You need about 1 yard of knit for this little number! Start by finding a shirt or a dress that fits your child well. You will use this to determine how wide to make the main bodice of the dress. It will also determine the length, as the length of the bodice hangs about 1-2 inches longer than a T-Shirt. I folded my fabric, and put the dress on top to measure, and since I am using the fold, I will only have one seam to sew.
After cutting the bodice, you will need to cut a bunch of strips, here are the numbers and approx. measurements of strips
2 strips that are about 6 inches wide and 24 inches long (these are for the skirt, you can make them wider if you want the dress to be longer.)
4 strips that are 2.5 inches wide and about 14 inches long (these are for the ruffles along the top of the dress)
4 strips that are about 1.5 inches wide and 8 inches long (these are for the straps you tie in bows at the top of the dress)
Now, get out that sewing machine. Start with sewing up the side seam on your bodice piece. Sew the side opposite the fold. Put that aside...
Now grab the 2 skirt pieces, the ones that are 6 inches wide. Sew them right sides together on each of the short sides... this should create a large circular piece of fabric.
Now on to the gathering.... Here is how I do it, but you may have your own methods. Do what works best for you.
I set the stitch length on my machine to the longest length possible, this is usually a 4 or 5 on most machines. Then sew along the edge of the fabric, all the way around. DO NOT BACK STITCH!
When you are done sewing around the edge, find the end of the BOBBIN Thread, and gently pull. It should start to gather your fabric. Space the gathers out pretty evenly, keeping in mind you will need to adjust the gathers when you get to the next step.
Attach the skirt to the bodice. Start by pinning the skirt to the bodice so you can space out the ruffling from earlier so the skirt is the same size around as the bodice. Then attach them. Oh and don't forget to fix the stitch length on your machine before you start sewing this part!
Now more ruffling... get the 4 pieces of fabric that are 2.5 inches wide. And gather these on one side, just like you did with the skirt. I rounded off the bottom corners on each end of these ruffles with my scissors.
Take 2 of the ruffle pieces and pin them around the top of the bodice. I started in the middle front of the dress, having the ends of each ruffled piece of fabric overlap about 1 inch. This overlap will happen in the front and the back. Once it is all pined, sew it on to the bodice.
Time for the second ruffle! Lift up the top ruffle, and measure about 1-1.5 inches down to start pinning on the next layer of ruffles. Sew them on. I left all the edges raw, and I DIDN'T put right sides together because I wanted to see all the raw edges on the dress.
You are almost done! Get your last 4 strips, the ones that are about 1.5 inches wide. Find the center of your dress, mark the front and back. This next measurement will depend on the size or width of your child, but for mine, I pinned the straps on about 2.5 inches from the middle on each side... Do this for the back as well. Sew those straps on! (Lets try to ignore that huge bandage on my thumb. I get the stitches out today!)