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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

Administrator 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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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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