Thursday, August 15, 2013

confetti dress - sewing tutorial and FREE pattern

Click on the picture to get the FREE size 2T pattern:

It's time for the Confetti Dress tutorial!!!  I'm sure I'm way more excited than anyone reading this, but I'm used to that.  My kids tend to look at me like I've grown two heads when I suggest something I think might be fun to do.  So either I have a bizarre notion (sewing humor!) of fun, or my kids do :)  Hopefully, you agree with my version of fun, or you may not find this post very useful!  Anyway, yesterday in this post, I showed how to draft the pattern, and today I will show you how to sew the dress.

I will also post the free 2T pattern later today! Edited to add - the free pattern is now available HERE

All seam allowances are 3/8" unless stated differently.

Materials needed:

Bodice fabric
Bodice lining fabric
Skirt fabric - can be the same as bodice fabric
3/8" elastic
Elastic cording or 1/8" elastic - about 2"

1. Cut your fabrics.  You should have front bodice pieces cut from the main fabric and the lining, back bodice pieces cut from the main fabric and the lining and two skirt pieces.  To determine the length of the skirt, measure your child from her natural waist to the point you want the skirt to fall and add 2 1/2" for the hem and seam allowance.  The width of the skirt should be about 1.5x the width of the bottom of your main bodice piece.  The skirt pieces for the size 2T are 25" wide x 15" long.

2.  Sew the shoulder seams right sides together for the main fabric.  Then repeat for the lining pieces.  For some reason I did not take a picture of this step, so if you have any questions just leave a comment or email me :)

3. I'm not exactly sure how to write this step in such a way that a single person would understand what I'm trying to say, but I'll give it my best!  First, crease the center of the back bodice piece   I used a marker on this step so you could see it easier, but a crease works just as well.  Then place the bodice and bodice lining right sides together and pin them along the back crease, the shoulder seams and the center front.  On either side of the crease draw a line about 4-5" long that extends from the top of the bodice (starting about 1/4" away from the crease) down at an angle where it meets the center crease (the green lines on either side of the center line).  This will end up being the keyhole opening in the back of the dress.  The size 2T needed approximately a 4" opening to fit over Mae's head, but the larger sizes may need a longer opening.

4.  Sew the back opening and add your elastic loop for the button as shown in this tutorial.  I could have rewritten this, but Jess did a better job explaining it than I ever could :)  I always backtitch at the top and bottom of the back opening for added strength.  I also find it helpful to sew over the elastic cording a couple of times so it doesn't rip out of the dress when worn.  Sew all the way around the neckline as well.

5. Cut a slit down the back opening all the way down to the stitches being sure not to cut through them.  Clip the corners and curved edges of the neckline as well.

6. Turn right side out and press well.  I can't emphasize this enough, ironing (unfortunately because I hate to iron!) is the key to a professional looking garment. At this point, check and make sure the dress will fit over your child's head.  If not, then sew a longer placket on the inside.  Take the time to do this now because you do not want to discover this problem when the dress is completed.  Trust me, I learned the hard way!

7.  This next couple of steps are hard to describe in words, but are actually quite simple.  Hopefully the next few pictures will help. Open up one of the shoulders and lay it flat right sides facing up.

8.  Take the other shoulder and (for a lack of a better word) scrunch or roll it up along the seam line of the first shoulder piece.

9.  Pin the shoulder that was laying flat around the scrunched shoulder right sides together making sure not to catch any fabric from the scrunched shoulder in the pins.

10.  Sew the seam and clip the rounded edges.

11. Pull the whole bodice through the shoulder opening so the right side is facing out again.  Press well.

12.  Repeat steps 7-11 with the other shoulder.

13.  Now we need to sew the side seams.  Lay the dress flat with the main fabric facing up.  This is what the dress should look like at this point.

14.  Grab the two top corners on the far left and right of the above picture and bring them together.

15. Match up the main pieces and the lining pieces along one edge of the dress and pin.

16.  Sew the side seam.  Be sure to finish/serge this edge as not all of it will be enclosed in the final garment.

17.  Turn garment right side out and press seams.  Then repeat for the other side.

18.  Fold up the bottom edge of the main bodice fabric 1/4" and then another 1/4" and hem.  This will be the finished edge of the peplum portion of the dress.

19.  The bodice is now finished.  This is what the outside should look like.

20.  And this is what it looks like on the inside.  The bottom edge of the lining will be finished when the skirt is attached.


21.  Line up the side edges of the skirt pieces right sides together and pin.

22.  Sew the side seams of the skirt and finish/serge the edges.

23.  Fold up the bottom edge of the skirt 1" and then 1" again and hem.

24.  The skirt is now finished too, so they just need to be attached :)

25.  Gather the top edge of the skirt to match the bodice lining using the gathering method of your choice.  I just came across this youtube video today that shows a great way to gather skirts.  It's very close to the method I use, and I find it to be very simple.

26.  Sew the wrong side of the skirt to the right side of the bodice.  It is very important not to sew these pieces right side together.  I checked my pieces a couple of times and still managed to sew this wrong the first time :)

27.  I chose to serge this seam to finish it, but it will be enclosed later so it's not totally necessary.  But this is what your dress should look like at this point.

28. On the inside of the dress, pin all the way around making sure that the main bodice is laying flat and even with the lining.  I used my iron a couple of times at this point just to be sure I didn't have any wrinkles that might get sewn into the final garment.  I also flipped the dress right side out a couple of times to be sure that my pinning was fairly even :)

29.  Sew a line on the lining about 3/4" away from the skirt seam.  Then sew another line close to the edge of the skirt seam leaving a 1-2" gap for inserting elastic.  The lines are shown in blue on this picture.  Cut a piece of 3/8" elastic to 1" bigger than the waist measurement of whoever you are making this dress for.  The elastic in the example is 18 1/2" because Mae has a skinny waist :)  Thread the elastic through the casing, sew the ends together and then close the opening.

30. Turn the dress right side out to distribute the gathers evenly and make sure everything looks right.  I actually had to do step 29 twice the other day because somehow I managed to roll the elastic in the casing :)

31.  Last, but not least, add a button (a shank button works best) to the back and you are done!

Materials for this dress:
Bodice - Colorbok from Joann's a couple of years ago
Lining - Natural linen from Joann's
Skirt - Essex yarn dyed linen in black (love this fabric!) from
Button - Vintage


  1. Thank you for a great tutorial.

  2. Thanks for the free pattern & tutorial! My niece is 15 months & this will be perfect for next spring/summer.

  3. This is so cute, Thanks!!...I will have to try this for my older girls. I think I'm going to add a dropped shoulder too, so I'll be sure to show you what I come up with. And I loved your dresses for flip this pattern too!

    1. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  4. Hi teri! This pattern is so so SO cute! I used it for this month's Sew Geeky! It will go live on the 25th, but here is the link!