the delaney dress tutorial - celebrate color!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ohhhhhh, i've caught the fall bug big time folks!  i've fallen head first into those wonderful tones of orange, purple, pink and green and who better to feed my fabric cravings for these yummy tones than amy butler!  i used disco flower in tangerine from our sponsor for this dress. love!  today's tutorial is part of the fabulous "celebrate color"!  it's been so much fun being a part of this wonderful event & helping to organize it and i hope you've all been getting your entries in for this month as there are some awesome prizes to be won!

for my tutorial for october i couldn't resist continuing along with the same retro flair as my september's tute - the autumn tunic.  i wanted something simple, classic yet modern and fun.  i'm totally crushing on the full skirt, double stitched bias tape trim and belt and the the sleeves.  harper just melts my heart in this little frock.

and guess what?  you can make one too!  i kept it nice and easy for you all.  a great base for you to start with if you are just learning to sew and one for more advanced sewers to add their own personal flair.  there's no zippers, buttons or tricky detail work.  it's simple, fast to make and oh so fun to see your wee one wear!

i mean how cute is this for fall??? 

it was so hard to resist jumping in the leaves and rolling around with her.  i can just feel the cozy fall  sunshine radiating off that dress.  want to make one of your own?  let's get ready!

***Copyright 2011
All rights reserved. For personal use only. Please do not sell items made from this tutorial unless permission has been given.

The Delaney Dress Tutorial - Approximately Size 1-2yrs


- 1 yard fabric (I used quilting cotton) pre-washed and dried. trust me.  you want to do this :)
- co-ordinating thread
- 1 package co-ordinating double fold bias tape or handmade bias tape in the distance to suit the size of your dress.
- sewing machine
- pinking shears (*optional)
- iron
- fabric marker

Pattern pieces:

You can print out the following pattern pieces by simply clicking on the link below.  Make sure when printing the image is at 100% with no shrinking or resizing.

Bodice Back
Bodice Front


*All seams have a 1/2" seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

1. Print out the pattern pieces above on standard size paper with no shrinking or resizing.  Cut them out.  Place on your fabric taking care that if you have a print that they are all going in the correct direction and that you are cutting with your fabric give going from left to right (you can check this by pulling the fabric to see which direction gives the most ease or stretch) and cut.  Set aside.

2.  Cut out two pieces of fabric 12"L by  25"W for the skirt.  Place skirt pieces right sides facing together and pin sides.  Sew together your side seams with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press.  Finish seam with a zig zag stitch or clip with pinking shears.
3.  It's time to ruffle that pretty skirt up!  There are many ways to ruffle a skirt and because I am still learning the best one on my machine I still do it the more involved way.  Simply stitch along the entire top of the skirt using a basting stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance taking care not to backstitch at all.  when done simply pull the bottom thread (bobbin thread) of your seam to ruffle the fabric. don't pull too hard though - you don't want to break it & don't ruffle it too much, we need to fit it to the bodice later.

4. Grab your bodice pieces.  Place fabrics right sides facing together and pin.  Sew together your sides seams with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press.  Finish seam with a zig zag stitch or clip with pinking shears.

5.  Pin straps of bodice together with right sides still facing each other.  This is a good time to try the dress on your little one to make sure the sizing is going to work with your toddler.  If any adjustments need to be made to the bodice width now is the time to do it.  If all is good your next step is to sew both straps with a 1/2" seam allowance or size to fit your child's body.  Press.  Finish seam with a zig zag stitch or clip with pinking shears.

6.  Fold your bodice in half marking the center point of the bodice back with a fabric pen or pin.  Measure down 3 inches and make another mark.  Cut a straight line from one mark to another.  This will later form your "v" neck back opening.
6.  Grab your cute sleeves.  Take the outer edge and fold in 1/4" and press, then fold 1/4" again and press pinning the last fold down as you go.  Now you're ready to stitch that lovely hem down.  Sew your sleeve edging close to the inner edge of your fold.  Press.

7.  Fold sleeve pieces in half making a finger press fold and mark where your center is with a fabric pen or pin.  With bodice wrong side out (wrong side showing, right side inside) and sleeve right side out (right side facing and wrong side inside) place sleeve inside the opening for the sleeve matching center point of sleeve to center top of sleeve opening.  Bottom points of sleeve should be overlapping for a clean finish.  Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance. Press and finish seam with a zig zag stitch or clip with pinking shears.  Do this for both sleeves.

