Gathered Dress

This is a dress that's stylish and easy as pie to make. Mostly for a girl of today, but I could see Julie or Ivy swinging this. You could do it up shorter and make it a tunic were you so inclined.

So, whatchoo need?

Cloth -- go to JoAnns and get them to cut you a quarter yard of something. They'll be doing half the work for you! This is cheaper and easier than buying a fat quarter, I promise.
Thread -- pretty obvious, but this time, instead of any old thread, go get something in a nice color, something that really goes with your fabric. Or, do like I did and get several colors that mishmash together.
Sewing Machine -- This project will not work by hand.
Elastic Thread -- found at any craft store
Other sewing supplies -- Needles, scissors, so forth.

OPTIONAL: Ribbons, lace, extra cloth, or anything else to make up the straps.

This project has pictures of my sewing machine's inner workings in it. Please understand that my sewing machine is a vintage machine from the late sixties or early seventies. I don't really have an exact date, but it's old enough to come from the Sears and Roebuck company if that give you an idea. So, if you see something in my pictures that looks totally different from how your machine operates, don't freak out! If you get lost, consult the manual of your own sewing machine.

Cut that quarter yard you got into a piece twenty inches long. You can shorten it up a good two or three inches to make a tunic, or leave it as it is for a knee length dress.

Press a hem into the top and bottom.

Hem the bottom. Leave the top alone for a second.

Now, get out your elastic thread.

Elastic thread only seems hard the first time you use it. Honestly, if you can thread a sewing machine and sew in a straight line, you're good to go. Take the bobbin out of your machine, and wrap the thread around the bobbin as if you were adding thread to a bobbin by hand.

Pop that bobbin on in there.

Now, fish for your bobbin like you would any normal bobbin thread. See? Pops right out.

You are now ready to sew. Put in a new thread color if you like, and hem the top of your dress. You should notice the hem gathering up. Don't freak out, we want it to do that!

Put in a new color of thread if you want, and sew another straight line below the hem. Even though the cloth is gathering, pull it so that it's straight when it goes under the needle. You should notice it getting even more gather-ey!

Do five or six lines in the same way, one line below the other, pulling the cloth straight as it goes under the needle each time. You should end up with this:

A close up:

Now, go find the doll that this dress is intended for and strip them to their skivvies. Turn the dress inside out and pin it on your doll so that it fits. You may have to trim some cloth. Sara, an extra-fat PM doll, fits perfectly into her dress with no trimming.

Pin the sides of the dress together, then sew it up. This next part is optional but encouraged.

Use ribbon, lace, extra cloth (hemmed, naturally) or whatever else you've got on hand to make straps. First, put the dress on your doll inside out.

Now, pin the straps exactly where you want them to go. I'm pinning four ribbons to my dress to make tie straps. You do what you want.

Sew the straps in right on the hemline, using the same color you hemmed the dress in. MAKE SURE YOU STRETCH THE FABRIC AS IT GOES UNDER THE NEEDLE.

That should be it. Enjoy!