Monday, April 18, 2011

The Haley Dress Sew-Along Part 1: Making Your Pattern

Welcome back! Thanks for joining me for my first sew-along :)

Remember this dress, I made my daughter from a knit t-shirt that I had laying around? It's a perfect little spring dress for playtime in the beautiful weather we've been having lately. I love it so much that I came up with a pattern and tutorial, and I'm so excited to share it with you!

Over the next few days, I'll be sharing this project in pieces so you can sew along with me. So grab your supplies and let's get started!

Supplies for this project (this is for a 2t/3t dress):

  • 1 yard cotton fabric
  • 1/2 yard coordinating cotton fabric
  • 1/8" elastic
  • 2 buttons
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Rotary cutter and mat (or scissors and ruler if you're REALLY careful)
  • Iron and ironing board

For the first part of our sew-along, we're going to talk about creating the dress pattern. If you want to make a 2t/3t dress, you're in luck. I happen to have created a pattern and instructions for assembling the pattern for you to download HERE! The pattern includes seam allowance and fits my tall 2-year-old. If you would like to make a different size, don't fret friends, I'll show you how to make your own pattern below.

I hope you'll look past the fact that I'm self-taught and may not know all the correct terms for the different fabric pieces, so in those cases I substituted my own :) Hopefully you'll get the general idea, I've tried to make things as simple as possible. And if you have any questions, ask away! I answer every email (just make sure you include your email address!)

Making Your Pattern

Step 1: Create your back piece 

First, find a dress that fits your child well (one with spaghetti straps would be best). With the front facing you, line up your edges and fold the dress in half so that the front of your shirt is folded inside the shirt and the back is on top.

Tuck any straps or sleeves behind the dress. Line the dress up with the side and bottom edges of a piece of paper -- I like to use a large drawing pad or card stock because it's thicker so it's easier to trace your pattern onto your fabric. If you're using regular paper, you may need to tape a few pieces of paper together to fit your whole pattern. Next, trace a straight line running from the neck to 1/2 inch past the shoulder of the dress, then trace around the arm holes as shown below. Now, trace down the side of your dress to the bottom 1/2 inch outside of  it for seam allowance. Make the bottom of your dress a straight line.

Cut out your pattern. This will be your back piece. Mark this as "back piece" to help you remember which is which.

Step 2: Create your front piece

Now, because the top is gathered, you need to include some additional fabric to account for the gathers. Take the pattern for the back piece you just made and place it on another sheet of paper about 2 inches away from the edge. Trace from the edge of the paper and around your back pattern piece all the way to the edge to include the extra 2 inches for gathers.

Cut out. This is your front piece. Mark this as "front piece."

Step 3: Make your yoke

The yoke is the rectangle of fabric on the top of the dress that encases the gathered front piece.

You want this piece to be as long as the neckline of your back piece. Measure the neckline of your back piece and double it for the length. My neckline measured 3 1/2, so my final rectangle length was 7 inches. For the width, your yoke should be about 3 inches wide. Draw and cut out a rectangle with these measurements. Mark this piece "yoke."

Step 4: Make your front and back hem facings

Lastly, your hem facings. The hem facing is the bottom, decorative rectangle on your dress.

You'll need 2 rectangles in 2 different lengths since the front piece is bigger than the back. Measure the bottom edges of both your front and back pieces then double them. These are your lengths for each rectangle. Length for my back piece was 6 3/4 inches (or 13 1/2 inches total), and the front piece measured 8 1/4 inches (or 16 1/2 inches total). The width for each rectangle should be 2 1/2 inches. Make 2 rectangles total, one of each length, and with a width of 2 1/2 inches.

Mark each respective piece as "hem facing front" and "hem facing back."

So to recap what we just did, you should have a total of 5 pattern pieces that look like this:

That's it for today! Come back tomorrow and we'll begin assembling your dress. Feel free to email any questions to me at myownroad(at)!


Linking up here:

Tip Junkie handmade projectsBubbly Nature
Sumo Sweet StuffPhotobucket

Show and Tell Wednesday at Blue Cricket Design


  1. I got my oldest daughters pattern all cut out this morning & now working on my younger daughters! I am so excited & cannot believe I am able to just follow along and not ask a question yet :) Thank you for the super simple easily followed directions!

  2. Such a cute dress! I'll have to try this for my daughter. I really want to start making her clothes!!

    I would love for you to share this at my party!

  3. New follower here! This is so cute! I'll have to work on it Friday when we're off work. It will be perfect for the yard of fabric I just bought last weekend. Thanks! :)

  4. Great Tute!! Thanks for sharing!

    I'm so following you!!

  5. LOVE IT! Very cute. Thanks for sharring!

  6. such a sweet dress! Love the apple print!

    I am having a giveaway on my blog. $40 store credit from Urban Walls to get any decal of your choice. They have amazing decals for every room! just leave me a comment telling me which is your fav decal to win.

  7. This is very cute, my 3 year old would love it! Love the fabric print, it really makes it. I'm a new follower :-)

  8. This is such a cute idea!!!
    Come and link up your idea tomorrow at our What I Made Wednesday Linky Party!!!

    Sweet Peas and Bumblebees

  9. Beautiful dress- and a I love that your showing people how to make their own patterns!
    I would love if you came over and linked this project to my weekly Round Tuit party at:
    Have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  10. So cute! As a Haley myself, I love it even more :) I look forward to the rest of the tutorials!

  11. What a cute dress! Now I just need a daughter :)

  12. Great tutorial! I'd love for you to come link it up!

  13. This is way too cute! I love the fabric you used! I would love to make one of these for my daughter! Great tutorial!

  14. I would love for you to come by and link up to Inspire Me Monday. It's up all week!

  15. Thank you for the inspiration! I so need a few of these for my little 2 yr. old. I'm so ready for Spring. Adorable!


  16. This looks like so much fun! Definitely going to try this this week.

  17. I'm so impressed ! Love this idea :) Come on over and link up to MMM!

  18. What a cute little dress!! Thanks for auditioning for OMTWI!!

  19. So cute, Jen. Thanks so much for linking up to Point of View!

  20. Thanks for the tutorial.
    I'm glad I found it.
    I have to try to adapt it for 4t


Thanks for all of your wonderful comments! I try to respond to each of them through email so please make sure you leave an email address or have your profile set up to include your email address if you want me to respond :)


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