Monday, July 21, 2014

Retro Reproduction Dress FREE Pattern and Tutorial

We are so excited to finally get our free pattern up and going.  We have loved experimenting with this pattern and think you will too.  It is a really simple shape that has only four pattern pieces- meaning that it won't take forever to make- but lends itself perfectly to alterations and additions.  It is drafted in sizes 2T-4T.  We plan on sharing with you all our alterations and additions in the next few weeks!  I have already made four for my daughter this summer and can see this dress transitioning into fall with some tights and a long sleeve shirt underneath.  You can find previous versions of the dress here, here, and here

So are you ready to get started?  Great!  Here we go!

Here's the link for download: I Sew, You Sew: Retro Reproduction Dress

1.)  Print out your dress pattern and tape together the pieces.  The pieces that are to be taped together have corresponding numbers (meaning all the pieces labeled 1 go together, all the pieces labeled 2 go together and so forth).  When you're finished you should have one Front dress pattern piece, one Back dress pattern piece, one Front facing, one Back facing.  All seam allowances are 1/2 inch unless otherwise indicated. For now disregard the slash lines that run diagonally across the dress- they are for this version of the dress that we will soon make a tutorial stay tuned!

2.)  You are now ready to cut out your fabric. Each of your pattern pieces should be cut on the fold of the fabric. After you cut out your fabric you should have four pieces- one Front piece, one Back piece, one Front facing and one Back facing.  They are each folded in half in this picture.

3.)  Finish the bottom edges of the Front and Back facings so that they will not unravel. You can use a zigzag stitch, three step zigzag, or serge the edges.  I used a serger to finish the edges in the picture.

4.)  Sew the Front facing to the Front dress piece right sides together- using 1/2 inch seam allowance.  You will stitch from the bottom of one armhole curve to the other enclosing the armhole, top of dress and neck.  Be careful not to stitch the sides together.  You can follow the path of the pins in the picture below.  After you have stitched the Front facing to the Front dress piece repeat with the Back facing and Back dress pieces.

5.)  Trim seams to 1/4 inch, clip the curves, and trim the points off the top edge of dress.

6.)  Turn the right sides of the facings out and iron flat.  Do this for the front dress/facing pieces and back dress/facing pieces.

7.)  Now we want to attach the Front of the dress to the Back of the dress and the dress Front and Back facings in one continuous stitch.  This may seem confusing if you've never done it before- hang in there it will give everything a nice clean look.
With right sides together place the Front dress and Back dress pieces together, lining up the side seams, with the facings right sides together as well- to do this the facings will be opened out.  This will make one continuous stitch on the side seam and will give the underside of the facings a clean finish.

8.)  After you complete the side seam connecting the facings and Front and Back pattern pieces press down the facings and press open the side seams.  You may want to finish the side seams with a serger or zigzag stitch.

9.)  Next you will tack down the facings under the arm attaching the facing to the dress.  To tack the facings down use a needle and thread to apply a few stitches that connect the facings to the dress.  This will keep the facings from flipping around and being a nuisance when the garment is laundered and worn.

10.)  Time for buttons!  Hopefully your sewing machine has an automatic buttonhole feature.  Follow the buttonhole markings on the pattern for the buttons and for the buttonholes.  We recommend using buttons that are 3/4 to 7/8 inch in width but technically you can use whatever buttons you have on hand but you may need to play with the buttonhole placement a bit to get everything centered nicely.

11.)  To hem your dress first finish the raw edge of the hem with either a zigzag stitch or serger.  Then fold up the hem by 1 and 1/2 inches, easing the hem into place (the circumference of the bottom of the hem is slightly bigger, hence the easing it in place).  I find ironing it to help ease it in makes it cooperate better.

11.)  Now you can hand stitch the hem to the dress so that the stitching is barely visible from the outside.

Alternately you can fold the raw edge up 1/4 inch, press and then fold it up 1 and 1/4 inch more and machine stitch it down.  If you prefer you can try the dress on your child to see what hem length you prefer, remember that this dress is designed to be a bit short.    

Now you are DONE!  Yeah!  Now go crazy and pull out all those retro fabrics and get to work making two, three, four or five!  If you have any questions regarding construction feel free to let us know.  There are many ways to construct a dress of this sort and everyone has their own preferences so be brave- if you don't like the way we did it chart your own waters with the construction.  We'd love to see your finished projects so PLEASE link it back to our comments so we can check it out.  We also have an I Sew, You Sew Flickr group.  Happy Sewing!!

Since this a free pattern we ask you to please be respectful of our creative property.  Feel free to use this pattern to make dresses for sale in your home but please no mass production and resale of our pattern as your own work.  


  1. My goodness. This is acute dress and a squeezable baby. The pattern has turned out so well and the fabric is perfect for our little maid.
    Great sewist! Love mom

  2. So sweet! I'm featuring you pattern at this week's link party!

  3. AWWW lovely going out tomorrow to buy some grey fabric to make some for my granddaughter for playschool will look so pretty with her red tights and red jumper underneath Thank You so much for sharing

    1. That sounds adorable, who doesn't love red tights?! We'd love to see pictures of your finished dresses and thanks for stopping by our blog!

  4. I'm sorry if I missed it somewhere but how much fabric do you need for size 2T?

    1. We didn't include yardage did we? Ooops! Sorry about that! I have made the 2T with only a yard of fabric before, especially if you use a contrasting fabric for the facings. If you wanted to be on the safe side you could buy 1 and 1/4 yard of fabric. Let me know if you have any more questions and let us know how it works out for you. We'd love to see your finished product!

  5. I've made three of these dresses and they all turned out fabulous! They are adorable on my grandbaby ��. Thank you for the pattern and well written instructions.

  6. The shop online have all kinds of dress on sale

  7. Thank you so much for the lovely pattern, its gorgeous. I am really impressed how you have visualised each step of the process. Well done.

  8. I'm new to sewing and have had to failed attempts on this dress. :( I'm having issues with the sewing front parts together

  9. Hi I love this dress but when I download the pattern it only shows Bubble pocket and and 1 piece marked with a 1 am I doing something wrong I don’t want to print it out if it’s not all there and then be disappointed