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Blessing/Confirmation Dress

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Yesterday, I mentioned that I made those little shoes and a headband (found here) to go with a little white dress.
Today, is little white dress day.
Our little baby girl’s blessing day was a couple days ago…….and my heart can’t help but melt at the sight of a sweet and innocent baby in all white.  It’s purely angelic.
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Blessings and Confirmations are more about what’s going on and less about a silly ‘ol dress……but  I could use any excuse to have fun with a little fabric.  So humor me. ;)
The dress was long, much past Baby Girl’s sweet kicking feet……..
………with a great double layer of fullness.
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With a whole cluster of those crushed fabric flowers on the bodice, from yesterday’s post (found here).
I just love seeing any sweet baby on blessing/confirmation day……but I particularly adore my own children.
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It’s a shame it’s only worn once.  Maybe I should use it as a nightgown until she grows out of it, just to see her in it a few more times. (Only kidding.…..I’ll save it for her.)
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And again, a little something for her hair…….(more info here)
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And her feet……..(more info here and shoe pattern here)
Thank you for joining our family, Baby Girl.

Would you like to make your own dress/gown for a special occasion?

Before we start, I created this dress from scratch, patterning it off of a dress we already had.  But you could use a simple dress pattern and just make it longer, or buy a white dress and add flowers and such to it.  Do whatever works best for you and/or your time restrictions.
But here’s how I created my dress.
**I purchased some really flow-y satin for this dress at Hobby Lobby.  I’m not sure what it was called.  But I have seen it at Joann’s too.
I grabbed a dress that fit Baby Girl and folded it in half.  Then I traced around the bodice……..scooping low at the neckline for the front bodice piece first.  The bodice on this dress was shorter than I wanted so I extended it down to where I drew that red line.
Then I added about a 1/4 inch all the way around and about a 1/2 inch to the bottom…..for seam allowances.
Then I traced around this piece on a new piece of paper as a guide for the back bodice piece.
And then I moved the scoop of the neck up a bit because necklines are higher in the back……
And then extended the center back line out about an inch.  I did this because I needed extra fabric along the back so that the fabric could overlap for the button closure.
Here are my two pattern pieces for the bodice.  The front piece and back piece.
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Next, I cut a front piece out of my satin fabric and one out of the lining……both on the fold.  So then, after it’s opened up, each are one piece.  But then I cut 2  of the back bodice pieces out of the satin and 2 pieces out of the lining.
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Then, starting with the satin pieces first and with right sides together, I sewed the 2 back pieces to the front piece…….along the sides and at the shoulders.  (Not the arm holes or neck opening.)  Then do the same thing with the lining pieces.
Now, you’re going to attach your lining bodice piece to your satin bodice piece.  Place the two together, with right sides together, and pin all along the neckline and then down the 2 sides.
Then sew the two pieces together, right where your pins were.  (I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance because that’s what I added to the pattern piece when drawing it out.)  Then trim your edges and zig-zag your raw edges if you didn’t use a serger to begin with.
Then turn the bodice right side out, poke the corners out, and iron flat.  If the curve of your neckline isn’t laying smooth, you may need to clip the curves.  I didn’t need to because I serged it and there wasn’t much fabric left from the seam allowance. (Need help with clipping curves? Click here.)
A view from the back.
Next, you’ll need to create a pattern piece for the sleeve.  Grab your original dress again and lay it down.  It’s kind of hard to see the exact shape without unpicking the seams on this dress……but try to get the basic size of the sleeve……..
…….and then you’ll end up with sleeve shapes that look something like this.  (Make sure that you added a bit for a seam allowance all the way around too.  Except for the bottom straight edge.  That edge won’t be folded over when sewn…….we’ll just be adding a fabric edge to it.)
My pattern piece is the half piece in the upper right.  I used that to cut out sleeve pieces on the fold of the fabric.
I then made a basting stitch along the the top and bottom of the sleeve.  But the basting stitch is mostly in the center, as I don’ want to gather all the way around the sleeve.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here.)
Measure the arm hole opening of the dress bodice and then gather in the bottom of the sleeve first (plus leave it a little longer for the seam allowance).
