing and are generally very economical; prices range from 50p to £4 ish. Quilting cotton is excellent for beginners. It's easy to sew, cheap and comes in all sorts of exciting prints.

Here's most of the things you'll definitely need, and some things you really, really won't:
Fabulous Sunny Sundress
The cake. OH, THE CAKE

Essential supplies:
  • Fabric. 
  • Thread in a matching (or contrasting!) colour. 
  • Needle, either hand or attached to a sewing machine. 
  • Pins
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic, about a 6 inch length (not shown cause I'm a muppet)
  • Ribbon

Optional but highly recommended supplies:
  • Penny Arcade D&D podcasts (for bringing the Jim Darkmagic Magic)
  • Earphones so's not to upset the neighbours with the above.
  • Glasses which are the correct prescription instead of  your six year old sunglasses which are not, therefore you cannot see out of them properly, isn't it time you got some new ones, you plonker. 
  • "High Tea" series carrot cake and complimentary teabag. 
  • A napkin to cover your horrible garden furniture, which was in the shed when you bought the house (the weather hasn't been nice enough this summer to consider replacing it!

First, cut your fabric into a 16cm by 16cm square. I find it easier to make a paper template to cut around, although you might like to draw straight on the fabric with some tailor's chalk. 

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Square cut, oh yeah. 
Making sure that your fabric is the right way up (so your birdies aren't flying in a funny direction), fold over 1.5cm at the top edge and pin. Sew close to the free edge to create a little tube at the top of the fabric; this forms your elastic casing and the top of the dress. Remember that your stitches will show on the outside here, so make 'em neat as you can!

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Make sure the birdies are flying the right way up on the main dress!
Next, fold in half, right sides together. The open edge will be the back of the finished dress. Sew along the back seam, stopping just below the elastic casing. 

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Fold in half to make the back seam. S
top sewing just below the elastic casing (facing towards us in this picture), leaving the tube open.
Turn up the bottom of the dress and stitch a neat hem. If you're feeling particularly lazy, you could glue this with some fray-stop. (If you're machine-sewing, you might find it easier to hem before stitching the back seam because of the small diameter tube.) 

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Instructions say a NEAT hem, Dr Duckie... 
Turn the dress the right way around. Feed your piece of elastic through the top casing. It may be helpful to put a safety pin on the end of the elastic to give you something to pull through. 

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Elastic threaded. Long tails make for easy tying. See what I mean about the stitching showing?
With both elastic ends sticking out of the dress, slide it on to your Makie and tie it above the bust so's it's nice and snug. Snip off the excess. The dress gathers at the back and your join will be nearly invisible, yaay! 

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Make sure you've got enough stretch in the elastic to get the dress on and off!
Snip off the loose ends close to the knot.
Nearly there! No woman likes looking like a sack of potatoes, so add a ribbon belt for some waist definition. You can simply tie this on, or add snaps and elastic. I've just stitched mine at the back.

Fabulous Sunny Sundress
Belt, check. Sunshine, check. Looking fabulous, CHECK!
And there you have it! Celebrate and bask in the sunshine!

The best thing about this dress is that it gives you a great base for some customisation and versatility. Try altering the skirt length; cut your fabric as a 16cm by 20cm rectangle for a maxi dress, or you could go to 12-14cm (depending how daring your Makie is!) for a miniskirted version. Play around with different fabrics, different waist ties and contrasting coloured stitching... or if you're really brave, why not try some embroidery?

Tomorrow, I'll show you a couple of neckline variations that'll be great for adding a bit of individual style, so don't throw away the rest of that ribbon!

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