8. Time to put that skirt with the bodice!  Take your ruffled skirt - wrong side out, and your bodice - right side out and place bodice inside the skirt matching the bottom of bodice to top of skirt.  Pin down making sure the ruffling of your skirt matches up evenly around the bodice.  You don't want some areas more ruffly than others.  Sew the skirt to the bodice with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press and finish seam with a zig zag stitch or clip with pinking shears.

9.  Hem your dress to your preferred length.  I folded mine 1/4", pressed, then folded 1/2" and pressed.  I stitched down close to the inner side of the folded edge then pressed again.  I then topstitched close to my hem line for a double stitch finish to match the bias tape finish you will be doing soon.  Add a label if you are using one and voila!

10. Next we are going to finish off the neck.  We're almost done!  Taking your bias tape, starting at the top of one shoulder, pin down along the entire neck and back opening taking care to fold properly at tops of back opening and bottom of  "v" opening in back.  (It would take me a whole post to explain the sewing of bias tape so I'll just direct you over to Dana from Made's handy post here for making your own and here for sewing it).  Next sew down your bias tape close to the edge taking care to catch the underside of your bias tape. When stitching the "V" opening I sort of folded the bias in on itself to form a v point at the bottom and stitched it down (see picture above).  Press.  Stitch along the entire neckline again but this time close to the opposite edge. Purdy!

11.  It's time to add the tie!  Cut bias tape the length you would like making sure to be able to tie a bow in the back.  Mine was 64" long.  Fold bias tape in half and mark center point.  Pin center of bias tape to corresponding center of dress.  Pin bias tape down with the joining seam of the bodice/skirt in the center of your bias tape.  Pin from left side seam straight over to right side seam.  Stitch close to left edge from this side to the other. Backstitch.  Start again on the bottom right seam and sew over to the bottom of the left seam. Backstitch again.  Another pretty finish!  Now the next step is up to you.  You could continue the same two stitch lines along the entire bias tape ends that will be tied in a bow but I got lazy and didn't cause I actually prefer to not sew bias tape.  We have a love/hate relationship so I left mine unfinished....for now :)

12.  Press your dress and stand back and admire your hard work!  Great job!!!  Now go take a fab photo of your new frock and post it in our flickr group so we can admire your sewing skills!  And don't forget to leave me a comment too so I can see how it turned out!  Also, feel free to email if you have any questions or problems -

***Copyright 2011
All rights reserved. For personal use only. Please do not sell items made from this tutorial unless permission has been given.

i hope you have lots of fun with this dress!  delaney was one of the names i had loved for harper that didn't make it past the hubby test so i had been saving it to use :)  i can't wait to see the fabric combos, buttons, custom bias tape and all sorts of trim goodies you guys come up with to rock the delaney dress out with!  go have fun and don't forget to celebrate color in style!!!
what are your favorite colors to sew in for fall?  do you have a favorite dress to make for the cooler months?  what do you guys think?  do you likey?  make sure to leave me a comment below if you make one so i can see your pretty dresses :)


  1. such a beautiful dress! harper looks absolutely adorable! xoxo

  2. gorgeous!! gorgeous! gorgeous! you did a great job! i love the bias tape details. might just have to make one for violet. thanks for the tute :)

  3. what a beautiful dress on a very beautiful girl. My cowl is done: Tone

  4. Adorable, just adorable Shanny! And holy wow, that Harper is just precious!!

  5. I love that dress. I am new to sewing, and really liked your tutorial.

  6. Perfection. I especially love how versatile this is! And you girl is just the sweetest.

    I have a question re: Celebrate the last day to enter the 26th of each month, or is it the last day of the month?

  7. Gorgeous!! I love it! Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. I love how you used a favorite girl name to dub this dress! And the back finish is a great idea for those of us new to sewing clothes.

  9. @hannah Yes, you have to enter by tomorrow, the 26th!

  10. Oh this is so so sweet! I love the fabric choice. Thank you so much for the tutorial, now I just need a little girl to make it for!

  11. You ROCK! This dress is so cute and your daughter is adorable. Can't wait to sew one for my lil one :)

  12. Thanks everyone! It was fun to make and I think it is one of my faves that I've made. I'm looking forward to seeing some of you whip one up. Trust's really easy and super quick!

