Now I am sure there are other (probably better) tutorials on how to make a pattern. I just wanted to share the rather random way I do it Making your own patterns, much like anything, gets easier the more you do it. The first time I “knocked off” a dress a few years ago I literally unpicked the entire thing, copied the pieces and then sewed it back together. I NEVER did that again, holy cow was that a ton of work (but it was a super cute dress ha!) As you do it you will get used to the repeating pieces you will find in most dresses. Once you find a sleeve you like you will find yourself using it over and over and not having to make a new pattern piece (Shabby Apple uses basically the same sleeve on A LOT of their dresses). This will mean an easier AND faster time. Since the Toe the Line dress is both straightforward and tricky at the same time I thought I would show you how I made the pattern for the back of the dress and you can get the general gist of how I do it. Honestly the front pieces took my a while to figure out but that is the fun of knocking off a dress! These dresses are gorgeous and if they were easy to make they wouldn’t cost as much as they do or look as good. I would highly suggest going with something simple first like an easy wrap dress and then as your confidence grows branch out! If you begin with inexpensive muslin for the fabric you won’t worry about waisting fabric and money and believe me you will learn a TON about sewing ha! If you would like to follow a long but have some concrete help you can now print out the Toe The Line Knockoff Pattern HERE. Or if you would just like to print it out and get a head start by cutting out your fabric there you go!
Using all those Measurements
If you haven’t already you HAVE to have all your measurements taken before you start. Click HERE for a complete guise and handy printable table!
Now, since I have been doing this a while and know my body measurements pretty well I have moved on from muslin and just “go for it”unless the dress is particularly difficult. To be totally honest sometimes I just draw in chalk right on the fabric (as you will see below) The back of this dress is nice and straight forward which is great! If you own a Shabby Apple dress, or zoom in on the pictures you will notice that their dresses often use darts to create a beautiful silhouette, Toe The Line is no exception. Make sure to mark any darts you will make on your pattern. Just so you see what we are going for when I was done with my pattern piece it looked like this:
I started out by using my Back to waist measurement to draw a straight line. This would be the center of my back piece. This could also be considered the “fold” of the fabric. You really only have to draw everything on either one side or the other when you have a fold like this, but I did both in this just to be thorough.
I then use my Back width to create a T across the top. This will be made into a nice dip shape later. I then use my shoulder length to create my shoulder lines.
You may need to measure from your top neck bone over to your shoulder blade so you know where to begin your shoulder line. (This would be another good measurement to write down).
Now I want to make a scoop neck in the back. Starting where the shoulder length begins I draw a nice slope down to meet the center back line. I then do the exact same arch on the other side.
Then I use half my waist measurement to draw a straight line across the bottom perpendicular to my center line. (I have no idea why only the typing showed up not the line).
I then take the measurement (which I totally should have included on the list) from right under my arm down to my waist. I prefer to do this straight down and then use darts to taper the fit. If you hate darts for some reason you could do it at an angle. I pictured it here with an angle just for simplification.
Now you are going to need to make your arm holes. This can be tricky when you are by yourself. I like to roughly measure the arch and then try to recreate the measurement. This is hard if you are by yourself. If you are by yourself use the measurement from the top of your shoulder to your under arm and add a generous amount for rounding and seaming.
Once I was done I transferred my pattern onto 8.5 X11 paper. I try to make sure to add a nice hefty seam allowance while doing this.
This is a rather sloppy one usually I try to do them nicely enough that if I HAD to I could leave it un-digital and people would still want to use it I try to make sure each sheet contains the name of the dress, the piece it is, where the fold is, cutting instructions and any darts, pleats etc.
Once digitized it will look like this:
(This is 3 pages merged together)
But digitizing your pattern once you make it is for my next post!!!
Hope this was clearer then mud ha!
Also, I left it in the comments but wanted to make sure the people who wanted to know weren’t left hangin’. Evie’s jeans in the last post were from Zara Kids. If you are able to go to one or order online just keep in mind their sizes run large. Those jeans were 12-18 months, Evie will be two next month and they just now fit perfect. Thanks for all the kind comments about the last post I am right there with you and just LOVE that top! Thanks for all your sweet comments!!!
Once you have cut out your pattern pieces you will need a few more piece that there is not pattern pieces for. First you need to cut a nice looooong 4 inch wide strip of the white fabric. This will be used as the rosette. I like to get mine ready ahead of time so I ironed it in half then I serged the raw edges together. Then I ran a gathering stitch down the non-folded side. After ruffling it up I set it aside. Next I measured my cutie from her “high waist” down to her knee (or where you would like the skirt to hit). How wide it is depends on how fluffy you want the dress to be. The wider it is the fluffier or puffier it will be. I would make mine at least 1.5 times as long as your finished bodice waist. Once you have cut this go a head and set it aside. Your waist band we will cut in a little bit. Alright enough cutting lets sew!
Starting with your top front pieces lay them right sides together and pin.
I knew that the rosette would be heavy so I cut some soft interfacing that lined up with the neckline. This is optional but I felt like in the end it was a good idea. Once you have stitched the armholes and neckline turn everything right side out and iron. Now you are going to repeat the process with your four pack pieces. You have two options here, you can create button holes or you can slide two little elastic loops in between the layers of one side. Either way it will look good
Again turn them right sides out and iron them.
Now we are going to connect the front to the back. Lay your front piece right sides up. Lay your two bak pieces right sides down and line up the shoulders and sides and pin, then proceed to stitch across the shoulder pieces and on both sides. Once you are done turn everything right side out.
Now that you are done grab your ruffled strip. I started a little to the right of center and pin in place as you go around.
Stitch your first loop and remove pins. Now do a second loop inside the first.
