Welcome back to our PFAFF® 160th Anniversary Sew-Along! We are thrilled that you are here! We are creating this beautiful Christening gown or child’s dress, designed by Alicia Welcher, assistant editor of Classic Sewing magazine.
In this fourth lesson, we will be completing the construction of our gown/dress. While you may use any machine, our sew-along instructions will feature the fantastic new PFAFF® creative icon™ 2 sewing and embroidery machine. We will be taking advantage of the new features, including projection of embroidery designs, decorative stitches and a grid; scanning of the embroidery hoop; and it’s amazing artificial intelligence capabilities. You also have a chance to win a new PFAFF® creative™ ambition™ 640 sewing and embroidery machine! Visit our sew-along homepage to enter to win and to catch up on Lessons 1 through 3 of our sew-along.
Note: For best results, please download the files on a computer and NOT a mobile device.
Note: The project patterns and machine embroidery designs are included in Lesson 1.
1. All step-out photos were taken during the design process. The alignment and size of the blocks may not exactly match yours.
2. Measurements given are for the Christening gown. Dress measurements (where different) are in parentheses.
3. Refer to the Heirloom Sewing Techniques document from Lesson 1 for details on all heirloom sewing techniques.
4. Knowledge of basic yoke dress construction is assumed. Therefore, minimal photos have been provided.
- All seam allowances are 1/4” unless otherwise noted.
- Seams can be sewn using a straight stitch on a sewing machine and finished with a 3-thread narrow serge or a zigzag.
- Side seams of skirt and joining seams of ruffle can be sewn using a French seam. Use a scant 1/4” seam allowance for the first seam, trim to 1/8”, then stitch second seam for a total of 3/8”.
1. Clean finish the back raw edge of each Bodice Back using a serger or a zigzag. Fold the backs to the wrong side on the fold line and press.
2. Place the Bodice Front and Bodice Backs right sides together, matching the shoulder seams. Stitch and finish the shoulder seams. Press seam allowances to the back (photo 1).
3. Measure the neckline from back fold to back fold and add 1”. Cut a neckband on the bias, 1-1/2” x this measurement. Fold the neckband in half lengthwise to measure 3/4” wide and press. Mark the center of the neckband on the raw edges.
4. Press the neckband into a curve to mimic the curve of the neckline (photo 2).
5. Pin the neckband to the neckline, matching the center of the neckband to the center front of the bodice. Approximately 1/2” should extend beyond the back folds.
6. Stitch the neckband to the neckline using a 1/4” seam allowance. Stitch again 1/8” away from the first stitching. Trim next to the second stitching.
7. Press the neckband away from the bodice. Fold in extending ends of binding, then wrap the binding over the seam allowance and to the inside. Place the folded edge to just cover the previous stitching lines. To secure binding, stitch in the ditch on the right side or hand sew to the stitch line on the wrong side (photo 3).
1. Place the full sleeve pattern under the pintucked Sleeve Block with the decorative stitch centered on the pattern.
2. Using a temporary fabric marker, trace the sleeve and all markings onto the Sleeve Block.
3. Cut out the sleeves.
4. Sew two rows of gathering threads 1/8” and 3/8” from the top edge of each sleeve starting and stopping at the X’s (L=3.5). Sew two rows of gathering threads 1/8” and 3/8” from the lower edge of each sleeve from side to side (L=3.5).
5. Cut two sleeve bands on the bias the following measurements:
Size 3-6mo: 1-3/4” x 7-1/2”
Size 9-12mo: 1-3/4” x 8”
Size 2: 1-3/4” x 9”
Size 4: 1-3/4” x 9-1/2”
Size 6: 1-3/4” x 10-1/4”
6. Fold the sleeve bands in half lengthwise and press.
7. Cut two pieces of entredeux the same length as the sleeve bands. Cut two 18” pieces of 5/8” lace edging. Using the technique, Gathered Lace to Entredeux, sew the lace edging to the entredeux matching the ends.
8. Trim the remaining waste fabric edge on the entredeux to 1/4”.
9. Place the entredeux strips to the sleeve bands, right sides together, matching the long raw edges. Straight stitch close to the entredeux edge.
10. Gather the lower edge of the sleeves to match the sleeve bands. Place the sleeve band to the gathered edge of the sleeve matching raw edges. The entredeux/lace strip will be sandwiched between the layers. Straight stitch the sleeve band to the sleeve with a 1/4” seam, using the previous stitching as a guide. Stitch again 1/8” away from the first stitching. Trim next to the second stitching.
11. Press the sleeve band and seam allowance away from the sleeve and the entredeux/gathered lace toward the sleeve.
12. Place the sleeves to the bodice, right sides together, aligning the center of the decorative stitch with the shoulder seam. Draw up the gathering threads across the top of the sleeves and pin to bodice armhole. Concentrate most of the gathers into the tops of the sleeves. Sew and finish the seam.
13. Pin side seams of sleeve and bodice, matching seams and ends of binding. Sew and finish side seams.
14. Wrap the binding around the seam allowance at the bottom of the sleeves. Place the folded edge to just cover the previous stitching lines. To secure binding, stitch in the ditch on the right side or hand sew to the stitch line on the wrong side (photo 4).
Optional Bodice Piping
Note: The mini or baby piping cord used for this step was not included in the original supply list nor in the purchased kits.
