Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Haley Dress Sew-Along Part 2: Assembly

Welcome back to part 2 of my Sew-Along to make The Haley Dress!

If you missed day 1, go HERE to learn how to make your pattern!

On day one, I taught you how to make your own pattern. By now you either have your own paper pattern to work with, or you printed my pattern and assembly instructions for the 2t/3t dress HERE.

Now for the fun part - the assembly!


Assembling Your Dress

Step 1: Cut out front and back pieces.

Take your main fabric and fold it just far enough to fit your front pattern piece on the fold. Your fabric should be folded right sides (or the side with the print) facing each other. You'll need to cut both your front and back pieces from this fabric, so play around with the fold to make sure you'll be able to cut out both pieces. Also if your fabric has a pattern on it, also make sure it's facing the right direction when you trace!! Cutting out upside down fabric sucks...not that I know... ;)

See how the apples in my fabric below are right side up? Place the paper pattern you've cut out for your front piece on the fold of your fabric and trace around it with a disappearing ink pen or tailor's chalk. Cut out.

Repeat this process using the pattern for your back piece. When you finish cutting out both of your front and back pieces, open them up and they should look like this (ignore the gold strips - those are the hem facings, I got a little ahead of myself):

See how they still have a crease in the middle where we folded the fabric to trace it?

Now might be a good time for you to hold up your back piece against your child to make sure you didn't make it too wide, too long, etc. It's always easiest to fix things like that in the early stages :) Make sure you adjust your other pieces accordingly if you do change anything.

Yay! It's starting to look like a dress....right?...Ok, more steps.

Step 2: Cut out your yoke. 

Take your coordinating fabric, in this case my gold fabric, and place your yoke pattern piece on the wrong side of your fabric. Trace and cut out the yoke (it's just a rectangle, do not cut on the fold.) Set aside. 

Next, feed your adorable assistant...

...and then get back to sewing!

Step 3: Cut out and hem your hem facings.

Next, fold your coordinating fabric wrong sides together like you did in the step above. Place the short end of the patterns for your hem facing on the fold and trace around them (this will double their length when cut out). Cut out. (Not sure why this picture ended up sideways, but you get the idea.)

Since I didn't take a picture, and I've had some questions about this part, here is a tacky diagram to show you what the hem facings look like in regard to your front and back pieces so far:

Now fold and iron 1/4 inch one of the long edges of each of your front and back hem facings. Fold 1/4 inch again and zig-zag stitch down your fold.

Step 4: Sew the gathers and attach the yoke.

So now that we have the main pieces cut out, you can begin putting everything together.

Thread your sewing machine with your coordinating thread and set your stitch length and width to the highest numbers they can go. My stitch width was 5 and my length was 4. Now take your front piece (the one that is the widest of your 2 main pieces) and 1/4 inch from the top, sew straight across without backstitching at the ends. This is called a "basting." Cut your threads at the end, leaving the tails long like this:

See the long thread tails? On one side, tie your 2 threads together in a few knots to secure. On the other side, grab one of your threads and gently pull it while pushing your fabric toward the other end to make gathers. Don't pull too hard, you don't want to break your thread!

 Gather the top of your fabric until it is roughly the same length as your yoke piece. Mine was 7 inches. Knot your thread several times and trim the excess from all 4 threads.

Step 5: Attach the Yoke.

Fold your yoke in half with the wrong sides together. Pin the raw edges of your yoke to the raw edges of the gathers you just made like this (notice this is pinned on the "right" side of your fabric):

Here's the view from the back showing you how the yoke is attached to the right side of your front piece.

Now set your stitch width and length back to your normal settings and stitch your yoke to your front piece, backstitching a few stitches at the beginning and end to secure. Remove pins and unfold. Press your garment flat and topstitch in place. I used a zig-zag stitch for this because I like how decorative it looks.

Step 6: Attach your hem facings.

Line up and pin the raw edge of your front hem facing to the bottom edge of your front piece with right sides together. Repeat with the back hem facing and back piece. Using a straight stitch, sew the raw edges together 1/4 inch from the bottom (about where the needle tips are.)

Unfold and iron flat. Then, right side up, zig-zag stitch from end to end where your hem facing was sewn to your main fabric to help it lay flat.

This is what the bottom of both your front and back pieces should look like.


You should now have a gathered front piece with the yoke and hem facing sewn on, and a flat back piece with the hem facing sewn on. (I forgot to take pictures of these 2 so I Photoshopped a couple pictures of what they should generally look like.)

front piece so far

back piece so far (no gathers on top though, I couldn't get rid of those in Photoshop :)

Alright! Tomorrow we'll make the straps, bias tape, button panel and closure.

Thanks for sewing along with me and if you have any questions, email me at myownroad(at)yahoo.com!


  1. ok, 1st question :) I cut out the front and back pieces ok but when it comes to the hem facings I am confused..we should fold the fabric so we have 2 layers of each hem or so they are doubled in size? Like mine are 17" and 21" for my oldest. We just want 1 strip @ each size or 2? Does that even make sense ;)

  2. I love the Haley dress! You make it look so easy!

  3. HOORAY! I am all ready for tomorrow...today was mentally much harder on me than yesterday but thank you for being so great & answering all my questions so nicely! Excited (& scared) for tomorrow!!


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