  13. Just a query --- when I saved the pattern pieces, the dimensions were quite large (17x22). Is this correct?

  14. This is lovely!!especially the color, I like bright colors. I will try to sew one for my daughter is already 7 years old!!

  15. Thanks so much for sharing this im really into making my daughter clothes right now and this is perfect!! I'm a new follower and i'd love if you'd check out my blog sometime!


  16. This is very sweet!
    And how fast your little bub is growing!
    i love love youre blog,and ,your goofy pictures always make me feel giggly lol. :)
    And i love your fabric simple its beautiful :)

  17. I did it! It wasn't pretty at first, but I made it through! I just started a blog last week and I blogged about the Delaney Dress today. Check it out at

    My little one wore it to church to day and she looked adorable even with the cookie crumbs and slobber droppings down the front of her dress. :)

    Thanks for the tutorial and for sharing your talents!

  18. Thanks, I love the challenge of making different sorts of dresses for the little one.

  19. What a gorgeous pattern! I'm going to try it today!

  20. What a sweet dress! I pinned the instructions on my baby clothes tutorial board so more people would find your pattern.

    If you would rather I didn't, just contact me via the addy posted on the footer of my website and I'll take it right down.

    Unique Baby Nursery Ideas

  21. hello :) I love, love love this dress. I just went out and bought two different fabrics so that I can make two of them. I am a beginner, and I have only sewn one other outfit (halloween costume) this past week. I am HOOKED on sewing now!!! I was hoping for a little bit of help with this though.

    My daughter is a size 2T. I was wondering if adding 1/4 inch to all sides would make this big enough for my daughter? Would that distort the shape too much? You are an advanced sewer, so I was hoping you would be able to give me some advice on this!

    Also, the sleeve pattern looks soooo much shorter than the sleeves in your picture. Is there anyway you could help me figure out how to make the sleeve a 3 quarter length that ends just above the elbow?

    I am really sorry to bother you, but I am in love with this pattern and really want my dresses to come out well!

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Christen,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I'm so glad you like the dress!

      Please make sure when you are printing the pattern pieces that you are selecting "no scaling" and not "fit to size" or the pattern will be too small.

      Let me know if that helps with the sizing of the sleeve.

      As for 3/4 that is much more involved and not something I can easily explain on here but it is a good suggestion. You could try to use an existing dress that you have and use it as a guide for the sizing of the length/width etc and draft a pattern piece up using the one I did and the new one to elongate it.

      What I suggest for the sizing is along the same lines. Get a dress that you ahve that fits well and is a similar fabric and put it up against the pattern pieces that you have of mine and add the extra width needed for the body, neck and armhole. It won't be perfect but is doable. I would make a muslin (which is a fake dress so to speak) so that you can make sure the fit is right before you use your good fabric. There are a lot of links online for drafting patterns using existing clothing and on muslins etc. I recommend looking those up.

      So glad to hear you are hooked on sewing! I hope you enjoy the pattern and if you have any more questions or issues please email and I'll do my best to help you out.

    2. Thank you very much for your suggestions! I am so nervous now, lol. My husband is going to bring print the pattern at work and bring it home. I think I will start by lining it up with her current clothes and see if the sizing is close enough. I *tried* making a pattern before and it was a nightmare, so I am hoping that the one you have here will work as is. My daughter is 22 months and wears a size 2T, but mainly because she is so tall, and I am not worried about the length as much as the width.

      I love your blog and, hopefully this one goes well so I can make yor heart shape backed dress in the summer! I am very excited :)

      Have a great day- and thank you for responding so qickly! I see your email address is .ca. That is Canada right? My husband is a Canadian- he is from Cavan, ON (1.5 or so hours from Toronto). Its a small world :)


  22. Thank you so much for this pattern. I just made it for my god-daughter as Xmas present. I absolutely love it, I hope her mum loves it too -should know for sure in the next few hours:)
    Have a merry xmas.

  23. I just found this tutorial and plan to make this for my grand daughter. I read the instructions and do not see anything about sewing a button or a loop or anything to close the back neck V. Am I missing it? Or, if you designed it to stay open, will the V area flap out when they wear it and move around? It looks so cute and I'm just not sure if I'm missing a further step for the back neck V.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

    in Seattle

    1. Nope - no closure! It's not that deep and doesn't flap open. It's just a small detail so they can pull it on and off without adding closures.

      Thanks so much!

  24. IS there a print button for the instructions?

    1. I don't have that built in to my blog page. Sorry for the inconvenience.



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