This beautiful dress is one of my favourites – and was one of my first proper sewing makes!
My friend’s daughter had her first birthday last year. I wanted to make her something special (and easy to post across the UK!) so I eventually decided to make a dress. I found this great little blog with a free pattern for a Peter Pan dress in a range of sizes for tiny tots.
As you’ll see from the birdie fabric I chose, I decided to make it without the collar as I thought the fabric would make it look too busy – the Gnomeville material used on the Small Dream Factory example is perfect to include the collar, equally it would look fab if you used a smaller print (eg polka dot)…so would plain fabric but it’s not something I use a lot! The tutorial itself was really helpful and I was really pleased with the final product after following it.
As the fabric was a light cotton, I decided to line it with a plain fabric on the inside. This meant sewing the front panel to the front panel of lining and the back panel with the back panel of lining before I assembled the dress and sewed the front and back together.
Lining the Dress Ready for Assembly
I cut out identical pieces of the birdie fabric and plain lining for each of the front and the back. To avoid confusion about front and back pieces (especially as we’re starting with six pieces of material – two for the front and four for the back) I’ll explain how I lined the front panel; to do the back panels, you’ll just need to do exactly the same.
Putting the right sides of the birdie and plain fabrics together (so the wrong sides of both fabrics were facing outwards) I sewed round the edge of the panel, leaving a gap of about 2 inches in what would be the side of the dress. By leaving a small gap, I could turn the fabric inside out so that the right sides of the fabric were facing outwards. To hide the 2 inch raw edge of fabric that hadn’t been sewn together, I pressed the panel with a medium hot iron, turning the unsewn piece inwards so it looked like the rest of the edge.
I found it a little bit fiddly sewing the dress together as the material at the seams was so thick because of the amount of layers of fabric I was working with, however I have found another method on a different dress pattern (which I’m planning on showing you shortly) which should halve that and make it easier to sew together. I tried zigzag stitch for the first time to do the seams so I got a nice cleanly edged seam, but most importantly to make it comfortable for my friend’s daughter to wear.