Monday, April 6, 2009

Tutorial & Free Pattern - Girl's Panel Dress

This tutorial is for the girl's panel dress of the previous post. I retrieved what photos I thought were useful, even though I had changed the original design somewhat in the final model. Hopefully, you'll be able to make sense of them and not be too muddled if you should attempt to make up the pattern.

A few points to note before starting:
- French seams are used throughout.
- The instructions will make more sense if you have had a chance to look at the paper pattern pieces.
- Gauging purely by my daughter's build, the pattern is good for sizes from 6 months to 12 months. But please measure relevant dimensions before cutting into expensive fabric and not having it fit!
- Print the pattern at 100% on A4-sized paper.
- You will need acrobat reader to open the file.

Less than 1 metre in total. If you are using 3 different fabric, then definitely less than half metre for each.

How to:

1. Transfer the pattern onto your fabric and add seam allowances according to your preferred widths (I like 3/8" or 1cm). Cut out all pieces. You will have 12 pieces in total.

2. Make up the back bodice first. Fold along the marked line to create the button placket. Do this for both back pieces. Press.

First fold on the seam allowance.

Second fold along the marked foldline.

3. Stitch the folds down.

4. On the right side back piece, mark with a ruler the buttonhole placements. Let the first buttonhole start about 5/8" or 1.5cm down from the top edge.

5. Use your machine buttonhole setting to make the buttonholes.

6. With wrong sides (WS) together, attach the front bodice to the back bodice pieces at the shoulder. To make a French seam, sew at 3/16" (0.5cm) away from the seam line. Trim down to 2mm from the stitchline. Press open.

7. Fold along the previous stitch line so that the right sides(RS) are now facing each other. Sew along the marked seam lines. Press towards the back.

Sew along the seam lines

Press towards back.

8. Select a decorative stitch (I chose scallops) and stitch all along the seam lines around the neck and arm openings. This being the point at which I deviated from the original plan, I do not have pictures. But here are pictures from a different project that employed scallop edging to explain the process.

9. Trim away the excess fabric.

10. Attach the skirt panels, four to a side, using French seams (remember to start off with WS together first).

Remember to alternate the pattern if you are using different fabrics. Press to one side the finished seams.

11. You will now have 2 skirt pieces, one for the front and one for the back. They are identical.

12. Pin the 2 pieces of the back bodice together. The button plackets must fully overlap each other.

13. Attach the bodice to the skirt using the French seam. With WS together, pin the back bodice to one of the skirt pieces (the narrower end is up), and stitch down 3/16" (0.5cm) away from the seam line. Trim and press open.

14. Fold along the previous stitch line so that the right sides(RS) are now facing each other. Sew along the marked seam lines. Press down towards the skirt.

15. To prevent the French seam from standing up, stitch down about 1-2mm from the edge on the RS.

16. Repeat steps 13 - 15 for the front bodice and skirt piece.

(There will now be a disgraceful lack of pictures. Sorry).

17. You will now have front and back dress pieces. Attach the front and back along one of the sides using the French seam method (basically steps 13 and 14, with 15 being optional). Press the side seam towards the back.

18. You now have an almost-dress with one side seam attached and one still open.

19. Take the skirt hem and pin it (WS together) to the bottom of the skirt from open seam to open seam. Attach using the French seam method (steps 13 and 14).

20. Press up towards the main skirt and stitch down on the RS.

21. Sew up the second side seam to completely attach the front and back dress pieces (with French seams again, of course). Press seam towards the back.

22. Using the same decorative stitch as before, sew all along the bottom edge of the skirt hem. Trim away excess as before.

23. Mark out button placements and hand-sew them on.

24. Hopefully, you have been testing for fit at strategic points during the construction and the dress fits your daughter/niece/granddaughter wonderfully. If so, you are done.

I sincerely hope the pattern works well for you. If you do try this out, I'd love to hear your thoughts and see pictures of your finished dress :)
I apologize in advance for any mistakes or oversights in the instructions.

Here is the link to download the pattern in pdf:

Girls' Panel Dress (6-12mos)


  1. Hey - I like your tutorial. And oh, how I relate to getting the fit all funny. It's such a learning process. I wish I was like Auntie Laura, who can take measurements by email and churn out several DIFFERENT dresses in a week, and all fit. I love tutorials and I love posting them but they are hard work, esp with all the photography. So kudos to you for doing a DRESS tutorial, plus with pattern!

  2. thanks for visiting my blog...I like your blog...nice dress pattern...

  3. Hi!! i just finished a dress for my daughter, and i could NEVER do a tutatorial. mainly because i'm always going back and forth so much!! LOL i couldn't find the pattern i wanted for her, so i had to create one for her. UGHHH! you are very talented indeed!! LOL :'} i do understand the wahm part **big smile** ~Medo

  4. Thank you, ladies!

    LiEr - taking the right photos (never mind GOOD photos) is the biggest headache for me. It doesn't help when the camera is pretty lousy...or perhaps it IS JUST ME?

    Ria - welcome to my blog :) It is always very nice to meet fellow KL-ite craftsters!

    medo - I absolutely understand about going back and forth o the sewing when one has small children to look after! I mostly sew while she's having a nap, or after she's gone to bed at night.

  5. Love the dress! thanks for the pattern! I linked to this at

  6. This is so very pretty!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

  7. I used the pattern and instructions to make this dress

    I wasn't sure what the square marked A Skirt Panel and to cut 8 was for and didn't use it - is it for a variation on the garment to use below the bodice between the skirt panels?

  8. This is actually one of several superior posts associated with things that I’ve please read on that topic recently. Fantastic perform.

  9. These are so amazing. I really enjoyed and love your work very much. Thank you so much for sharing.
    integrated receivables management

  10. I love the dress, it's totally cute. The tutorial leaves much to be desired. I see you used some kind of bias strip around the neck or sleeves? No mention of that. And yes, an incredibly shameful lack of pictures. If you are going to do something, do it right. Otherwise, why bother? Shame on you.


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