Ready for new sweet little dress Inspired by a Children’s book?

My daughter and I were reading her favorite book “Put Me in the Zoo” By Robert Lopshire. When we got to this page:

It happens to be her favorite I think because the spots are blue, but regardless as we sat on this page for a good 5 min as she pointed to all the things on the page I stared at the dress. I found myself mildly captivated with this sweet little yellow dress and decided I had to make one for my daughter. So I did.

Complete with buttons down the back

A ruffle down the front

And some body to the skirt
Ready to make your own? (if you made the petal sleeve top found HERE then this will be a breeze)
You will need:
  • One pattern (we will make it together)
  • Fabric (I like something with a little stiffness to it like stretch poplin)
  • Contrast fabric for the collar
  • Piping (Find it online HERE)
  • Buttons
  • 1/8 elastic cut into 1 inch strips
Lets start by making the pattern:

(if you made the petal sleeve top use the same bodice pattern only you will make it longer)
To make the bodice of the dress take a few simple measurements:
  • First measure around the largest part of the chest. For my model this was 20 inches, Divide that by 4 So for me the final measurement was 5 inches. This will be the width of the pattern piece.
  • Second measure from the top of the shoulder to the midpoint under the arm. This will give you the arm opening measurement for my model this was 4 1/2 inches, add some wiggle room. SO my final measurement was 5 1/2 inches long **you could also trace the arm hole opening of a shirt that fits well as seen in this pattern**
  • Third measurement is how long the bodice will be. To get this measurement measure from the top of the shoulder to wherever you want the bodice to end, for my model this was 10 inches.
Then that’s it! Taking those measurements you will make a bodice piece as shown in the picture above.

To make the collar pattern for the dress:
(making it my way not necessarily the “right” way)
Trace or freehand a circle. How big of a circle? Measure from the middle of the shoulder across the back to the middle of the other shoulder this will be the circumference of the circle. Cut the circle out.

Fold it in half

Then fold it in half again and round the edge as shown above

Then cut your circle in half (along the first fold line) You will have to shapes like the ill lit picture above shows. Keep one you can discard the other.

Then Fold your collar piece again along the same fold line that is already there and line it up under your bodice piece and trim away what is showing.

So when you are done and unfold your collar piece it should line up with your bodice at the neckline and look like the picture above.

Now onto the skirt part
The top should be 2X the measurement of the bottom of the bodice.
For me that was 5 inches, so the width of the skirt will be 10 inches. Then Decide how long you want the skirt and that will be along the flat edge then angle the other side so your skirt will flair and round the edge. You should end up with a piece that looks like the picture above.

Now for the sleeve (the last part)
To make the petal sleeve pattern piece you are going to make a rectangle that measures the length of your pattern piece from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the armpit (right where the curve begins) The add 1 1/2 inches. That will be the length of the rectangle and then the width will be 2 inches. Then within the rectangle draw an arc that is shallow on one end and gets fatter on the other, so when you cut it out, you will have almost a half a heart looking shape that is flat on one side. (like the picture above)

Now you are done with your pattern! Easy right?
Mark and save your pattern you will be happy you did.
You should have:
  • 1 Collar piece
  • 1 Sleeve piece
  • 1 Bodice piece
  • 1 Skirt piece

Now on to the cutting:

Cut 4 skirt pieces (2) for the outside (2) for the lining

Now for the bodice cut 3 on the fold and cut one of them in half. Then cut 1 about 1 1/2 inches over from the fold (as pictured above) and cut that one in half. So in the end you should have:
2 Front bodice pieces
4 back bodice pieces 2 longer than the other 2

Then you should have 8 petals for the sleeves and 4 collar pieces

** Not pictured cut 3 rectangles 2x the length of the bodice piece and 3 inches wide for the front ruffles**

Now on to the sewing:

First turn over the top and bottom edge of the long rectangles and then fold in half and sew a basting stitch along the raw edge of the rectangle.

Gather the rectangle. Do this to two of the rectangles

For the third rectangle fold over and sew in place the top and bottom edges, and then fold in the two side edges so they over lap and sew a basting stitch down the middle of the strip. Gather.

Then pin the two ruffles under the center ruffle. Pin it down the middle of one of the bodice pieces and sew in place. (as shown above)

Then take some of your piping and pin around the edge the collar. Face the piping inward as shown above. Sew it in place, except around the neck opening.

Then place your other collar piece right sides together and sew to the piece with the piping. This is done easiest if you sew on the bottom side so you follow the same stitch line (as shown above)

Then turn it right side out and top stitch around the edge.

Then sew right sides together at the shoulder connecting the front bodice to one short piece and one long piece of the back bodice. Do this with all the pieces so you should have 2 identical pieces (one with the ruffle)

Then place the collar along the right side of the neck opening. Shown above is how the collar will look lined up with the long side, it should match up on the shorter side. Pin both collars in place. Then pin (right sides together) the other bodice piece so it sandwiches the collar piece and sew around the edge.

Turn it right side out and top stitch it in place.

Sewing the petals: Sew right sides together and then notch the curve. Then turn it right side out and top stitch. Do this with all 4 petals.

Then Pin 2 petals to each side of the arm opening pin and sew only to one layer. The tip of the petal should start at the bottom of the arm opening and the petals should overlap in the middle. Which way they overlap doesn’t matter but make sure they overlap the same way on both sides.

Then fold over the lining and sew the lining to the top.
(sorry I didn’t get a very good picture of that step for a better picture go HERE)

Then your bodice is done!

On to the skirt. Sew right sides together at the sides that flair so that you have a tube. Do this with the skirt and the lining so you have 2 tubes. Then along the bottom of the tube pin the piping to the right side of the skirt at one of the side seams cross the piping so they flow of the skirt as pictured above. Sew in place.

Then sewing right sides together pin the tubes to each other so that it sandwiches the piping.

It is easiest to sew the two pieces together if you follow the first stitch line.

Then turn the Tube right side out and top stitch along the edge.

Sorry I didn’t take a picture of the next steps but you are going to gather along the raw edge of the tube (the top) and then pin right sides together to the bodice. Overlap the back piece so that the long side tucks under the shorter piece.

Then on back sew on your buttons on the long flap in a little ways, and then on the other side, fold the elastic to make loops and sew them in place.

Then you are done! Not to hard right?

Don’t you love how the stiffness of the piping creates flow

Then put your little sweet dress on your little miss

She will love it

And you will love it