I'm trying to swallow my nervousness about writing a sewing tutorial, because there are about a bajillion people who know more about sewing than I do, so I'm putting this out into the universe with the caveat that I'm sure there are 47 ways to do this other ways. Here's my way!
This tutorial was made as a size 4Tish. To make this in other sizes, remember that the ribcage measurement doesn't change much and since this is gathered and elastic at the top, you won't need to add or trim a lot there. The length is the variable that changes more in-between sizes. I'd measure from armpit to knee and add seam allowances.
If you'd like to make a similar Maypole Dress, you'll need:
- two straps. Mine are 8" long, width variable, mine are 1.5" wide and tubular-- made from three scraps
- scraps to make the Maypole section, as long as your dress sections. Width variable, mine is 2.5"
- one panel for the dress body. Mine is about 35" x 20"
- optional lining panel, same size as dress body
- elastic, width of intended wearer's ribcage, in this case about 23"
- sewing supplies, like an optional motivational partnering 3.5 year old to whom you can say repeatedly "DO NOT STEP ON MY PROJECT. Please." And you move a little faster on the project just to get things out of their way.
Start by stitching your scraps together as you like. I didn't use any specific widths, just laid them out and stitched them together. I used a serger throughout this project, but it's certainly not required. Press all of the seams toward the end that you want to be on the bottom hem.
Pretttty. This is by far my favorite part of quilting. And no batting to deal with. Aaaah.
Line up your Maypole with the bottom of your dress panel, right sides together, pin if you like and stitch.
Flip the other end of your dress panel around so that the right sides are again together. Line up the bottom hem so that it matches on each side of the Maypole. I let my Maypole hang about 1/2 inch longer. I used a body panel that already had a rolled-hem edge, but that's just one option. If you have a rough edge you'll just fold and hem next.
Now I folded the bottom edge of the Maypole to match the length of the body panel and stitched. There was already some embroidery on that scrappy bit. I love the little bit of texture. If you have a rough edge along the hem, now's the time to hem it.
If you're going to line your dress, which was necessary with the white cotton I'm using, fold your lining panel right sides together and stitch a seam to create a tube. If you're not using an edge that's already finished, go ahead and hem it.
I decided that I wanted my lining to peek out at the bottom. A design decision. But either way, if you're lining it, turn both tubes inside out and slide your lining tube inside your outer layer. If you don't want your lining to show, scoot the inner tube further in. At least an inch inside. I had turned my inside layer the wrong way. Note to self: oops.
Lay your tubes flat, checking to make sure it's squared up on all sides, and trim your top edges a bit so that they're nice and even. If you're not lining your dress, you can skip this. But your Maypole should be trimmed at the top to be flush with your top edge. I do not like the word "flush". But I can't think of another way to say that. Maybe I need a coffee refill. Or maybe I should have stopped a cup ago. I can only imagine that many Mormon non-caffeinated crafters must shake their heads a bit when the caffeine-addicted expose their issues. But I'll move on.
Attempt to evenly pleat either side of the Maypole so that your inner tube and outer tube are the same circumference. Pin and stitch straight stitch (or serge without pinning) all the way around the tubes to join them. A little fabric marriage.
Fold the top edge down 1/4 inch or so and press. This will give you a nice edge when you...
Flip it over.
Sew a casing almost all the way around into which you'll thread your elastic.
Stitch the elastic loop closed and let it slide into the casing. I had backstitched the ends of my casing so that the threads wouldn't unravel, and I didn't go back and close it. And I'm not worried. It's not going anywhere, and it's not easy to see. I'm totally cheating. And I don't feel bad about it.
The top of your Maypole ends up getting topstitched in this scenario. If you're anti-topstitch, you can skip over it as you make your casing and then handstitch from the back. If you care. I don't. Clearly.
Lay your straps where you'd like them. I like to flatten the front section so that there's no gathering between the straps.
Straight stitch right over the casing's stitching line and then zig zag the rough edge. Alternately you could straight stitch on the same casing line from the inside. I try to catch the elastic in the stitches so that it won't slide around on the front side and gather in the middle.
The pieced straps I've used here make it easy to hide some sneaky stitches to keep the straps flat against the dress. If you used one solid piece of fabric you'll want to do a few handstitches or use some fusible interfacing between the strap and the dress to keep the casing from flipping.
The straps can be attached the same way in the back, or differently. On this one I attached them inside. I like to spice things up. I know, I know. I'm getting crazy. I need to simmer down.
Now put your dress on your 3.5 year-old who has skipped a nap. And don't expect cooperation, because you know better.
And a jumpy photo. In case you like it even MORE in mid-air.
And there you have it. Kari's brilliantly-named Maypole Dress. This one is on its way to her! Happy May Day, everyone!