Then cut a strip of fabric out of the satin that is as long as the bottom of your sleeve and then as wide or as narrow as you’d like the bottom edge of your sleeve to be.  I cut mine about 1 1/4 inch wide.  Pin the strip to the bottom of the sleeve with the right side of the strip facing the wrong side of the sleeve.
Then sew the strip to the sleeve.  (Again, I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance because that’s what I included in the pattern piece.)
Then trim off any excess fabric so that it’s not so bulky when folding the strip over later on.
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Here’s a view from the other side.  This is the right side of the fabric facing up…….and the strip is on the back side.
Then, turn the sleeve over to the back and fold the strip down and iron it down flat.
Then turn the sleeve to the front and then fold the strip over to meet the bottom edge of the sleeve……….
And then fold it over again, right over the bottom edge of the sleeve……..hiding the seam below it.  Pin the strip in place all along the bottom of the sleeve.
Sew it in place and iron it flat.
Then fold it in half, with right sides together, using the seam allowance that you allowed yourself.  Zig-zag or serge the two ends together.
Repeat with the other sleeve.
Then slide the sleeves into the arm hole openings in the bodice (right sides together), matching up the side seams of the sleeves with the side seams of the dress.  Place the right sides together and pull on your basting stitch to ruffle up the top of the sleeves just a bit, and pin the entire sleeves in place.
I did this with the bodice turned inside out……so this is the lining fabric you’re seeing.
Here’s a view from the inside, which is actually the satin fabric.  (The bodice is upside down too… the neckline is at the bottom.)
Then stitch the sleeves in place and then zig-zag the raw edges.
Turn the bodice right side out and iron everything flat as best you can.
Then, add some button holes to the back of the dress.
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Then add your buttons and button the bodice closed (I pinned mine because I needed to run to the store later to buy more buttons).  Set the bodice aside.
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Next, onto the skirt portion of the dress.
Decide how long and how full you want the skirt portion to be.  And if you want 2 layers at the bottom or not.
Here’s what I did.  I wanted my skirt section to be about 18 inches long and only semi-full.  I measured the opening of the bottom of the bodice piece, which was 18 inches.  I decided that about double that would be plenty full for the first skirt section.  So the first skirt piece I cut 40 inches wide and 16 inches long.  The 2nd skirt piece I made twice as wide, so that it would ruffle even more than the first layer.  I pieced some fabric together to create a piece that was 80 inches wide and about 13 inches tall.  (You don’t need it as tall as the first.)  And then I cut a lining piece that was about 30 inches wide and 12 inches tall.
Then, I sewed all 3 pieces into tubes, sewing the 2 shorter ends together for each individual section.
Here’s an up close image of one of the sections.  I serged the two shorter ends together to created a tube……and then just serged all along the top opening, just so the fabric would fray so much when gathering later on.  Do this with all 3 tubes.
Then, sew a basting stitch along the top edge (the edge where you serged or zig-zagged to keep your fabric from fraying).
Starting with your largest outer fabric piece, place the skirt together with the bodice with right sides together.  It’s easiest to turn the skirt section inside out and then slide the bodice down inside of the skirt right side out but upside down……..and match up the raw edges.  Gather up the skirt section and pin it to the bodice.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here.)
Then, slide all of this inside of the lining fabric (that’s sewn into a tube) and gather up the lining until it matches the width of the bodice and outer skirt piece that are already pinned together.  Now pin all three section (bodice, outer fabric, and lining) together.

Here’s everything all pinned together.

Then sew in place (I used 1/2 inch seam allowance) and then zig-zag or serge the raw edges together.  Turn right side out and here’s how it looks from the front……..
And the back………
Then, flip up the top layer of fabric and attach the last section of fabric (sewn into a tube) to the lining.  You’ll have to measure to see that it comes down as long as you’d like it.  Mine falls 3 inches longer than the top layer of fabric.  Gather and pin the fabric to the lining………then stitch in place.
Then hem the bottom of the layers.  I hand-stitched my hems in place, using a blind stitch, giving it a more invisible look.
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Then I hand sewed some of the crushed fabric flowers to the bodice, using the tutorial from here.
Iron everything again, to ensure your fabric is smooth and laying flat.
And then you’re done.
A brand new dress, created by you, for any occasion that you’ve been planning for.
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Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Crystal says:

    I have never made clothes before. I usually stick to the easy stuff. Baby blankets, bags ,shower curtains sheets etc. But i wanted to challenge myself and sew my daughters baptism dress.

