I love sewing with bandanas in the summer. Bandanas have that summer feel, they have a ready made hem, they wash up great, and they cost about $1-$2 a piece. My kids wear bandana pants all summer long, so before I buy them, I check to make sure they aren't see-through.
You will need: Two bandanas, one package of extra wide double fold bias tape, scissors, chalk, sewing machine and thread, pins, and a measuring tape. If you opt for the elastic casing version on the neckline, you will also need 3/4" elastic and a safety pin.
First, let me explain bias tape just a bit. This is "extra wide double fold", which means that two sides fold in to the center and then it is folded again, encasing the raw or cut edges.
When folded the two sides don't quite meet up, one is a little wider than the other. They do this so that you can sew from the top and be sure to "catch" the back of the bias tape in your stitching. So the wider side goes on the wrong or back side of the fabric.
Most bandanas are about 20" square, roughly. Sometimes very roughly. So make sure that your two bandanas have the same length sides matching (ie: if one side is 21" and one side is 20", you want to line them up with the 21" and 20" sides of the other bandana.) They also have a right side and a wrong side, which is determined by the hem around the edge; the side where the folds show is the wrong side. Match right sides together.
Sew 1/4" away from the edge
on two opposite sides, this will be the side seams.
Fold in half so the two seams are matched. (See how they are stacked on each other.)
Measure in from the side seam 2 1/2" and make a mark.
Measure down 5" and make a mark.
Now draw a line connecting the two marks that kind of looks like half of a "U".
With bandanas still folded, cut along your line. Unfold the bandana and you should see two armholes.
The unsewn edge along the top is the neckline. Make two long running stitches (the longest stitch length on your machine) across the top edge and about 1/4" and 1" below the top, on both front and back of shirt/dress. The stitches 1/4" from top are optional, I just found it easier to keep my gathers even with the two sets of stitching.
Cut one piece of bias tape about 6" (you may want to measure your child across their collarbone to be sure of this length) and one piece 7". Gather stitches to fit along bias tape pieces, shorter piece in front and longer piece in back. Pin bias tape over second row of stitches, about 3/4" down from top. Sew along top and bottom of bias tape.
Another neckline option is to fold the top over 1 1/2".
Sew 1/4" from the top and 1" below the first stitch to make a casing for elastic.
Use a safety pin to feed a 6" piece of elastic through the front and a 7" piece of elastic through the back of the neckline. Secure all ends of elastic with stitching.
And your shirt/dress should look like this:
The armholes in both styles are finished the same way. Cut a piece of bias tape about 16" long (again, you can measure your child to make sure this measurement will fit, just measure from the top of shoulder, under arm and back to the top, then add 1/2" to that measurement.) The bias tape will fold over the cut edge of the armhole and enclose it between the folds. Start pinning from side seam and continue up to neckline along front.
Now, fold over the other short edge, overlap the bias tape at side seam and start pinning along back edge. I know this probably sounds confusing, but what you are doing is pinning up the front of the bandana shirt and then going back and pinning up the back of the shirt, always starting at the side seam and working towards the top. The leftover will become the shoulder strap. Make sure your straps are not twisted.
The side seam will look like the photo below. You will sew very close to the open edge of the bias tape, being sure to catch the other side.
There you have it.
For a little one you have a cute little sundress...
that is lightweight and quick drying.
And for an older child a breezy tunic top that can be worn over a tank top or t-shirt.
editor's note: Somer, you are a genius!!! I love these.