This Classic Girl’s Dress with a Collar is available in sizes 3-10! Just print and cut your PDF Pattern Piecesto get started. The PDF is set for A4 size paper (210mm x 297mm).
Pin pattern to your fabric as per the instructions on the pattern pieces. In this case you should have:
– 1 x back skirt piece
– 2 x front skirt pieces
– 1 x back skirt piece
– 2 x collar pieces
– 2 x back bodice pieces
– 4 x front bodice pieces
– 2 x button lining pieces
– 2 x sleeves
– 2 x sleeve “catch” pieces
Pin the collar pieces right sides together and sew along the outside edges, leaving the smallest of the two larger edges open. Trim the edges and turn inside out. Press, and topstitch around the edge.
Take two front bodice pieces and one back bodice piece. Join at the shoulders and side seams, right sides together. Open out and press. Repeat with remaining front and back bodice pieces.
Open one bodice piece and pin the raw edge of the collar to the raw edge of the back bodice. Pin at the center. Continue to pin along the collar edge, while keeping the fabric as flat as possible (especially at the shoulder seams), easing the bodice around the collar.
The collar should be longer than the bodice, as the button lining will get added later on. Sew the edge and press flat.
Lay the remaining bodice piece on the other side of the collar so both bodice pieces are right sides together, and the collar is sandwiched in between; be sure to match up the shoulder seams as before, easing the bodice around the collar while keeping the seam as flat as possible, Pin and sew.
Trim the raw edge and flip the lining fabric around the right way. Match up the shoulder and side seams again and press.
Now for the sleeves. Take one “sleeve catch” piece, fold one long edge up 6mm and press. Pin the right side of the unfolded sleeve catch edge to the wrong side of the sleeve piece’s bottom edge and sew. Trim, then flip the sleeve catch over and around the sleeve, pinning the fold down over the stitching just created. Pin and sew neatly along the edge. Press.
Fold the sleeve in half, wrong sides together, pin along the edge and then sew. Trim this seam, and turn the sleeve inside out.
Sew the seam again, encasing the stitching, and creating a french seam.
To gather the sleeve you can either gather by hand and pin or use your machine. To use your machine, use the longest stitch length possible (I used a 4), and simply stitch from about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the french seam around the long curved edge, stopping again when you get to 2.5 cm from the french seam. Tightly hold onto one thread, and gently pull the fabric up and along where you need it to be gathered.
Place the sleeve inside the bodice so the right sides of the fabric are together. Pin at the side seam, matching it to the arm inner french seam. Gently ease the gathering you created so the sleeve fits exactly into the armhole, and pin into place. Stitch along the edge, then zig zag along the stitching. Trim neatly.
Now for the skirts! Join one front skirt to the back, wrong fabric sides together, along the longest angled edge. (The straight edges should match up eventually at the front of the dress.) Sew, and trim the edge. Turn the skirt over, and sew the seam again, encasing the stitching, and creating a french seam. Repeat for the other front skirt piece.
I also like to topstitch down the seam, effectively stabilising the seam and fixing it to the skirt.
Now gather the top of the skirt as you did before. To attach the skirt to the bodice, simply fold the bottom edges of the bodice lining and outside up and into each other 1.2 cm (1/2 inch). Insert the skirt in between. Pin the three layers together starting from the center and working your way outwards, gently moving the gathering so the side seams match up to the skirt seams and the front of the bodice and skirt line up in the middle. You should only see a folded edge on either side of the bodice, and the skirt should be sandwiched in the middle. Neatly topstitch along this edge, ensuring you have hidden the stitching used to gather.
The final pieces left are the button lining pieces. Take one button lining piece and fold one long edge up 6mm, and press. Pin the right side of the unfolded button lining edge to the wrong side of the dresses long front edge, then sew. (Start from the bottom and pin them together, so there should be at least 1.2cm (1/2 inch) of overhang. If there is more, trim it to about this length.) Trim, then flip the button lining over and around the dress edge, pinning the fold down over the stitching just created.
Tuck the top of the overhang into itself, so that it lines up with the collar seam, and comes out to meet with the edge of the collar.
Pin and sew the tucked piece to keep in place, then conitnue along the long edge.
Now, hem the dress. I used a rolled hem, where I folded the fabric up 1 cm, and then again 1 cm, and stitched along the edge.
And finally, to finish, just insert as many buttons and matching buttonholes into your button lining as you would like! I used seven evenly spaced buttons, because they fit best. The buttons were sewn on by hand, after the buttonholes were inserted by machine.
Handy hint: To keep your buttonholes evenly spaced and all strating from the same measurement, use masking tape or sticky tape to line eveything up. That way you can just pull it off when you’re done!
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