Don’t like tying ties? I find it a bit of a hassle as they cant tie them themselves if they come undone. Also not great for school swimming etc. So I have made a tie-less version! Since the front and back neckline are elasticated it will go on and off easily.
You can also choose to an elastic waist…or not for a loser fit.
What you’ll need
Fabric – Extra Piece for straps, you will need two at 5cm (2”) wide, the length is adjustable for the best fit. I used 20cm (8”) for a size 7.
Extra elastic for waist (optional) I used 3mm elastic x 53cm (21”).
Step 1 – See Stella Summer Dress Post
First up you need to check out my original Stella Summer Dress post. It has all the details you will need to get started. While cutting your fabric don’t forget to cut the extra two pieces for the straps. Complete up to Step 5 and head back over here to finish in this style.
Step 2 – Finish Armholes
Since we don’t need to make the ties we won’t need to use bias binding for the armholes.
Start by overlocking the armhole, overlock with the right side of the fabric facing up.
Head over to that trusty iron and press the seam over a little larger than the width of the overlocker seam.
Pin in place on the right side of the fabric.
Sew in place with a small seam allowance. Making sure you are catching the overlocked edge underneath. And that is the armhole finished!
Note: By folding over the seam the arm hole is larger than if you finished it with bias binding. This is good as it leaves the extra needed to fold over the neckline in place of using bias there (like in the original version). So if you want to bias edge the armhole you will need to bias the neckline too or add extra seam allowance to the neckline.
Step 3 – Create Neckline
Fold the neckline over by 1cm (3/8”) and press in place.
Fold over again by 2.5cm (1”) and press in place.
Sewing on the right side of the fabric use your machine guides to sew just under an inch from the top folded edge.
Step 4 – Prepare Straps
Press the pieces in half lengthwise with the right sides facing each other.
Sew with a small seam allowance (approx. 1/8”) turn around the right way and press! Then you should have two like above!
Step 5 – Attach Straps and Elastic
Feed you elastic into the neckline, making sure you leave a good tail sticking out.
Insert this tail into the strap you just made.
Tuck in about 1cm (3/8”) and sew the elastic in place. You can see the white stitches on the dark blue polka dot fabric.
Feed the elastic through a bit further until the end of the strap is inside the neckline by about 1cm (3/8”).
Sew in place using a straight stitch, sew close to the edge of the neckline on the right side of the fabric.
You can go over a couple of times for extra strength.
Repeat with the other side of the same strap. Attach the elastic and feed it through, sew in place just like the first side.
And again for the second side. Tip: use a pin to hold the elastic in place in the neckline to prevent it pulling the end inside.
Step 6 – Adding Elastic Waist (optional)
If you you want to add an elastic waist you will need to measure the child’s waist or go by an average size, plenty of charts online. Sew this measurement into a loop, making sure it is not twisted!! I like to sew the join in zigzag.
Find the middle of the elastic and mark. Hold the seam end folded together and the other fold will be the middle. This post has all the details on finding the middles of the elastic!
Place in a pin in the seam on both sides at the height you want the waist band. For my size 7 this was 14cm (5 1/2”). Next time I would like to try it a little higher up to give more a of a princess style…what do you think?
Pin the elastic in these two points in the seam. Use the elastic join on one seam and the pencil mark you made earlier on the other seam.
With all the gathers it is impossible to measure accurately from the top so measure from the bottom! Start at a pin and check the measurement, mine is 33cm (13”).
Then with the dress laying flat measure the same amount up from the bottom in three places and mark with a pin. Once all measured stretch the elastic from the side seams and line up the stretched elastic with the pins and pin in place. This makes sure the gathers are spread evenly.
Time to sew it on! Start at the side seam without the elastic join, sew and reverse a few stitches.
Pull from the next pin (you can see it sticking out from under the front of my thumb), and sew with a straight stitch. When you get near the pin stop and remove it and pull from the next pin, until you have sewn all the way around. Lastly reverse a few stitches to lock in place.
Here is the finished inside view! A synched in waist the easy way!