Keeping Up With the Jameses

Adventures in Modern Day Motherhood

Feelin’ Scrappy October 1, 2009

Filed under: 406 — mommyoffive @ 6:00 pm

P9200028P9190027aA little while ago I finished the skirt that caused all of the heartache with my sewing machine.  (It’s still plugging along, by the way, but I can tell it won’t last much longer.  Prayers would be appreciated.  😉 )  As I sat back to look at the scraps and try to figure out what to do with them, I thought, “Those look just like miniature skirt pieces.”  As luck would have it, I just happen to have a miniature person living with me right now, so I decided to give it a go.

Those of you who know me know that I have made several dresses for Elisabeth out of scraps, but I wanted this one to be a bit “dressier.”  I’ve also seen some fabulous onesie dress tutorials, but again, I wanted this to be more of a fancy dress than a play dress.

This is what I came up with.

It was a huge hit in church – everyone loved our matching mommy daughter dresses.

And now for the tutorial:  (Please bear in mind that this is my first tutorial.  And also that I can only sew at night when all of the kidlets are asleep and the lighting in my bedroom/sewing room is terrible, so the picture quality isn’t great.  I did the best I could.)

You will need:

one onesie

one cute baby girl

about two yards of ribbon

some scraps of fabric (Best if they’re left over from a clothing project for you – that way you can match!)

I started out with these scraps: P9180001

I sewed the two smaller pieces together, and then cut out two identical skirt shapes to be the front and back of the skirt.  (On the picture you can see that the skirt length is 12 1/2.”  I like longer skirts on babies – I hate seeing their diapers hanging out of their dresses – but after I finished I decided that 12 1/2″ is too long even for me.  If I were to do it again, I would make the skirt length 10 – 11.”)


Then I  sewed one side seam.

Time for the ribbon hem.  This is my all time favorite way to hem a little girl’s skirt.  It’s fast, it’s easy, it requires NO measuring and very little ironing – ah, the bliss of it all.  Here’s how you do it:

Put the ribbon along the bottom of the skirt, wrong sides together, centering your ribbon over the bottom edge.  (In this case it was centered over the serging.)  Stitch close to the top of the ribbon.  This is what both sides of the hem will look like at this point.  Notice that the ribbon is sewn to the wrong side of the skirt.


And now for the magic –  flip your ribbon over so that it in on the right side of the skirt, press, and topstitch close to the top of the ribbon.  Voila – a perfect hem with the raw (or serged) edge enclosed!  How easy was that?!  Now you can sew your other side seam.


Now to make the top of the skirt look cute.  Fold the top edge over about 3/4″ and press.  Measure around your sweet baby’s belly.  In case you don’t have a baby handy, Elisabeth just turned 4 months old and has a waist measurement of 17.”  Cut a piece of 3/8″ elastic to that measurement, minus one inch.  (1/4″ elastic would also work, but 3/8″ is what I had on hand.)

Mark your elastic into fourths.  Also mark the centers and sides of the skirt.

Sew the elastic onto the wrong side of the skirt matching side and center markings and using a long, wide zig-zag stitch.  You will need to stretch the elastic as you go to make sure that your markings line up.  The elastic should be covering your raw (or serged) edge with a small ruffle showing above it.


Now you need to find the centers of your onesie.  First fold it in half lengthwise, then widthwise.  Mark front and back centers, and the center line around the onesie.  (The onesie in the picture below really isn’t dirty, it just looks that way.)


Put the onesie inside of the skirt, matching sides and centers, with the wrong side of your skirt on the right side of the onesie.  Center the elastic on the marked line on the onesie, matching sides and centers.  Sew along the center of the elastic using a fairly long stitch, stretching just a bit as you go so that the dress will have enough stretch to fit over your baby’s head.


Almost done!  But I don’t like way the zig zag stitches are showing.  It still looks unfinished to me.  So…

Let’s make some belt loops!  Take a longish strip of material (about 1 1/2″ wide by 10″ long if using 5/8″ ribbon), fold it in half, and sew down the long end.  Turn, press, you know the drill.   Cut your strip into fourths and sew them onto your dress, making sure to center them over the ugly zigzag stitching so the ribbon will cover it.  (I wasn’t sure how to describe sewing on the belt loops, so go get a favorite pair of jeans and look to see how they’re sewn on.)


Put a ribbon through the belt loops, accessorize (in this case a bow at the neckline and a yo-yo for the headband), and you’re done!


Now go try it on your cute but very sleepy baby.


If anything isn’t clear, leave a comment and I’ll try to do a better job of explaining it.

What do you do with your scraps? Let the blogosphere know by entering Sew Mama Sew’s Scrap Buster Tutorial Contest.

Happy sewing!


16 Responses to “Feelin’ Scrappy”

  1. renee Says:

    Too cute! I don’t have a little girl to match with though. 😦 I do like to make matching outfits for my two sons though. one is 13 yrs and the other just turned 2 yrs.

  2. […] Up with the Jameses wanted a “fancier” version of a baby onesie dress. She wrote this Scrappy & Fancy Baby Onesie Dress Tutorial as she worked on her daughter Elisabeth’s dress, and entered the tutorial in our contest. […]

  3. nopinkhere Says:

    I LOVE the ribbon hem. I was just thinking about adding skirts to some of my girl’s onsies (especially the ones where I’ve already appliquéd something on the front) so this is extremely timely. Thanks!

  4. PJS Says:

    Oh what a lovely idea! I happen to have a gorgeous miniature person living with me too, I’m sure she would appreciate the this tutorial if she was old enough to do anything but gargle and blow bubbles at me!!

  5. Katie Says:

    Hi There! I found you through Sew Mama Sew. I have a 12 week old baby and some scraps from a skirt I made a couple weeks ago. I’m thinking those scraps would be perfect for this! Thanks!

  6. […] Cute baby onsie dress tutorial If we have another girl, I am definitely going to make this. Share and Enjoy: […]

  7. juliecache Says:

    adorable! love the ribbon hemming trick!

  8. Liberty Says:

    I linked this post on my Blog Roll!! I LOVE it !! Thank you so much! :))

  9. Becky Says:

    you are one smart and resourceful Mommy! i love this idea and our tutorial is very clear to me. Thanks!

  10. […] made it using the tutorial I saw during Scrap Buster Month at Sew, Mama, […]

  11. Add me to the list of those who love this. :>) I linked to it on my roundup of favorite scrap buster projects – the post is under my name. Thanks so much!! (PS – I love the ribbon hem, too!)

  12. melissa Says:

    So cute. I made matching dresses for my 16-month-old and my 2-month-old. They came out adorable. I love the ribbon hem, but had to leave off the belt due to lack of time, I wanted them to wear for a family outing. Thanks , I have 2 more onesies from the pack that I will be making into dresses.

  13. […] (A friend referred me) and here are some of the onesie dress tutorials I looked at.  1, 2, 3 and 4.   The stuff I made up is a bit harder to reference for you.  It mostly deals with how I stuck […]

  14. Kristin Says:

    I realize you posted this a long while back…I’m just now coming across it and this fabulous ribbon hem idea but I’m new to sewing and having a hard time understanding it completely. I don’t have a serger so would my hem I’m enclosing be unfinished? And i put the ribbon over THAT?

    I think you should do a youtube to explain it to me. 🙂 LOL

    Thanks for the tutorial, by the way. I’m loving having a little girl after two boys. She’s the reason I’m learning to sew!

  15. Denice Says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.

    I am trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its
    ok to use a few of your ideas!!

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