Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toddler Delaney Dress - A Success!

Do you ever watch DIY shows and find yourself completely pulled in.  You watch the host do amazing projects that they swear are so simple even a five year old could do it.  As they build you up telling you how easy it is and how it can be completed in just an afternoon you find yourself forgetting that they have dozens of people on their staff making it happen and thousands of dollars to put into it.  You rush from the T.V. thinking "Yes! I'll go get the materials for the project right now!  And mine will look just like the professionals!"

A week later, after countless trips to the store and spending five times the amount of money it should have taken you finally finish the project and it looks NOTHING LIKE THE PROFESSIONALS!!  You're beaten down for the moment, but you forget all of the misery and find yourself repeating the experience a few days later.

That is how my Delaney Dress started.  It's a free tutorial on  It's adorable and a simple design.  After looking it over I thought, "how difficult could it be?"  I managed to make it difficult.  Here's a brief summary of my mistakes/redos.

1. Cut out the bodice 2 1/2 times
2. Cut out the sleeves and skirt 2 times
3. Sewed one sleeve on twice
4. Tried it on an unhappy, squirming toddler at least 3 times

Okay, maybe that doesn't seem too bad.  Here's the break down.

After printing out the pattern I was concerned it wasn't going to be quite big enough.  The pattern is made for little girls roughly 1-2 years old.  We all know that there is a lot of variation in that age range, so I can understand why it would be difficult to have one pattern for everyone.  I'm only 5 feet tall and my husband's all of 5 ft 8 inches, but somehow we got a little girl that has consistently measured in the 80th and 90th percentile for height.  So I increased the pattern to 105% on my computer and reprinted it.

After I got the bodice put together, I tried it on my little girl (1st time).  She was not happy, and understandably so as it was uncomfortably tight.  So I increased the pattern to 125% and started over.  I cut out the bodice again, but when I went to sew it together I had cut out two fronts and no back.  Oops!  Hence the 1/2 extra time of cutting out the bodice.   All this was worth it though, because it fit much better at 125%. (2nd time trying it on her.)  The increase in size is the reason I cut out the sleeves twice as well.  Once at 105% and once at 125%.  As I was sewing on the sleeves I realized this was the first time I had ever done sleeves before.  It was trickier than I imagined.  Especially when it came to overlapping the points and making it look good.

She was not happy about putting it
on so I had to bribe her with a cookie...
And the dog.
Once done I checked out my work and noticed the bodice tucked in funny underneath the arms.  I was hoping it wouldn't be so noticeable on my little girl.  Time to try it on her again!  (3rd time)  She wasn't happy about it, and the tuck was VERY noticeable and made it tight around her arms.

A little while later and A LOT of unpicking later I had that problem worked out.  Once I sewed the skirt on I realized I hadn't adjusted for the larger size enough and that it didn't have enough ruffles.  Soooooo, I cut out a second larger one.  (Did I mention I was wise enough to buy an extra 1/4 yard of fabric?  Thank heavens!!)  The second skirt worked much better and I have to say I am very happy with the end result.  I think it was worth all the recutting!  I purposely made it a little loose on her and with an extra long hem so it will hopefully last a while before she grows out of it!  (Maybe two whole months... :s)


  1. Awww, I'm so glad you stuck with it and it worked out! It looks great on her! I go through these kind of sewing things all the time, it's all par for the course and I learn something new everytime I sew something new.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I was wondering today if you made that dress, but I thought it looked too good to be homemade. Great job! It looks super cute on her. :-)

  3. Thanks guys! Thank you for the encouragement luvinthemommyhood. :) It was a great tutorial and I enjoyed making the dress. With every project I learn something new. I can't ask for more than that, right? :)

  4. Your dress looks greatI am getting ready to make this for a little girl who wears 24 months. Do you recall what size your daughter was wearing when you made the dress? I thought the pieces looked really small too, and plan to increase the size as well.

    1. She was wearing 12 month-18 month clothing at the time. When I made it, it had a little extra room in the body and I made a long hem so it could grow with her a little. There was definitely some trial and error involved in increasing the size of the pattern, but it was worth it! I hope this helps!

  5. So cute! It turned out great. Come by for a visit sometime- I am about to have my second little girl so I do a lot of little girl tute's!

  6. I find when I make one mistake on a project, I'm bound to make multiple mistakes on the same project. The dress turned out well in the end!!! The red and white look fabulous together.... a cute, little dress. I would love for you to share this dress (and any other's you've made), at my ongoing linky that's exclusively for girls' dresses...

    1. Thanks Pam! That does seem to be the case with mistakes, doesn't it? I've linked up! I'll keep my eye open for the apron linky!

  7. Looks great! She looks cute in it, too, and I think the dog is admiring the dress, as well :) Happy you linked to Things I've Done Thursday!

    P.S. I'd like to invite you back to check out my new blog makeover and to enter my current giveaways!! Have an excellent weekend!

  8. it turned out so cute!! Your daughter is adorable. I know what you mean about the DIY shows at least you just did a dress, I started DIYing my master bath. It's been about 6 months and we are almost done.:) I am glad you stuck with it. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Link It Up Thursday.

  9. I am so glad to see someone else having issues with sleeves! I have never done sleeves as well...and I'm having trouble sewing them on...any tips? Thanks!

  10. I am also having tons of issues with the sleeves...I've never sewn sleeves before and I can't get the points to line up properly without looking funny! Any tips?

  11. What a pretty dress, who wouldn’t love it!


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