Hey everyone, I am super excited to share
this tutorial with you. To make this dress, I used the yoke pieces from Children’s Corner
Jamie pattern. Then I tore one big piece of fabric for the skirt. It was the entire width
of the fabric. My fabric is 60” wide and I wouldn’t use any fabric that was smaller
than that since it’s being smocked. I tend to like my pleats around 2.5x or so – which
means a 60” wide piece of fabric is good up to a chest circumference of 24”. Something
like that. So to start, you’ll cut out two yoke fronts
on the fold as well as two yoke backs on the fold. If you are using gingham or some other
fabric that warrants matching up, be cautious of lining up the design as you cut. I also
did a spring/Easter version and that was much easier to sew since I didn’t have to worry
about matching things up. Just a word to your mother.
And then I cut a slit for my length – remember the width is from one selvage edge to the
other. I did include about a four inch hem in this length. I like a wide hem, I think
it looks pretty and stocky – if you will. I’d like to say that it’s also a practical
way to lengthen the dress so the child can wear it for longer, but comon, I just keep
making dresses lol. Anywho.. you’ll also have two sleeves. And
again, be cautious how you cut out your fabric if you have strips or something. They should
line up at the shoulder seams and waist line, all that goodness. You’ll also have four
collars cut out if you want a collar on the dress.
So to construct the yoke area, you’ll have your yoke front across from your yoke lining;
and your yoke back across from your yoke back lining. You can attach all of these at the
shoulder seams with right sides together using 3/8” seam allowance.
Once you have all those shoulder seams sewn, you can iron the seams open and you’ll have
one big circle with a yoke front, yoke back, yoke front, yoke back. And then you can fold
the yoke back pieces onto themselves and place the yoke front pieces together like so. This
will give you a finished, folded edge along the center back.
Then I matched the shoulder seams together and gave that assembly a good ironing.
So since I used gingham, I pleated this by hand and I have a detailed video on how to
do that that I’ll link below. When I made this other version, I pleated that on my pleater
and I have a detailed video on how to use a pleater that I’ll also link below. I also
have a video on how to pleat by dots if you don’t have a pleater, and I’ll link that
below… I know, so many videos. haha Pleat your fabric using whatever method you wish.
Then you can take some freezer paper – I think this stuff is my favorite discovery
in sewing. It’s so useful for smocking and applique work. So tore off about a two foot
section or so. You want this piece to be big enough for the entire dress – you’ll see
what I mean as I continue. So to begin, I traced the yoke front so I
would know the width that I’m trying to match my pleats up to. I transferred the seam
allowance, too. Then I grabbed the bubble front piece so I could trace the armhole curve.
I matched it up to the seam allowance and traced around the curve of that armhole. And
I repeated the same thing to the other arm – tracing around that curve so I could transfer
it to my pleated fabric. Then I grabbed the bubble back piece and lined it up so I could
trace that armhole curve. And again, I transferred the seam allowance too. This helps aid in
lining things up correctly. I repeated the same thing to the other side and then I was
ready to trace the yoke back. I took the yoke back pattern piece and traced the width and
down the back of each piece including the lap section.
I hope all of this is making sense. This tracing onto the freezer paper is going to allow me
to transfer all of the curves to the pleated fabric and keep it continuous. Just keep watching
if things are confusing – I promise I will connect the dots.
So then I cut this template out using some craft scissors. Notice I am cutting along
the chest seam. I’m not including the yoke sections. If you want to double check things,
you can line up your yoke pieces to make sure you haven’t gone crazy. Don’t worry, I
lined it up for my own sake too. Lol Then you can take your pleated fabric and
pull out a few pleats on either end to allow for a seam allowance. I tied these threads
off on only one end in groups of twos or threes. If you did whole spaces, I would only tie
off in groups of twos. Once I pulled a couple of pleats out from
the other side, again, for the seam allowance, then I have one big piece of pleated fabric.
I pinned my freezer paper template to my blocking board. This board has come in handy over and
over again. I know it’s a big pricey, but it is really helpful. If it’s too much to
buy, I’d investigate making one. Anywho… so then I turn under the selvage edge of the
right side of the garment since the right side will be going over the left side of the
placket later on. Then I line up that edge with the edge of
the template and pin the fabric in place. Then I line up the other side with the template
and pin that fabric in place. Then I tied those threads off in groups of twos or threes.
At this point, it doesn’t matter where the pleats are – you’re just concerned with
the width of the fabric. Once you get the width of the fabric secured
by tying off the other end of the pleating threads, then you can work on evenly distributing
the pleats. I find that it takes a few passes of moving
the pleats little by little. I sorta fan them out, if you will, until they look evenly distributed
to me. Then you can put your freezer paper template on top of your pleated fabric. You’ll
want to put the template with waxy side down touching your fabric. This means that the
paper-ish side will be facing up, away from your fabric.
I pinned this in place as best I could. You can see that I got off a little bit with keeping
things straight and square with the template, but that’s okay since the bigger picture
of using that template is to keep your pleats in place so you can take your pleated fabric
to your sewing machine and zigzag around the curves.
