DIY Fancy Nancy Dress

Have you all been rendezvousing (that’s French for hangin’ out)
over at No Big Dill?  She has the most fabulous (that’s fancy for great) theme going
on this month.
It is called Once Upon a Thread, and it is a month of projects inspired by
Children’s Books.
Well, I thought this was such a stupendous (that’s a fancy way of saying good) idea
that I decided to join in the fun
here on iCandy!
My little girl adores (that’s like loves, but more fancy) Fancy Nancy books.  So I
decided to create a Fancy Nancy dress for her, with a tutorial and giveaway for you!
So are you absolutely dying to know what we are giving away?? Well, get excited! has offered to give away a Fancy Nancy book pack! The lucky winner
will receive 3 hardback Fancy Nancy books: (Click on them to see the books are about)

1. Fancy Nancy
2. Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly
3. Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique

You can enter the giveaway by doing one or more of the following:1. Become a follower and leave a comment
2. Post about the giveaway on your blog and comment with the link
3. Facebook or twitter about the giveaway and leave a comment

We will accept entries until April 7th.

Good Luck!

Also, for the duration of the giveaway, has offered to give iCandy 
followers a 20% discount at their site!  Just use ICANDY promo code at checkout.

And, if you are interested in making your own Fancy Nancy dress, I have a 3-part
tutorial.  Part 1 is posted today, Part 2 over the weekend, and Part 3 next week.

Check out these great blogs that I linked up to!

**If you are a beginning sewer, you might have questions. If you do have questions,
feel free to email me and I will answer you as best I can!


Create Your Pattern

1. Find a dress that fits (but not tight) with a simple round neckline.  If your dress doesn’t have a round neckline, you can change it to one.

2. Lay some paper (I used a roll of paper from my old fashion design days, but you can use tracing or freezer paper) on top of the bodice of the dress.

3. Trace the neck, starting in the center, then trace the shoulder, and around the armpit seam, down the sides using a ruler, and across the waistline or high waistline, or you can use the bottom of the paper like I did. (For this dress, a short bodice is perfect.) End in the center of the waist-seam.

So now you have traced half of the bodice.  Since this drafting method is not perfectly accurate, I like to only trace half of the pattern.  Then I get another piece of paper, trace the half-pattern onto it, and flip the half pattern over, and trace the other side of the pattern, thus you have a bodice pattern that is symetrical. (Hope this makes sense!)

4. Make a second copy of the bodice pattern, but make the neckline higher, this will be the back bodice pattern. (My back bodice piece is only a half.  I originally planned on cutting on the fold, but it turned out, I needed a whole back bodice.  So envision this as a whole bodice!)

5. Add a seam allowance to your patterns. (I am so used to a 5/8″ seam allowance, so that is what I used, but many people prefer using 1/2″)

Here is what your front bodice pattern will look like with seam allowances:
Your bodice back should look the same, except for the neckline which will be higher.

Tiny Cap Sleeve:

1: Measure around the armhole curves, both front and back.  Each curve measured 6 1/2″ on mine.  So add the two together, which was 13 for me, then add 1 1/2″ to your measurement.  My final measurement was 14 1/2″.

2. Draw a straight line on your pattern paper. Make it as long as your final measurement in step 1.  So in my case, I drew a line 14 1/2″ (I took the pic before I finished the line btw…)

3. Fold your paper in half, matching line ends.

4. On the half of the paper facing up, using your ruler so each side is equal, make a sort of half-surfboard shape.  (Make the sides at the halfway point as wide as you want the cap sleeves plus a seam allowance.  I did about 1 1/2″ and so the caps were only about 7/8″ wide.)  Then trace this half onto the other side.

This is what the pattern will look like when you are finished:
So now you should have a front bodice pattern, a back bodice pattern, and a cap sleeve pattern.  Cut them out, and we are ready to start making the dress!

First we have to decide how much fabric we need.  So lay out your existing dress on top of your fabric to see the length you want. You will need to add about an inch for the hem. Then, for width, you will measure 2x the width of your bodice pattern.  I would then cut or tear (my preferred method, which will keep your fabric straight on the grain) 2 rectangles this size.

So now you should have two large rectangles, with fabric left over to cut out your pattern pieces.

Making the Dress
1. Pleating/Pin Tucks.  Fold your fabric in half vertically.  Put a pin in your center.
 Measure your bodice front length (the pattern you cut out above), from the top of the shoulder to the bottom.  This is how long your pleats will be.  Mine were about 10″ long.
Using a disappearing ink or fabric marker, (or chalk but I had trouble washing it out) start marking lines (as long as your bodice front length), using a ruler, one inch apart, down the fabric on both sides of your fold.

(for some reason, my lines look really crooked in this picture, they should go straight down)


Starting at the first yellow line (or whatever color your lines are), (next to the fold) make a crease in the fabric. Stop at the end of the line, do not go all the way to the bottom of the fabric.  Take this crease and match it up to the next yellow line, creating your first pleat.

Press the pleat flat, using high heat and steam.  Then pin it down.  Repeat for all the lines on both sides of the fold. Stop when you get about an inch from the edges.

This is what it will look like when you are done.

When you unfold the fabric, your center will look like this (a box-fold):

Now it is time to sew down your pleats.  Line up the side of your sewing machine foot at the edge of the pleat (where it is creased) and sew from the top of the fabric to the bottom of your marked line.  Neatly backstitch at the end of your seam. Repeat for all pleats.

2. Cut out your pattern pieces.  First, cut out your lining pieces.  Pin down your front bodice and back bodice pattern piece and cut out. Make sure your print is straight.  Cut out both pieces.

Next, cut out your cap sleeve pieces. Obviously, cut two. Again, keep your print straight.

Lay your cut bodice lining piece on top of your pleated rectangle.  Match the top of the shoulders to the top of the pleats.

Cut the armholes, the shoulders, and the neckline. Do this for both bodice front and back. Do not cut the pleated fabric at the waistline.

Last, since we aren’t using a printed pattern, you need to true up the sides of the dress. You want the pleated dress front and back sides to match up with the bodice lining sides. Trim as needed, and take it down to the bottom of the pleated piece.

So you should have the following cut out: a bodice front (pleated piece), a bodice back (pleated piece), a bodice lining front, a bodice lining back, and two cap sleeves.

Give yourself a hand for your hard work.  Pattern, check! Pleating, check! Cutting, check!  Now we gotta get sewing….stay tuned for Part 2!