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Dropped waist, puffed inset sleeves, princess seam bodice, back zipper, ties

A friend gave me a hand-me-down pattern of McCalls P471 just in time for holiday sewing. I chose the long sleeved version, and purchased a collar to simplify things. However, instead of making loops for full length sleeves, I shortened the pattern to 3/4 sleeves and just finished with elastic. Frankly, for small children the 3/4 sleeves means less problems with dragging their clothes through food etc..

Since the pattern was 2nd hand, I was missing the first sheet of instructions. Bolstered by my neighbor's confidence that once you have the pieces, you can always piece together the dress, I pulled out other similar patterns for instructions on individual steps.

The princess bodice was not difficult, nor the sleeves since I just made elastic finished. I left out the shoulder pads, as the gathered sleeve head piece gave quite enough height to the shoulder for a small child. The ties are quite elegant. They are not turned ties, so choose a fabric that looks good from the back as well.

The first time I made this dress I purchased a lace collar of contrasting fabric.

girls modest fancy dress

I only used three decorative buttons, upon orders from my daughter. The material is a stiff synthetic satin.

More Variation

I loved this dress so much, that I sewed it again for a wedding in the family. The skirt material I made in the same synthetic satin, but silver this time, and the top I made in a metallic decorated lycra. The lycra was actually too stretchy to hold the princess shape as nicely as I would have liked, but my daughter's outfit matched the sister of the bride, and she got a fancy hair-do that made her feel like she was part of the wedding party itself!

On this one I made the regular collar, with the silver satin material which contrasted the bodice. I added a pin on velvet bow, and a lace edge at the bottom.

My daughter is pretty much tired of this pattern now. Too bad, because I love it!

Here's a video on how to sew a princes seam:


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