    THANK YOU. SOOOOOOOOOO much. For this tutorial.
    I’ve been sewing all evening and it looks very good for my first time.

    Hugs through the internet. Lol

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have to thank you so much for your tutorial! I needed to make a baptismal gown for my daughter and I had no idea where to start. I looked at patterns and everything seemed unnecessarily complicated. I came across your blog and I was so inspired and knew with your help I could figure something out. Thanks to you I made a beautiful baptismal gown! Thank you for making this tutorial!!!

  3. anonymus says:

    How many yards did you use?

  4. linda says:

    our daughter who is now 17 was adopted 5 years ago when she was 12 from an orphange in north ireland.We are catholic and three months after we got her we baptized and christened her as an infant thru the infant baptism program at our parish.My sister made a beautiful white below the knees baptism gown for her with boufant shoulders and lace down the front.she made a bonnet and booties to match the dress also.we got white tights to go with the gown and then did a cloth diaper and rubber pants under the tights with a white tee shirt.we dressed her in the nursery that day just like an infant while she laid in a baby crib.she looked absolutely stunning in the outfit and very pure and infant like.i picked her up to receive the water on her head and it was very special.She made her first holy communion two years later at 14 and we dressed her in a beautiful poofy communion dress and veil with her baptismal diaper,rubber pants and tights under the dress.we did white ‘mary jane ‘ shoes with the outfit.

  5. Bina says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I made one just like it for a friend’s daughter. Turned out beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
    – Greetings from Pakistan!

  6. Linda says:

    I got lost, sorry maybe it’s lack of sleep and children jumping all over me as i’m going through it lol when sewing the skirt to the bodice do you sew the front skirt and lining to the top? then after when placing the last peice in on the lining is it further down than the waist… would the seam show through the top fabric?

    1. Linda Kirkman says:

      I really love this dress want to make this beautiful dress for my very special little granddaughter who was born 29 weeks premature 1.5 kg doing very well can not wait to sew this beautiful dress and matching shoes who will be christened in April 2015 I hope I can make it and look so good like yours

      Thank you so much Linda

  7. Ashley says:

    I made this and I’m not a sewer, but it turned out adorable! It made our baby blessing so special! Thank you so much!

  8. Anonymous says:

    THANK YOU for this tutorial. My daughter was blessed this passed Sunday and the dress turned out beautifully. I’ve never sewn a piece of clothing in my life and I was able to follow the steps (good job!). It made her special day just that much more special because I was able to make her dress. And now I have more confidence in my sewing abilities :)

  9. Rosani says:

    Esse vestido é um sonho e adorei o tutorial, pois estava louca procurando por um modelo pra fazer para minha filha que ia receber benção agora dia 03 e seguindo o tutorial fiz o meu e ficou lindinho tb, ainda mais que nunca havia costurado roupas.
    Bjs e adoro seu site.

    Obrigada por compartilhar
    Rosani {Brasil}

    This dress is a dream and I loved this tutorial, it was crazy looking for a model to do for my baby who would blessing name in July 03 and following the tutorial I did my pretty dress, I never even sewed clothes before.
    Kisses and I love your site.

    Thank you for sharing
    Rosani {Brazil}

  10. Christene {WhipperBerry} says:

    What a great dress for a little one! Just a couple years ago I was on the hunt for a blessing dress for my little girl only to find nothing but sleeveless! I ended up making my own, but would have loved to have this pattern back then. It turned out SO lovely. Well done!

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is lovely, I have the fabric ready to make my niece a Christening dress. This is just the inspiration to get me started.

  12. Christina says:

    The blessing dress is beautiful ~ you are so talented! I made each of my boys their own blessing outfit that I will give to them in the future and they can do what they want with it =o)

  13. Kaitie Jayne says:

    It is beautiful! Definitely save it for her! We just blessed our baby in the dress my mother made for me. It was so precious to compare the picture of me in the dress, and my sweet daughter in the same dress!

  14. Sarah B says:

    Absolutely stunning. I loved the simplicity of the dress and the flowers made it modern. Perfect.

