I've made this dress a half dozen times or so, and each time I get a little better and faster at it. This last version only took about 4 hours from pattern tracing to final hem. Not a bad half days' work.
I used the third neckline for this particular incarnation. It's not quite a sweetheart neckline like the last one -- more like a curved v-neck. Very pretty, but it took careful sewing around the curves to get it just right.
I put an invisible zipper in the back -- just my third one but very quick and easy. I'm pretty sure I'll never want to go back to regular zippers, but I have so many in the stash that I'll have to use them up eventually.
The skirt front is the entire width of the 45 inch fabric and so is the back, making the hem circumference almost 90inches. DD likes her skirts nice and full and she was very happy with this one.
The lining is machine-stitched around the neckline but is hand sewn to the zipper and to the waist seam. I thought I would hate that part, but I'm becoming more and more happy with my hand sewing and it really takes very little time. And frankly, it's much easier and more relaxing than trying to machine top stitch on the right side while attempting to catch the lining on the underside.
The only thing I don't like about this pattern is there's no pattern piece for long sleeves -- I had to use the sleeve cap for the short sleeve pattern piece and lengthen it to make a long sleeve. Speaking of sleeves, this pattern doesn't have the ridiculous amount of sleeve cap ease that so many Big4 patterns have -- the sleeves fit into the armscye beautifully. An important point, since the armscye is so small and because of the lining, you have to set in the sleeves as circular. That was a bit of a challenge, but if you're careful and take your time, it can be done.
I'll probably make this a couple of more times yet, but then it will be time to move on to another pattern. This one was well worth it, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a simple girl's dress.
A few more details of this particular project and pictures of the other dresses I've made with this pattern at my blog:
Thimbles, Threads, and Needles
I traced the next size up and used the sweetheart neckline for this version. DD absolutely loves it!
An updated blog post can be found at Thimbles, Threads, and Needles
More info and photos at my blog: Thimbles, Threads, and Needles
Pattern Description: Slightly flared dress, lower calf, has fitted, lined bodice, dirndl skirt, back zipper. It's a cute dress for girls. Pretty plain Jane, but great for a busy fabric.
Pattern Sizing: Kids' 2-8
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were fine. This is a pretty basic dress so it's pretty hard to mess it up.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I wanted a plain dress pattern to use with fancy fabrics, trims, or embellishments. I also like plain patterns so I can use them as a template for more creative designs of my own.
I also like the way it fits. It doesn't have Big 4's usual tons of ease that they always seem to have for kids' clothes. This dress is actually pretty close-fitting. If measurements are in between sizes I'd recommend sizing up rather than down.
Fabric Used: Quilting cotton from JoAnns for the outside, cheap polyester for the lining which I really wish I hadn't done.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Lowered the neckline a little. The neckline on the muslin version was too high to be comfortable on DD, so I just re-drew the neckline curve. I also lengthened the sleeve piece to make long sleeves.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I have already sewn it again. After I made this one, I decided I liked the pattern with just a few construction changes. I made it again in a cotton/lycra and it's pretty much all the same except that I didn't line the sleeves on that one. And I didn't have to do any hand sewing, either :o)
Conclusion: This is a really nice girls' dress if you need something that's simple and uncomplicated. You can leave it plain, or dress it up with ribbons or trims or whatever, sort of like a blank canvas. You can really have fun with this one.