This is a pretty involved dress, so here is the quick and dirty on how to construct it.  This took me a good 8-10 hours to make and I am a pretty efficient sewer for the most part.  Not trying to scare you off, but this is more of a labor of love than most of the things I have sewn.  I honestly made it because #1 She liked it, and #2 I wanted to make it!


– 4 pieces of the overskirt (the back is also split due to the zipper).  On front two pieces I cut it with a curve , which is where the split will be.

– I piece of skirt lining cut on the fold and 2 pieces for the back lining.  The front is cut longer than the back as I had to cut it up to insert the gathers.  Cut the front skirt in 4 inch intervals.

– Cut front bodice pieces on the fold (this is lined, so I cut 2 of each) and back bodice pieces with an inch extra on each side to account for the zipper.

– Cut sleeve and a piece of the overskirt for the edging on the sleeve.

– Cut chiffon in 5 inch swaths.  This is a bit hard to cut as it moves a lot while cutting and placing it down to cut.  I used my rotary cutter, and you have to watch for those remaining thread as they can pull the fabric.  I cut about 10 strips, the width of the fabric.


– Gather the ruffle, and hem it where needed.

– Sew the front and back overskirt together at the sides.

– Attach the ruffle along the edges (down the front and across the bottoms).  Finish the seam as needed.  This was prone to fraying, so for some of the seams I did a French seam and for some I serged them.

– Hem the chiffon.  I tried using a narrow hem foot, but that didn’t work for me.  I just  did it manually as I went along.

– Ruffle the chiffon.  I did this on my serger so it would finish the seam as it ruffled it.

– Attach the ruffle in between the front sections.  I started at the top and went down.  Make sure it is all facing the right way!

– When the last two bottom layers are attached, sew the front to the backs at the side seam.  Attach another ruffle along the bottom.  The very back has not been attached yet.

– Sew the flounce to the arms, then sew up the sides.

– Sew the shoulders together (front to back for both the outside and the lining) and then sew the neckline.  If you want to have some lace at the bottom of the neckline, sandwich it in between the layers before sewing.

– Place the decorative band on the outside bodice (front and back), and then sew the side seams together.  Make sure the edges match up.

– Sew the sleeve into the shirt.  Serge the edge or finish them with a zigzag stitch.

– Figure out where the bottom of the zipper will land, and sew the skirt lining and overskirt up to that point.

– Put the zipper in on the outside bodice and down the skirt.  I like to use Wonder Tape to keep the zipper in place while sewing it in.

All done!

The most time consuming part was the chiffon ruffles.  The overskirt and the underskirt took me 4 or 5 hours.  I wasn’t working overly fast at it and was doing a bit of “making this up as I go”, but it was still a bit time consuming.  I did the ruffles one at a time, as I wasn’t sure how much I would need for each row.  This slowed me down.




2012-05-05_2732 2012-05-05_2737 birthday-dress2