I have some friends having babies coming up and so I have returned to my favorite baby shower (for a girl I will do boy later) gift. I call this the Abbey dress because it was the very first pattern I ever made on my own and I made it for my daughter Abbey. We had decided not to find out what we were having the second time around. In hopes of having a girl I began sewing some girl clothes to prepare. The most I had ever done with sewing was following store bought patterns and then I ventured into altering them a little here and there to fit my needs. Then my daughter was born and she unlocked me from my creative block and I began making my own patterns to custom fit my wants and her size. (I feel like store bought patterns always fit really odd) This Abbey dress was my first pattern, and I loved it. Everything since this pattern has been an evolution of this pattern.(like the petal sleeve top that was born from this pattern) For a baby it is super basic, and easy and comfortable and the best part is the style grows with the child. One size fit Abbey from Newborn through one year. (bonus) Now on to the tutorial.
First the Pattern. I am trying to get some of my patterns available for download but for some reason no matter what I do they will never print the right size. (I am working on it) However as far as making your own patterns goes this is the easiest you will ever make. It is a pretty basic “jumper” style dress. So to make the pattern make two rectangles that are the measurements you want. For most infants I make the size as detailed in the picture above.
For the bodice. I make a rectangle that is 3.5 X 4.5 inches. Then marking in 1.5 inches from the top and 1 inch up from the bottom I cut in a curve for the neckline. All of these measurements can be adjusted for any size you are making.
For the Skirt. I make a rectangle that is 8.5 inches by 9.5 inches. Then I angle one edge slightly and on the other side I cut a small curve for the arm opening so I measure one inch over and one inch down and curve between them.
The two (and only) pattern pieces should look like the basic shapes in the picture above the measurements can be adjusted to any size you need. 

To cut them out cut 2 skirt pieces on the fold along the straight side. Then cut 4 of the bodice piece with the fold on the short side. Then you will cut two of the bodice pieces in half. So you will have the pieces shown above.
For the dress I am doing the tutorial for I used piping, This is optional and I have made many without piping. So you can skip that if you want.

First sew the front bodice piece to two back pieces at the shoulder seam. You should make two of these with all out bodice pieces.
Then if you are using piping sew that all along the neckline and the edge of the back pieces. Sew it to the right side of the top with the flap of the piping toward the outside edge.
Then sandwich the other bodice piece on top so right sides are together. (do this with or without piping) sew along the back slit and neckline. Clip the curve and then turn right side out.
Top stitch along the neckline. Then turn the side edges in and sew together.
Then again if you are using piping sew it along the bottom of the front bodice piece. Fold over the edges so it has a finished edge.
Then on the back skirt piece make a 2 inch slit down the middle. (along the top edge which should have the notches in it)
Then sew piping along the slit. (if you are not using piping you can skip this and finish the slit as I show you with the arm openings below)
Then turn the piping flaps to the back side and top stitch in place.
Sew the front and back skirt pieces together at the side seams. The notches should match up creating to U shaped dips on both sides of the top. I also serge or zig zag stitch the seams since if they are left unfinished they tend to unravel.
Then cut out a small rectangle of fabric that will overlap the arm opening and sew along the opening. (right sides together)
Then turn the rectangle over to the back, and fold under all the edges
Then sew along the turned under edges and you have a finished edge for the arm opening. (this is how you can finish the slit in the back if you skip the piping)
Then matching the middle of the front bodice with the middle of the front skirt piece make small pleats out towards the edge until the ends meet. Sew in place.
Then I serge or zig zag stitch that edge and then top stitch it so it lays flat against the bodice. Then do the same for the back. (sorry I don’t have a picture of that but it should make sense)
Then Hem the bottom if you are using piping as I did then sew the piping around the bottom turn it over and top stitch. If you are not using piping just roll the hem under and sew in place.

Then I sew a small elastic loop on the inside of the back flap
And lastly a button on the other side. Then done.
It seemed like a lot of steps but, it really is easy and once you get going you will be cranking them out in no time, it takes me about an hour to make the dress and matching booties. I will share the shoes tomorrow, with a downloadable pattern which I hope will work ok 🙂

Here are just some examples I pulled of this dress I have made over the course of my daughter’s life. But I would love to see what you come up with so add a link or send me a picture at shwinandshwin@gmail.com.

A dress when Abbey was 4 months old

She wore as a tunic when she was 16 months
I added a ribbon at the chest and made the dress out of layers of tulle and chiffon  for what we called the cotton candy dress.

I made an elastic casing at the bottom hem added elastic and made a bubble top.
And lastly mixing prints I added a border at the bottom and made different colors for different holidays. (she actually wore this for two 4th of July’s as a babe and at this age)

So as you can see the possibilities are endless and you can have a lot of fun with a really simple pattern. (whew! That was a long post sorry, with lots of pictures sorry)

Enjoy!