A Year of Dresses: Sweet Summer Halter

Can you believe we are on week 12 of A Year of Dresses already?  I plan to make it through all 52 weeks of the year, showing you different pattern options, highlighting new patterns (like the Coral Dress), showing fun and simple modifications, and a few bonus tutorial along the way!

There is so much fun and excitement coming up in the TDD world with last week's launch of the Diva Collection.  Come follow us on Instagram for sneak peaks of upcoming patterns and peaks into our lives beyond the patterns!

The Sweet Summer Halter....I have had my eye on this pattern for a long time but never gotten one made.  I knew that it MUST be made for A Year of Dresses this summer, and summer has most definitely been in full swing in my neck of the woods.  This dress is extra special to me though.  I've been saving this Pretty Little Things fabric by Dena Designs especially for Sweet Pea's 2 year pictures, which will be in a couple weeks.  (The entire collection is available Hawthorn Threads). What could be more perfect than a sweet summer dress for a sweet summer baby?!

The Sweet Summer Halter pattern has all your little girls covered from 0 months up through size 8.  Depending on your needs, you can purchase the pattern in baby sizes 0-24 months or girls sizes 2-8.  The curved halter straps really make this dress stand out! I love the contrast trim all the way around the bodice.  I chose to use the same fabric for my hem band for a more uniform look, but a third fabric on the hem band is also cute!  The Sweet Summer Halter is an intermediate level sewing pattern simply because of the the curved piecing on the straps.  If, however, you are a confident beginner, this pattern is for you too.  The instructions include a full step by step tutorial for successful curved piecing.

See this post for how to fussy cut a print on your bodice.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly this dress went together.  Even with a misbehaving sewing machine I was able to finish this dress in just a few hours.  I'm sure it would have been much shorter had my machine been behaving!  Thankfully I was able to get to the bottom of it's issues; I dread having to be without my sewing machine.

If you have been reading A Year of Dresses consistently, then you know that Sweet Pea is a mix of sizes.  I debated whether to make this dress in 18-24 months or 2.  Because of the halter style of this dress I did not want it to be too big around her chest so I used the 18-24 month size and adjusted the length a little.  I added 1/2" to the bottom edge of the bodice.  This made it the same bodice length as a size 2.  I also added 1" of length to the skirt.  The end result is a perfect fit!

I also added fullness to the skirt to make this dress just a little extra special.  According to the pattern the front and back skirt panels were each to be cut at 26" wide for my size.  That would have made a very nice, two times gathered skirt which is perfect for everyday.  Because this is a special dress for Sweet Pea's birthday I decided to make it a little more full and cut each of my skirt panels 36" wide.  You can add width to any gathered skirt panel and easily have a fuller finished skirt.  36" was a bit of an arbitrary number, not an exact ratio for this skirt.  I was feeling a bit indecisive on how full I wanted the skirt to be and this was between 2.5 and 3 times the width of the bodice.  Any time you are looking for an easy way to fancy up a dress for a special occasion, consider adding fullness to your skirt.  It is very easy and effective!  And, if you want even more fullness, try adding the underskirt from the Sugarplum Skirt pattern as a petticoat!

Extra full makes extra fun!
As I have been working with Jen, I am ever more and more aware of how tirelessly she works to make sure that her patterns fit just right for you.  This dress is of course no exception.  The armholes are perfect, the back is snug so it stays in place, but not uncomfortable.  The neckline is neither too high or too low.  Perfection!

I look forward to taking Sweet Pea for special birthday photos (much better than my humble attempts at photography) in this sweet dress.  I love having the memories to look back on and they are made even more special with a Mommy Made dress!

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