Thursday, April 15, 2010

Charlotte tutorial

Okay, Before I post the tutorial for the ruffled front A-line dress, I thought I would post a tutorial on how I make my adaptions to the "Charlotte" pattern(by Childrens Corner). Some people at the shop have been asking for this so I might as well post it now and get it out of the way.I adore this little dress pattern. A while back I used this pattern and made a mistake to the front so I was forced to move the opening to the back to try and save what I had done to the front. Turns out that I really liked the change. I like that I only have to worry about one button for the back closure. Also, I use alot of buttons for trims and with the button closure in the back, it doesn't effect how I decorate the front.My favorite thing about this dress is how well it fits. Love how it looks on my two favorite gals, Jada and Jewel.

Warning! This is a looooooooooooooonnnnggg post.Hope I can make sense of it.I tryed to take lots of pictures so that it would be easier to understand.I know I love picture instructions when I sew! Keep in mind, I am a sewer, not a writer. I'll do the best I can to make this understandible.Hopefully my pictures will explain things better than I can. Here is the finished product! In this tutorial I'm not going to show how I did the front detail, that will come later when I explain how I create the ruffled A-line.
Cut your back lining and outer pattern piece on the fold, just like the pattern has you do.

On the center back fold of your lining, cut a slit, about 6" to 7" long.

Normally, the front is cut into two separate pieces because you button down the front. Instead we are going to fold the pattern piece on the center front line and cut one entire pattern piece on the fold.Cut one of your outer fabric and one for your lining.

Sew front and back outer pieces and front and back lining pieces at the shoulders.

Cut a 1 1/8"x 4" (doesn't really matter how long) strip. Fold in half and sew 1/4" seam.Turn.

Fold your spaghetti tubing around your button you will sew in later and mark with a pin where it fits best around your button. Pin your outer and lining pieces R.S.T.(Right sides together) starting at the shoulder seams.Slip your button tube in the top left side or right(I'm not sure what side is correct). Be sure to come down at least 1/4" from the top edge and use the pin marking to help you find 1/4" from your raw edge.

Here's a better picture of what you will be sewing.

I usually sew around the neck first and then sew down my back slit last. As you sew down the slit. taper in as you sew. When you get down to the bottom of the slit, you should be right at the edge of your slit. Put the needle in the down position and turn your fabric and as you are sewing back up the slit, taper back out.It might help if you mark your fabric where you need to sew.

Here's a better picture of exactly what you will be sewing.

Cut the outer piece just like the lining has been cut. Be sure to cut as close to your stitching at the bottom without cutting through your stitches.Clip your neck edge curves.Turn to right sides and press.

I really recommend using some sort of fray check at this point cause there is not much fabric holding that seam together.I have had some of my tops fray when I went to wash them later.

Here's a picture of what it should look like after you have turned and pressed.

Next, you are going to sew your armhole seam.To me, this was a bit tricky the first time I ever came across it in pattern directions. Hope my pictures explain it well enough. You are going to take your outer and lining armhole and wrap over the other shoulder .Your lining will go under while your outer piece will go over the other shoulder is going to be "sandwiched" in between.Pin and sew your armhole seam.

Once you have sewn your armhole seam, clip your curves and pull out the shoulder that is in the "sandwich" to the right side. Repeat for the other shoulder. Press.

Open up your sides matching your lining to lining and outer pieces R.S.T. Sew one continuous seam from lining to outer pieces(sew right over the armhole seam).On one side of the lining seam, leave a 5" gap.

Now you are going to finish the bottom of your dress with an enclosed hem. Starting at the side seam away from your 5" lining gap, flip up,so that right sides are together and line up your side seam.Pin in place. Start twisting your fabric around so that you are matching right sides together and work around the bottom hem as far as you can go.It will get to a point that you can't pin anymore.Sew what you have pinned.( It will look very messy,cause half your dress will be twisted up in the other half )

I tried to get a picture of what it will look like. I know, it's kind of hard to tell.

Turn to the right side.

Reach in the hole you left in your lining and pull out the lining and outer side seams and match up and pin in place. Start pulling the rest of your hem through the hole in your lining and pin the rest of the hem that has not been sewn yet.Finish sewing the complete seam where you left off with the other.

Here's the best picture I could get of what it will look like. The other side of the dress is stuffed inside of itself. Hard to explain this until you actually try it. If you do not understand my directions, go to the Childrens Corner website. Lezette Thomason (she designs the patterns) has done a wonderful video tutorial on how to sew this kind of hem. I've watched it for myself and it is very good!

Pull your dress to the right sides by pulling back out through the hole in your lining.

Press your hem.

Hand stitch the hole in your lining closed.

Sew on your button to the back right side and you're done!

I really hope this helps. Enjoy! Please let me know if you actually use my tutorial. I'd love to hear about your experience.


  1. These tutorials are great! Where did you find the oversized ricrack you sewed to front of this dress? I have never seen any that large!

  2. Thank you Kathy! We carry the Giant ric-rack in the sewing shop I work at but we don't have it in our webstore. But, you can get it from
    Great stuff! It always makes my outfits look like fun!

  3. You rock Ivey! I can't wait to try out your tutorial as I have been wondering how you adpated the Charlotte pattern to close in the back. Thank you!


  4. You are very talented, Ivey! I am about to make my first lined dress and was wondering what type of fabric you use/suggest when lining a dress (main fabric is cotton).
    Thank you,

  5. I want to use my Lillian pattern (I don't have the Charlotte pattern). Do you think it would work?

  6. Ivey,thanks for the great tutorials. I've used this one and the one for adding ruffles to the front of the a-line dresses several times. I have the Bonnie Blue "Madison" pattern and your instructions work well with it too! I'm making two tunic length tops today from this pattern and using your instructions because the Mom doesn't want all the buttons down the back.

  7. Thank you for using Children's Corner Charlotte! yes, NiniaBaby, you CC Lillian will work fine.