  15. Aaron and Carolyn says:

    Beautiful. I have never made anything with sleeves for my daughter. I'm not brave enough to try but I think I might after this. Thanks.

  16. Jack and Amanda says:

    I think the dress is beautiful!

    My mother got advice from her mother, who got it from her mother………..
    that just for kicks, dress her in the dress at least one more time for church before she grows out of it.I'm not your mother, but I thought I would pass it on to you.

  17. Christian and Janay says:

    DO you want to make me one!!! hahaha. SO CUTE! I definitely wnat to makeone now!!

  18. Lizzy says:

    So cute! I'm sure she'll treasure her dress when she's older! I seems so difficult to make such beautiful clothes.

  19. Alison says:

    So stinkin' cute! Makes me want to have another just to make them….. or maybe I'll just make a headband for her baptism instead which is this year. :)

  20. GreenMomma88 says:

    When she gets married (ya know, way down the road) you can then turn her baptismal gown into something special on her wedding day. Either part of her wedding dress, her bridal bag…etc.

  21. Becca says:

    I've been working on a shirt dress for my daughter and could not figure out the sleeves at all. Your explanation makes perfect sense! I can't wait to finish the dress now. Thanks for your tutorial!

  22. Fee says:

    Lovely! Cute! Can't believe you did it! ♥

  23. potusmama says:

    Congratulations! Amazing dress and wonderful tutorial. You're tutorials are always so amazingly detailed. I know it takes longer to do your projects by doing these but know that it is really appreciated. Enjoy your blessed event.

  24. Cherie says:

    About it only getting worn once–you never know! My mom made my blessing dress. She sewed a bunch of little pin tucks on it by hand. Anyway, I had my own daughter blessed in it 21 years later! (We just had to replace some of the lace that had yellowed.)

  25. Anonymous says:

    How clever you are to draft your own pattern! I am wanting to be able to do that, you have given me the confidence to be able to give it a shot. Your children are absolutely beautiful and so lucky with all that you do with them. Enjoy your baby girl's special day. Roz

  26. Cathy says:

    Thanks so for sharing

  27. Shirley says:

    So beautiful! How I wish I were having a girl some times! :) She is such a cute little baby and really makes the dress cute too. :)

  28. Mindy says:

    Beautiful. My mom made my girls' blessing dress out of my wedding dress that she made. I love it and you're right that it's a shame it's only worn once.

  29. Tyler, Alexis, Karielle and Jillian says:

    Love it! The fabric looks like satin dupoini. Love that stuff.

  30. Bethany says:

    Simply beautiful! There's a special dress used for baptisms in my family, but I'm sending this to my mom so we can make it together next year for Easter! (that is, if I have a girl in September…fingers crossed!)

    ♥ Bethany

  31. The Handmaden says:

    That is really gorgeous and thank you for a great tutorial.

  32. Tiffany says:

    So precious… I know a couple people that have dyed it after they have used it so they can wear it more than once!

  33. mummy-who-cooks says:

    Such a beautiful dress and what an adorable baby girl. 'You make it, We Love it'…!

  34. The Marchant Family: says:

    Beautiful!! You are very talented (at making cute babies and sewing :)

  35. Morgan says:

    Babies do look super sweet in white, and I like little boys in white gowns for blessings and confirmations, too — so old-fashioned :) I have to brag and say that we all use the blessing dress my grandmother made for my big sister. Heirloom = no work making the dress, plus, well, it's an heirloom.

  36. elesa says:

    All right, I'm sure everyone says this, but you are just awesome. I just don't make things without patterns, but I think I might have to give it a try. You make it seem so easy. Thanks!

  37. Laura says:

    Wow! This dress is gorgeous. I can barely sew in a straight line. What a talent you have!

  38. Goings on at the Glenn's says:

    very pretty! Your dress turned out great and what a tutorial! I made my daughters blessing dress too and have a pic up on my blog as well. Can't wait to make my oldest daughter's baptism dress in a few more years! Just beautiful. Great job!

  39. BECKY says:

    I made my baby's blessing dress too.. loved it. I might steal this look for the next one. :)

  40. Steph @ Crafting in the Rain says:

    Just lovely! The dress, and the sweetie in it. I made the dress we used for our two girls' blessings. It was the hardest sewing project I've done, but so worth it. Thanks for sharing yours!

