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This project was created by Debbie Shore using the McCall’s M5613 pattern.
This pretty little girls’ dress is so simple to make. It’s the perfect project for a beginner and looks fabulous in anything from printed cottons and gingham to lightweight denim.
I’m making up style B for a 4-year-old, so I’ll need just under 1.3m of fabric. I’ve also decided to make the yolk and pockets in a contrast fabric, so I’m using 1m of floral and 0.5m of plain. The seam allowance is 5/8” [1.5cm].
Before even taking the pattern out of the packaging, look on the back. You’ll see measurements on the flap, and the amount of fabric needed on the packet. The left side is in Imperial and the right is Metric. I’ve marked my measurements with a red dot. You’ll also see ‘notions’, so in this case, I need thread, two buttons and 0.5m of 9mm wide elastic.
Now take out the instructions and have a read through the abbreviations, how many fabric pieces you need, and how to make up the dress. I’ve again marked the pieces I need to cut.
Take the pattern pieces and identify which sections you’ll need. Roughly cut out the pieces, then iron them. Yes, iron them! If you’re using a creased pattern then your fabric pieces won’t be cut to the exact size you need. As a beginner, you may find it easier to draw around the size you need on the pattern, then cut out the pieces.
Fold your fabric according to the instructions, pin on your pattern pieces, and carefully cut them all out. Transfer any dots and circles onto your fabric with an erasable pen. I’m using a heat erasable pen, but be aware that the ink from these pens becomes permanent when ironed, so wait for the ink to disappear before pressing!
Snip into the triangle markings on the sides of the pattern. I like to leave the pattern pinned to the pieces until I use them so I can easily identify the pieces.
Take the front panel of the dress, fold the pleats and pin, then tack across the top. Remove the pins.
Sew one of the front top pieces right-sides-together to the pleated skirt.
Sew the remaining front top piece right-sides-together to the first piece, just around the top. Cut the seam allowance back to ¼”.
Turn this section the right side out and press.
Gather the top of the back of the skirt by sewing two rows of long stitches across the top, then gently pulling the bottom thread to gather. Pin either side of the skirt right-sides-together to the top of the back of the dress, arranging the gathers until both pieces are the same length. Then, sew again.
Sew the remaining top back piece right-sides-together to the first, leaving the sides open.
Turn the right side out and press.
Sew straight across the top of the seam to make a channel for the elastic. Pop a safety pin on the end of the elastic and thread through the channel, then tack at either end to secure.
Pin the front and back sections of the dress right-sides-together and sew down each side, matching up the waist seams as you go. Remove the pins. Trim the seams with pinking shears, if you wish.
Fold the raw edge of the top section of the dress over the seam and pin.
Sew around the seam, removing the pins as you sew. Turn the right side out and press.
Now make up the pockets. Sew a couple of gathering stitches ½” from the curved bottom edges of each pocket.
Pleat the top of each pocket using your transferred marks, then fold the top over twice and sew to hem.
Gather the running stitches slightly. This will help to make a smooth curve when you fold over the raw edge by 5/8” and press.
Pin the pockets to the dress in the position marked on the pattern, then top stitch to secure.
Hem the bottom of the dress by folding the edge over twice and top stitching.
Sew a buttonhole to each end of the strap and a button to each side of the front of the dress by hand. I’ve also added a couple of buttons to the pockets for decoration.