Continue to pin and topstitch until you get towards the end. I then folded the end a bit and hand stitched it into place.
Now we need to make our bands. You will need to cut two wide strips. On my 3T dress I made these nice and wide on Evie’s they were about 3 inches. In the end you want two complete circles. I first ironed over the raw edges of the bands.
Then I folded each band in half, right sides together so the ends met. I then stitched it into place. Now I had two circles with “finished” edges. The only tricky part is that you want the circle to be the exact same circumference as the waist of the top of your dress. Now, slide one band up over the bottom of the dress top on the outside and the other on the inside and pin into place all the way around. I didn’t take a picture and I should have but in the back I overlapped just slightly the bottom of dress top where the two pieces meet. This ensures you will get them both and looks nice
Once you have topstitched around grab the rectangle you created earlier.
Now all you have left is the hem the bottom and attach your buttons!! (or sew your button holes if you went that route). Super easy right? I am soooo glad the second one fit Evie like a glove, and hopefully, when she is in a better mood I will get some fun pics ha! Have fun making your knockoff!!!
I am thrilled with how it turned out and how easy it was to make! I thought it would be a perfect little top to share on the summery and color filled Kojo Designs.
Since I was so close to the finale I wanted to make sure I did a super cool photo shoot. I built a little A Frame Tent and we headed to the rocky beach to fake a little girlie camp out
I loved the contrast of Evie’s sea of ruffles and the grey sky. She was even good about wearing the little headband I made out of twill tape and little felt flowers. The back has a tiny strip of elastic so it is super comfy.
The top has a single button closer so it is easy on easy off.
I am absolutely making more of these in fun bright colors and have even thought about making one in rainbow color, how cute would that be? Now grab your munchkin and your measuring tape and lets get to work!
At this point I got my straps and neck band ready. I ironed over both long edges of the strips then folded them over again length wise and iron them. Topstitch the straps closed but leave the neck band open.
(I serged the ends of the straps but you don’t have to) Now set these aside, we’ll come back to them
Now comes a bit of monotony. You are going to hem and ruffle all those loooooonnnng strips of fabric.
If you serged one side then hem the other. Once hemmed stitch a gathering stitch the length of the strip on the opposite side of the hem. Repeat this for all of your ruffle strips.
Now take your main rectangle and hem the bottom. I wanted to make sure I topstitched my ruffles on nice and straight so I took a ruler and some fabric chalk and drew nice straight guide lines. This is totally optional but I think it helps
Pin your first ruffle on the right side of your fabric just on top of the hem you sewed earlier.
Topstitch it in place. Now repeat this process with all your ruffles with the top of the one you sewed previously being covered by the bottom of the next. Repeat until you have all your ruffles to the top.
Once you are done grab the neckband piece you ironed earlier. Slide the top of your tiered ruffles up in between the two ironed edges of your neckband. Pin in place and then topstitch
Now grab your two straps that you created earlier and pin them in place.
Your all done!!!! Now YOU:
go make a cute little ruffle top! Thanks Kristen and Jordan for including me in Color My Summer I have absolutely LOVED all the posts!
Once you have printed it out grab your friend, a pen, a measuring tape and maybe some ribbon. Please forgive some of my duplicate numbering ughhh.
The first measurement I take is my waist. Several of your other measurements will be based on this location so make sure to get it right. Make sure it is not at your “high waist” but the thin part of your waist. (which is hard when you are totally preggers ha!) Once I measured my waist I placed a ribbon at this exact location.
This way I know I am measuring from the same spot every time. Try to avoid letting your tape slip:
Next up the bust. Make sure there is a finger between your bust and where the tape ends meet. This gives you some nice wiggle room.
Having another person measure you helps avoid this common mistake when measuring the bust:
Funny side story. If you go to Victoria Secret they are well trained at getting your perfect bust measurement. I went in one time and was shopping and one of the workers chuckled when I looked at a particular size and said “um, sweet heart do you want me to measure you so you get one that actually fits?” Yeah… as if shopping for under garments wasn’t awkward enough for me ha! Anywho if you want a good one go there! This next one is commonly skipped but is a nice one to have to determine whether you chose the correct size in a pattern.
No one likes to do this next one but you HAVE to do it correctly or your outfits will always be a bit ill fitting. Do not pull the tape tight, be generous, a dress that fits like a glove will look way better then a dream sized dress you have to stuff yourself into. (oh and try to avoid having the tape twist like it is on me ha!)
Even though it says 6, number five measurement should be:
The next measurement will help to ensure when you sit down your skirt doesn’t rip ha!
When taking this next measurement make sure you tell the person helping you where you generally like your skirts to hit. I like them right above my knee.
Next find your collarbone and follow it down to the center of your neck.
Now do the same thing in the back.
Alright this next one is fairly impossible to take correctly on your own. As you can see from my sad sad attempt to do it ha! The measurement should go from sleeve to sleeve across your shoulder blades, much higher then seen here.
Now we will repeat in the front. ** Evil Glare at person helping you is optional**
This is also a pretty tricky one to get on your own:
Now continue to your wrist
The next measurements are for pants or long dresses. When measuring for pants remember the longer you can make them (without stepping all over them) the more flattering they will be. Also consider what kind of hem you like, I like mine chunky so I add some length.
I probably went a little too high in this picture for this measurement. When it says center of neck in means center of circumference not height.
Next you will measure the largest part of your arm.
This last one may seem like an odd measurement but it really helps to make sure pants fit correctly when you sit down.
Once you have them all written down I put mine in a plastic page protector so I don’t accidentally throw it away and it last longer. I use it when I buy a pattern and am wondering what size to make, making my own patterns etc. Hopefully this was helpful! You will certainly use it making your own patterns!