  41. Camille says:

    Soooo beautiful. I am sure your day was sweet.
    P.S. Rice Krispies are Gluten Free in June!

  42. We Are A Happy Family says:

    I love to see your many creations. Your blog has inspired me to be more creative. I love to recycle clothes. I found a beautiful white dress with embroidered purple flowers at a thrift store . I cut it up and made a gorgeous blessing gown for my little girl.
    What a beautiful blessing gown!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I've often tried to trace a dress of my daughters to make a new one and get hung up on the sleeves. It appears that you trace the sleeve backwards. You trace the outside of the sleeve for the part that is supposed to attach to the bodice and make a straight line along the bodice for the end of the sleeve. Can you explain a bit better how you traced the sleeve? Thanks!

  44. Jodi says:

    So beautiful — the baby and the dress!

  45. Emily says:

    Beautiful!! Beautiful baby and beautiful dress, you make it look so easy! I love it!

  46. Jeanne says:

    This is so fabulous! I am not great at understanding directions in a pattern, but I tend to wing it a lot. I didn't know it was so allowed, but here you made something beautiful just the way I would prefer to!!! Thanks for sharing this because now I am getting more confidence for my winging it urges!

  47. mokeymomma says:

    Grandma makes these for our girls. She has hand embroidered on the slip their name, birth date and blessed date so that as they have their own children the gowns can be used again as an heirloom and a piece of family history.

  48. Emily S says:

    I would just like to say that I greatly admire your skill in being able to take a dress and make your own pattern from it. I find it so hard to find sewing patterns I like (and can follow!) and you give me hope :) Great job!


  49. Jamie and Tom says:

    Congratulations on the special day! That is so so so so SO adorable!!!

  50. Kari says:


    Everything you do is AMAZING!! I've never seen a tutorial for a blessing dress before and this is incredible.

    Jaw-dropping cute!!

  51. Mike and Shayla says:

    That is just beautiful! You made it look so easy to use an existing dress as a pattern, I might have to try making Easter dresses for my girls.

    It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I think the fabric might be crepe-back satin. Hopefully that helps someone.

  52. Malori says:

    It's beautiful!

  53. Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva says:

    Very cute!

  54. feelincrafty says:

    Such a beautiful dress! My son is getting baptised next month and I wanted to make something special, but I don't think I'll have time before then… Very very beautiful!

  55. Midwestern Gone Idahoan says:

    WOW!!!! I love it!!! I didn't make any of my baby's blessing dresses – but with your help, I think I will be able to make a dress for my 18 month old baby girl.

    The dress and baby girl are WONDERFUL!!

  56. winnie says:

    Great tutorial! What did you use for the lining, more statin? Blessing day is in a month and a half, I hope I can pull this off in time!

  57. Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness! How do you have time for all this and 3 kids?! This is beautiful! I know she will cherish it when she gets older. Thanks for the great tutorial :0)

  58. Prudently Painted Vintage says:

    Congrats on your daughters blessing. What a beautiful dress for such a special day! Did you make the shoes too? I didn't notice if you mentioned it in the post.

    Great tutorial too!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  59. Lil Mama Stuart says:

    all that pattern making talk. makes me wish project runway was back! :)

  60. Rebekah says:

    beautiful dress!!
    my mom got the honor of making all 4 of my kids' blessing outfits.

  61. Kat says:

    The dress and your daughter are stunning. You gave such a great tutorial – thank you!

  62. Katie O. says:

    She is such a doll! Precious, precious! The dress is beautiful, great job :)

  63. Joel and Chelsey says:

    How neat! I would never have the courage to make clothing if I just bought a pattern to do it. Things can get so complicated. Your pictures help me envision it all. If I had a girl instead of a boy I'd be all over this!9 My husband would definitely make fun of our baby boy if he wore a dress!)

  64. Neldajay says:

    What a beautiful confirmation dress and such a lovely daughter of yours. Your blog is such an inspiration. Thanks for the tutorial. I am hoping to make a Easter dress for my 2 year old daughter and a confirmation dress for my on the way baby girl. Have a great one and good job!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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