You’ll want to use a smaller zigzag since you want a few stitches into each pleat to
make sure everything is held nicely in place. If any of the freezer paper starts to come
loose, just give it another ironing. Then you can
trim just on the outside of those zigzags. It might be a little nerve-wracking, but trust
me, as long as you have a few stitches into each pleat, you’ll be good to trim.
And again, if any of the freezer paper is loose, just give it another ironing before
matching up the yoke front and back to the appropriate skirt section. Personally, I like
to sew through the paper. It gives another layer of security, if you will. Just keeps
everything in place really nicely. So this would be the time to attach piping
if you like. I added piping to this Easter/Spring time version, but honestly, I forgot to add
it to this Christmas version. If you add piping, then you can remove the freezer paper after
sewing. Otherwise, if you skip the piping, you can
remove the freezer paper after sewing the yoke pieces to the skirt sections. If you
decide to sew through the freezer paper as I’m showing, then you’ll have to tear
the paper since it won’t rip through the seams.
Okay now we can move onto the collar. And the collar for CC Jamie is designed for use
with piping, and luckily I didn’t forget it here… and I trimmed the piping down to
a ¼” since the pattern allows a ¼” seam allowance. This makes it easy to maintain
that seam allowance – removes the guesswork if you will.
So after I attached the piping, I clipped the curves and matched up the other collar
and sewed the two together with right sides together.
Then I clipped the curves again, turned it right sides out and gave everything an ironing.
I repeated the same process to the other collar and then I could attach both collars to the
neckline. I started to pin the collars to the neckline
in the center front. You’ll want to make sure those collar edges are touching. A gap
here doesn’t look the best. Sometimes I actually zigzag the collar edges together
before pinning. Kinda depends on my mood. Anywho, you can baste the collar to the neckline
and when that’s done, then you can fold the lining on top so the right side of the
lining is touching the right side of the collars. Then you can sew along the entire neckline.
Next I clipped the curves and then understitched along the neckline. If you aren’t familiar,
to understitch, you’ll place both raw edges from the seam underneath the lining part.
Then you’ll sew right next to the neckline seam on the lining side. These stitches will
help keep the lining from peeking up at you while the garment is being worn.
Once you are done understitching, you can iron the raw edges of the lining pieces up
about ½”. This fold will be used to enclose those seams – and I like to save this hand
sewing for later on. Then I pushed those corners out and gave the whole neckline a really good
ironing. So then I moved onto the sleeves. And when
I cut out the sleeves, I like to put two clip marks at the back of the sleeve and then one
clip mark at the center and one clip mark at the front of the sleeve.
On the bottom of the sleeve, I sewed two rows of gather stitches starting about an inch
in from the edge of the sleeve and ending about an inch before getting to the other
edge of the sleeve. I also added two rows of gather stitches to
the sleeve top between the front and back clip marks.
Then I took a 2” wide bias strip of fabric and cut two pieces to length. You can refer
to the pattern for the circumference of the arm or you can measure your child’s arm
circumference if you have that privilege. And I ironed these bands in half so the raw
edges are touching. I also cut two pieces of piping to fit and
trimmed up to 1/4” again and sewed it to the bottom of the sleeve. Then I took a piece
of that folded bias band and matched raw edges together and sewed that in place. I sewed
it in place with the sleeve side facing up so I could go right along the previous piping
stitches. After removing the gather threads, I trimmed
up that seam so the band could fold around and be hand stitched to the wrong side of
the sleeve later on. As you know, I like to do all my hand sewing at the end.
For now, just make sure the folded ends of the band stay folded. Then I joined the sleeve
together using French seams. And I have a detailed video on how to do French seams that
I’ll link below. So now you can gather the sleeve top until
it fits the armhole opening. Before stitching the sleeve to the dress, I basted the lining
in place – making sure those folded edges stay folded.
Then I pinned the sleeve to the dress with right sides together and sewed the sleeve
in place. I know that inserted sleeves aren’t the most fun, but this one is easy since it’s
gathered. Just sew a little at a time, it’s only a few inches before the whole thing is
done. Then I trimmed up that seam and took it back
to my machine so I could enclose those raw edges with a zigzag. You could also use a
serger if you wish. And you are almost done – just gotta close
that back up. Now remember, both selvage edges are still attached and I figured it didn’t
make much sense to cut them off… so I just left them. I did cut a slit where the placket
should end. And I took it to my machine and sewed below the slit.
Then I could turn the dress up at the hem about ½” and iron that all the way around
and then again about 4” and iron that all the way around.
So once all of your hand sewing and smocking is done, you’ll have a finished garment
that looks something like this. This is a Christmas version in the red gingham. Audrey
turned 6 month old on Christmas and she’s wearing the six month yoke size.
Here is the Easter or spring version. Seriously, you could make this dress so many different
ways with so many different embellishments and fabric combinations. I just love the lack
of seams on the side. Looks so clean and it makes better use of expensive fabric since
the skirt doesn’t take up as much. And for that matter, the yoke section takes such little
fabric, it’s a good opportunity to use Liberty of London or some other expensive fabric you’ve
been eying, but your pocket book has told you no lol.
Anywho, I hope that was helpful. If y’all have any questions, please leave them in the
comments below and I’ll do my best toanswer them. As always I appreciate y’all for watching
and I hope to catch y’all next time.