Spring Pocket Dress Tutorial

We had a fabulous Easter up in Oregon visiting my in-laws.
The weather, which was supposed to rain the entire vacation,
totally cooperated and we had 4 out of 7 sunny days for fun 
in the Big Woods where Grandma and Grandpa live. 

I got Isabella's dress all cut out and planned before we left,
but never got around to making it.
I had the grand idea that I would take it and my new sewing
machine with me and then I'd have one day to
sew it before Easter Sunday AND I'd have my fabulous
mother-in-law to help me and keep me on the right track.

She did keep me on track and she helped me finish the dress
and JT's bowtie in the nick of time - like 10:30 the night before Easter :)
Which is WAY better than 8:00am Easter morning - before a 9:00 Service,
which is what it would have been if I tried to do it all on my own.

I {LOVE} how it turned out!!!!
And JT looked pretty sharp in his matching bow tie.
However, he informed me that he prefers regular ties.

This is really more of a how-to of how I made the dress, than a tutorial, 
but I'll talk you through it and you can let me know if you have any questions.

THIS TUTORIAL over at Shwin&Shwin was the inspiration for my dress.
I liked the idea of pockets and a bubble shaped skirt.
However, I didn't want a sleeveless dress and I wanted it to have a
tie in the back, instead of the pleated belt on the front.

S&S used one of their own patterns for the bodice of the dress.
I didn't want to purchase a pattern, so I dug through my patterns
and found a dress with a similar neck line.
However, it was a pattern for a full dress, so I improvised
and used an altered version of the pattern I already had.

I also wanted it to have a sleeve, so I added a cute little flutter sleeve
because it's an easy peasy sleeve to add - and we're all about easy peasy.
It's basically an oval shape which you fold wrong sides together,
baste, gather and then pin into place.
To add the sleeve, I just pinned it in between the dress and lining
and then sewed the bodice together following the directions at S&S.
I lined the top of the dress with the same fabric as the outside,
that way it if it showed a little bit in any spot, it wouldn't be that noticeable.

My new machine does buttonholes!
I am so freaking excited about it.
However, when my mother-in-law offered to
do them for me while I worked on the bow tie,
I couldn't pass that up!
So I didn't do my own buttonholes this time . . . next time . . . 
I opted for three buttons instead of four like S&S,
because I have a thing about threes :)

For the belt/bow I made it in three pieces - 
one piece which fit exactly across the front from one side seam to the other 
and the two long piece which became the ties.
We tacked the front piece at the side seams and along the bottom of the dress.

The back ties ended up being longer than we wanted,
but there was no time to shorten them before church,
so one day I'll get around to make them a few inches shorter.

Isabella's favorite feature is the pockets :)

A little tip for doing the box pleats,
find the middle of the front of the bodice and mark with a pin,
then find the middle of the skirt and pin to the middle mark of the bodice.
Then, find the middle of each of the "halves" of the bodice and mark with pins,
and again find the middle of the "halves" of the skirt and pin to the middle marks of the 
"halves" of the bodice portion of the dress.
Then fold your pleats into each side of the pin for the "half" and pin.
S&S has a great image of a box pleat, but no directions on where to place them.

I hope that helps if you're interested in making a similar dress.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

And of course she needed some cute matching bows,
and pinwheels scream spring to me.

And not to be left out - my favorite little dude!
I used THIS PATTERN by Jocole for his bow tie.
I think the sizing is perfect of JT right now,
I love how stiff it is and I love the elastic option.

So there you have it,
my walk through of how I create Isabella's Spring Pocket Dress.
A special thanks to Shwin&Shwin for the inspiration
and to my mother-in-law for all her help!