I’ve had a lot of fun designing Mori Girl style patterns recently. Something about the aesthetic resonates with me. It’s girly without being super froofy. And the natural fabrics and nature inspired prints really speak to me. Having said that, I am also a big fan of seeing people take my patterns and do something totally different with them. And Vicky Stine did just that recently when she tested the Mori Girl Collared Dress for 18 inch dolls.
Vicky came to me with an idea to turn the dress into a 60s inspired dress, with the addition of contrast pleats. This pattern from 1963 was her inspiration:
And here’s the dress she made. Isn’t it cute? It looks exactly like the inspiration:
This tutorial is an extension of the faced version of the Mori Girl Collared Dress pattern by KeLibu. In addition to the supplies listed in the pattern doc, you will need the following:
- 5 inch by 8 3/4 inch piece of contrast/complementary fabric – cotton or blends – for front pleats
- Optional – 5 inch by 8 7/8 inch piece of contrast/complementary fabric – cotton or blends – for back pleats
- Optional – 2-4 decorative buttons or ribbon/bows as embellishments
- Scrap paper
- Tailor’s chalk or similar non-permanent marking tool
Step 1 – This dress is made to be layered in the Mori Girl style. If you are making an everyday dress (without the Skirt), you may find that it is a little short. To lengthen it, tape the Front and Back pieces to a scrap piece of paper. Add 3/4 of an inch to the bottom of each piece and cut out the newly lengthened pieces. Alternately, you add lace to the bottom of the dress after you hem it. If you are making a slip skirt to go underneath, skip to the next step.
Step 2 – Take your Front pattern piece and using you ruler, draw a line 7/8 inch away from and parallel to the centre front edge.
Step 3 – Cut the pattern piece along the line you drew. Add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to each side of the cut line. Label the bigger piece Front A and the smaller piece Front B.
If you are making back pleats, repeat Steps 2 & 3 for the back piece but draw your line 1 1/8 inches away from the centre back edge.
Step 4 – Draw a pattern piece for your pleats. The Front Pleat piece needs to measure 2 1/2 inches by 8 3/4 inches. If you are adding back pleats, they need to be slightly longer – 2 1/2 inches by 8 7/8 inches.
Step 5 – Lay your Front Facing piece on your Front A piece. Mark where the bottom of the facing falls on the centre front. If you plan to simply serge the hem of your facing, place the mark at the bottom of the facing. If you plan to turn the hem up, mark it at the stitch line. If you are adding back pleats, repeat this step using the back pieces and back facing pieces.
Now that you have all of your pattern pieces ready to go, you need to lay them out like this:
Option #1 – Front Pleats Only
Option #2 – Front & Back Pleats
Layout Collar and Facing pieces as shown in the pattern document.
Step 6 – Right sides together, lay a long edge of one of the Front Pleats along the straight edge of the right Front A piece.
Step 7 – Right sides together, lay teh right edge of Front B along the other edge of the Front Pleat you just sewed to Front A. Stitch in place and finish the seam. Repeat Steps 6 & 7 for the left Front A and the other Front Pleat. If you adding back pleats, repeat these steps for the back pleats as well.
Step 8 – Fold the front in half, right sides together, so that the seams connecting the right pleat to Front A and Front B are lined up. The seam allowances should be pushed out toward the fold in the pleat. Pin in place. Using the Front A pattern piece, transfer the mark you made on the centre front edge using tailors chalk or similar. Sew along the seam lines from the neckline to the mark, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam. Repeat for the left side.
Step 9 – Fold the pleats evenly on either side of the seams. Press in place and press the whole front of the dress. If you are adding back pleats, repeat steps 8 & 9.
Step 10 – Trim the tops of the pleats to the edges are flush with the neckline.
Skip to Step 16 in the Mori Girl Collared Dress pattern document on page 19 and continue dress assembly as described.
Once you’ve finished sewing the dress, consider sewing buttons or bows to the Front of the dress above where the pleats open up.
If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.