1. Measure the lower bodice from back fold to back fold and add 2”. Cut a strip of fabric 2” x this measurement. This strip does not need to be cut on the bias and can be pieced, if needed. If piecing, take care to not have a join in the center.
2. Create piping using this strip and a piece of baby or mini piping cord as follows:
a. At the beginning, fold the short end of the fabric to the wrong side 3/8” and press. Place the piping cord in the center of the strip with one end tucked under the folded back fabric (photo 5).
b. Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, keeping the cord snug in the fold.
c. Stitch the piping using a narrow piping or zipper foot.
Note on the PFAFF® zipper foot: It is very easy to put this foot on the machine in the wrong position. PFAFF®’s new exclusive artificial intelligence features help to keep you straight! The machine recognizes many of the PFAFF® feet and whether or not they are properly attached. When the foot is improperly attached (photo 6), the machine will let you know through a notification on the screen (photo 7). It will also let you know when it is properly attached (photo 8) and in which position (photo 9).
3. Trim the seam allowance of the piping to 1/2”.
4. Place the piping to the lower bodice with the finished end of the piping aligned with the fold of the bodice back (photo 10).
5. Stitch the piping in place, stopping about 2” from the other back fold.
6. Trim the piping fabric 3/8” beyond the back fold. Fold the short end of the fabric to the wrong side 3/8” to meet the back fold.
7. Trim the piping cord to meet the fold of the fabric. Tuck the end of the piping cord under the fold of the fabric just as you did at the beginning (see photo 5). Refold the fabric in half lengthwise and finish stitching the piping to the lower bodice.
8. Set bodice aside.
Christening Gown Ruffle & Fancy Band
1. Using the technique Lace to Fabric, stitch the 1-1/8” wide edging lace to the long raw edge of the ruffle closest to the pintucks. Press the seam allowance toward the ruffle and the lace away from the ruffle. Optional: Secure the seam allowance in place by stitching a tiny zigzag or lightning stitch on the seam allowance right next to the lace. Have the ruffle right side up as you stitch. A straight stitch can also be used close to the edge of the fabric.
2. Place the short ends of the ruffle right sides together, matching the lace and pintucks. Stitch and finish the seam.
3. Stitch three rows of gathering stitches (L=3.5-4) around the top of the ruffle. Stitch the first row 1/8” from the raw edge, the second 1/2” from the raw edge and the third between the two.
4. Gather the ruffle to match the fancy band and stitch the ruffle in place using the technique Entredeux to Gathered Fabric (photo 11).
Child’s Dress Hem & Fancy Band
1. Measure the circumference of the fancy band exactly and add 1/2”.
2. Trim the width of the 8-1/2” x WOF hem band to this measurement.
3. Fold the hem band in half lengthwise to measure 4-1/4” wide and press well. Unfold the band and place the short ends right sides together, matching all raw edges. Stitch the short ends together using a 1/4” seam allowance. Press the seam open and refold the hem band.
4. Place the hem band to the right side of the fancy band, matching the raw edges of the fabric with the raw edge of the entredeux on one side of the fancy band.
5. Stitch the hem band to the fancy band using the technique Entredeux to Flat Fabric.
1. Measure the circumference of the remaining side of the fancy band exactly and add 1/2” (3/4” if using French seams for side seams of skirt).
2. Trim the width of the skirts from WOF to this measurement. If needed, trim the top of the Christening Gown skirt even with the lower edge. This will only be necessary if the ribbon stitches were not sewn straight.
3. Measuring from the top edge, cut a 5-1/2” slit at center of back skirt. Cut a placket strip, 2-1/2” x 12”. Add a continuous placket at the opening (see page 7 of the lesson PDF). The right-hand side is folded back and left side remains extended.
4. Place the front and back skirts together and sew both sides using a French seam or by straight stitching and finishing. Press the seams toward the back. On the Christening Gown skirt, ensure that the ribbon stitches are aligned before stitching the side seams.
5. Attach the Fancy Band to the lower edge of the skirt using the technique Entredeux to Flat Fabric.
6. Stitch three rows of gathering stitches (L=3.5-4) around the top of the skirt. Stitch the first row 1/4” from the raw edge, the second 5/8” from the raw edge and the third between the two.
7. With right sides together, gather the skirt to fit the bodice so that the placket edges reach the finished ends of the piping. Wrap the back folds around the placket as shown on page 7.
8. Sew the skirt to the bodice using a 1/2” seam allowance and following the stitching that attached the piping to the bodice. Trim and finish the seam.
Buttons & Buttonholes
1. Mark three horizontal buttonholes on right side of back bodice to fit chosen buttons (four for sizes 4 and 6). Space top and bottom buttonhole approximately 3/8” to 1/2” from bias neckline and piping/waist seam. Center the middle buttonhole(s). Buttonholes should be spaced approximately 1/4” from fold of back bodice facing. A Simflex Expanding Sewing Gauge is very helpful for spacing buttonholes.
2. Stitch buttonholes and cut open.
3. Add corresponding buttons to left bodice back.
That’s all for Lesson 4! Join us next week for Lesson 5, where we will construct the coordinating slip.
More About the PFAFF® creative icon™ 2:
The creative icon™ 2 sewing and embroidery machine marks a revolutionary step for sewists. A world first in the home sewing industry, artificial intelligence and voice control features give you the ultimate connectivity, enabling you to reach new levels of your craft, effortlessly.