NICU party

The yearly NICU party was a few weeks ago at Baptist St Thomas Midtown. I wanted to buy Lucy a cute new dress since I had the past two years :
 Mommy/Nana made dress @8 months
Star shirt and her favorite skirt that she STILL wears almost Daily @ 20 months
I went ahead & made her a dress again this year & a matching headband.
It was an easy tank dress. I had found the perfect fabric that I LOVED. Of course, it was from a line in 2011 & is not available to buy any more.
But I did find the  fabric I used for her dress in stock from Sarah Jane Studios and was able to buy a couple yards of Playouse from Children at Play.
And I also found the Out To Sea line that I am so excited to use for something at Landon & Lucy's Pirate & Mermaid birthday party in December!
The first step is to cut your baby's tank top where you want it to stop. I cut Lucy's about 3'' from the armpit.

I cut the fabric into a rectangle 30"x12". This all depends on where you want the dress to fall ( allow for hemming and the seam along the chest), and her measurement of 20" around. I made the width 1.5 larger for gathering. Fold the rectangle right sides facing, and sew up the  side--this will be the seam up the back.

I don't have a serger, so I stitched and then did a zig-zag stitch along the seam. Not completely sure if this is the correct way, but I'm not a seamstress. I just look at a few tutorials, and go from there ;)  This tank maxi tutorial was written for adult sizes, but is easily adaptable to make a toddler sized dress.

Next step: stitch around the top of your skirt fabric & gather. Some tutorials suggest using elastic thread. I have yet to use it for Lucy's dresses and they are OK. Since a toddler doesn't have chest or hip issues, it just slides on great. I did do this part 2 times though. I had gathered the fabric to 20", and then realized her head is bigger than that, and wasn't sure if it would fit. A lot of her 24m or 2T shirts are VERY VERY snug over her head. So I pulled out my basting stitches and re-did it, just not gathering as much. I think it probably would have been fine though.

Next: Slide your tank into the skirt section. Right sides should be facing.

I pinned them together in a few spots. Start with lining the back tag up with the seam, add a pin on each side and the front to even it out. Then you can add a few more. I did a straight stitch and also a zig zag along ( I think).

This is the dress right side out!

I do not know the correct way to hem. Some people say 'fold twice and sew'. I folded it under about 1/4" and stitched all the way around. Then I folded that stitch under & over 1 more time & stitched around the bottom.

Hem complete. She's 2. I'm not really too worried about it ;)

Now for the sash to tie around the dress. I just cut 2 long pieces about 3 inches wide. I stitched them together to make 1 long piece. Then fold the long piece in half ( right side in) and sew up the side, down one end, turn right side out, and sew the last end.
I think I might attach this tie to the front and sides of the dress. We lost the one from her tie dyed dress at church. It might help if I keep it attached.

Then I had to figure out a headband to match ;)
I added a small rosette to the chest, and it was done!
She looked cute enough for me to go hang out with her nurses and doctors!

(If you need a headband, like the Facebook Page .)
After we came home that night, I just was loving Lucy and thinking about the entire NICU journey. I posted this on my FB:
I know the NICU nurses & doctors at Baptist LOVE their patients. I don't know if they can ever fully understand how much we mommies LOVE THEM! The ones we still talk to, the ones we only saw once during day shift ( because I loved to feed/rock every night & 'put Lucy to bed') the one who only had our baby once but got her to take that bottle, they all are amazing to me. When you have no choice but to leave your baby with someone else for 2 months, you are forever grateful for their care! Lucy snuggled with me tonight ( for like the first time in over a year!), & I'm reminded how much i adore her! I'm so thankful for the baptist staff & all our friends or family that prayed for us during that time! You all had a part in who she is....& now I need a box of Kleenex .