Spring Twirl Dress

Does the Spring Twirl Dress make you ready for spring? Living in Florida, we don't get much of a winter. Which is good since all my kid wants to wear are dresses all day, everyday, no matter the occasion. Please don't try to mention pants. This "phase" has been going on now for almost 2 years. And not just any dress... it has to twirl... a lot. She actually tests the twirl-ability each morning after getting dressed. I'm hopeful the Spring Twirl Dress will pass the test.

I also must confess that I finished this dress about a year and a half ago when my daughter was 3. She's 5 now and it finally fits! Yeahhh, I may have overestimated the size a bit when I made it. I've been waiting a really long time for her to fit in it so I could finally take some pictures and tell you what I did.
Let's give some credit. The main inspiration was the Patchwork Circle Skirt from Indietutes. Awesome, right?  I was intrigued by this skirt in all it's twirling splendor, but was deterred (I just spelled that "de-turd" and laughed to myself... haha, carry on) by the time and work required.  It's very quilt-like (and pretty), but I had just finished the Meandering Quilt around this time, and kind of in need of a piecing/patchwork break.

My solution was to make each "layer" of the skirt portion one long strip instead of a bunch of pieces sewn together to make a strip. I sewed 4 strips together.  Each strip 50% longer than the strip before it just like the Patchwork Circle Skirt tutorial says. Here's the inside.
Measure from your kid's waist to knee (or however long you want the skirt to be), then divide by 4. Remember to add 1/2" or so to each strip for seam allowance and even more to the last strip so you can hem. That's how wide to make your strips. My green paisley is from Walmart and the pink fabric is the same clearance curtain panel I've used on the Ballet Bag and the Men's Shirt Turned Toddler Dress. Still have some left!

The entire skirt portion of this dress was done before I even knew what I wanted to do for the bodice. In the past I used old tanks, but I really wanted to try to sew a true bodice this time. I tried a Simplicity pattern.

It was my first time buying a real pattern and holy crap, someone should have warned me!  Con-fu-sing.  I seriously had to read the first few directions 10 times and then Google a few words.  After 30 minutes of cursing and still not knowing what I was doing, (what the H are those little triangles for on the pieces?!?!) I decided to just cut out the pieces I thought I needed (minus the mystery triangles) and sew them together how I thought they should be sewed. It worked out ...sort of.

At one point it called for interfacing and all I had was maximum strength Heat-n-Bond. Not the same thing! I repeat, not the same thing.  Live and learn people. Sewing machines don't like the super duper Heat-n-Bond, just an FYI.
Next time, I'm just going to trace an existing shirt she has. Seems like it would work just as well.

Here are some of the details. 
This (above) is the back. The neckline is finished with facing. I did not take any pictures during the construction of the dress (sorry, my blog mojo was not quite up the par then). See Kate Sew has a great Tutorial on facings if you'd like to try it.  Keep in mind, this was the first time I ever did it and it turned out pretty well. Let's just all pretend that WTS label is in the center. :)

The arm holes are finished in double fold bias tape from Walmart.

After sewing the bodice to the skirt, I excitedly tried the Spring Twirl Dress on my kid and realized it was gigantic. Seriously, my kid was 3... this dress is probably a size 6. I guess I didn't pay close enough attention to the sizes/seam allowances in the pattern. : ) To try and combat some of the hugeness and get more life out of the dress, I added a tie to the middle so I could cinch in the waist. I also sewed a small piece of elastic into the back of the waist as well.  Last step was a decorative hand sewn yoyo and button on the front.  Done.

To date, this is my favorite piece of clothing I've made. It's been while since I've made clothing from scratch but I think I just inspired myself to try some more by writing this post.


  1. That dress is so freakin adorable! I love it! Bravo on a job well done :)

    1. Thanks Leena! I haven't made any clothing in a while... I need to start again. :)

  2. And kaley is a beautiful little model :)

  3. Lol, love your description of reading and cutting out the pattern. I have been sewing with patterns for years and hating all the marking. Then I started using my kids clothes as patterns and it made me realize 90 percent of the time there is no blasted reason for the triangles unless you totally cut out wrong. So I stopped using the dang triangles. The other thing I stopped doing was following the directions because it goes together a lot quicker if I am not there blankly staring at the instructions trying to figure out what they meant.

    I bet it was fun seeing her in it. Looks like the perfect skirt for some summer twirling.

    1. Hi! So I'm not the only one!? haha Yes, they make the directions so complicated. And I absolutely love seeing her wear it. I know the teenage years will be here fast and she won't be caught dead in anything I've made. So I'm going to enjoy it now. - Sarah

  4. Beautiful dress. I prefer to make my own patterns as well. I have a ton of patterns I collected and I basically only use them for inspiration. I do much better just looking at a picture and making it up as I go. I've tried 3 times to make things from a store bought pattern and I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS deviate from the pattern in someway no matter how hard I try not too. I also completely ignore the directions and all those odd little triangles and markings which is probably why I always deviate from what I'm supposed to be doing, lol.

    1. That's my kind of sewing! I think it makes more sense anyway to use a piece of existing clothing that fits really well as a "pattern". Then you know it's going to fit! Making it up is more fun anyway :) And I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't use the triangles! Thanks!!!!