summer nightgown tutorial

this tutorial originally appeared as a part of the wonderful Color Your Summer series hosted by Delia and Kojo.  you can check out Delia’s full series recap right here!

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hi, i’m Kristin and i’m really happy to be celebrating summer color here with my friend Delia!  when i think of the ideal color to wear on a hot hot day, it’s white.  it reflects sunlight, it looks great against sunkissed skin, and it just screams summer (especially when paired with a little bit of blue).  today i’m sharing a tutorial for a simple summery nightgown that will keep little gals cool as they play in the yard before late bedtimes on warm evenings…

summer nightie tutorial

here’s what you need to get started: a vintage sheet or large cut of soft, flowy fabric (two selvedge-to-selvedge cuts x desired length – my skirt was two cuts 38″ wide x 24″ long for a maxi skirt length on my petit 5 year old), 4 strips of fabric for bodice (chest measurement + 2″ divided by 2 = width, 3″ = height), fold over elastic or other fun material for straps (i originally chose eyelet but changed my mind and ended up with fold over elastic) – mine ended up 11″ long each.

summer nightie tutorial

first, prepare your bodice.  it’s best if you can measure your recipient to find her armpit to armpit measurement and make the top of the bodice match this (you’ll gain some ease in the seam allowance).  my daughter was napping as I sewed, and i wish i’d cut the armholes a bit more generously.  ah well.

summer nightie tutorial

use a circular object to trace and cut out armholes, marking up about 1″ from the bottom for seam allowance (i only left 1/2″ here, it wasn’t enough).  pin and sew side seams of both bodice pieces.

summer nightie tutorial

determine your strap length by laying them over your child’s shoulders and stopping at the chest.  if you’re using fold over elastic like i did here, subtract about two inches to allow for stretch.  mark about 1″ in from the sides your front bodice and a little more on the back.  pin and baste your straps to the front of one bodice piece (rightsides together).

summer nightie tutorial

wrap the strap around and pin to the opposite side of the back, a little closer together (this will make them cross in the back).

summer nightie tutorial

baste the straps to the bodice.

summer nightie tutorial

place your bodice lining right side down over the front, sandwiching the straps in between.  they should hang down below the bodice.  pin around the top and armholes, and sew with a 1/2″ seam, pivoting at corners.

summer nightie tutorial

trim corners and clip into the curves.  turn right side out, poking out corners with a chopstick, knitting needle, or point turner.  fold just the bodice lining under 1/2″ to the wrong side and press.

summer nightie tutorial

prepare skirt by first sewing both short side seams and finishing, then sewing two rows of basting stitches across the top.  i used a trick i learned from the Edelweiss dress and sewed two sets of basting stitches, stopping at each side seam and starting new again.  this lets you adjust your gathers on the front and back separately, and is helpful when gathering a lot of fabric like you are here.  gather to match width of bodice.

summer nightie tutorial

pin your skirt to your bodice, right sides together, adjusting your skirt width as necessary.  i didn’t have enough seam allowance in the under arm area here, but i recommend sewing the skirt just to the outer bodice, then pressing the seam allowance up toward the bodice.  pin the already folded bodice lining to cover the raw edge and topstitch it down, enclosing the raw edge.  this would be most comfortable for the wearer, but i had to just sew it all together with 1/2″ seam and then serge the edge.

summer nightie tutorial

give it a good press and your’e done!  ready to pick flowers….

summer nightie tutorial

…frolic…

summer nightie tutorial

summer nightie tutorial

…lounge…

summer nightie tutorial

…and play in the long summer evening…

summer nightie tutorial

until it’s time to rest.

summer nightie tutorial

thanks so much for having me, Delia!

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6 thoughts on “summer nightgown tutorial

  1. Leslie says:

    Thank you so much for this summer nightgown tutorial. This is the only thing that I’ve made that my 3 year old wears just about everyday at some point. She wore is all during the late summer, to her first day of preschool (despite my plans to the contrary), and is wearing it now — in late October! I think we may need a couple of spares now 🙂

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