Prairie Circle Dress-pattern drafting

Butcher paper is usually my first choice for making a sewing pattern. I have a huge roll from an office supply store that is a decade old and still has a few yards left in it. I store it in Biddi’s room, so when I work during her naps it is never around–of course! This pattern was created on paper bags from the grocery store. It actually worked out well; the length of the bag unfolded was just perfect for the length of the hem.

As I said in the last post, the corduroy fabric shrunk about 2 inches when I pre-washed it, so the hem is 1/2″ shorter than the pattern called for.

Even when using a store-bought pattern, I usually transfer to another medium because the tissue style paper that comes with a sewing pattern is too delicate. Altering to add length or width–by slashing and spreading for example–would be impossible because modifications mean attaching delicate tissue to a much stiffer, stronger paper which will ultimately tear the pattern’s tissue paper. Transferring a store bought pattern to paper or plastic is also much easier than cutting the pattern paper. As an added bonus the pattern is available as a reference. Lastly, working in this way is especially smart for girls’ clothing because it means that when Baby grows in to the next size, the store-bought pattern paper itself is still in one piece and not cut away. Referencing a pattern is also nice because it gives an indication of the right yardage of fabric and trim to buy.

Pattern Drafting Circle Skirt.jpg
Tracing the Front hem shape onto the Back Pattern Piece

I measured from the 90′ right angle of the bag and then used a hip curve ruler to get the curve just right. The picture above is tracing the Front Piece on to the Back Piece. Since it is a circle skirt, the hem will be the same in the front and back.

Also, the side seams will be exact replicas of each other because they get sewn to each other.

The triangle marks along the seams are notches and get matched to one another when sewing. The 3 dots in a triangle shape at the Center Front (CF) indicate to cut the piece on a fold.

Adding 5/8″ SA


For the Back, there will be a seam at center back. and so 5/8″ Seam Allowance (SA) needs to be added.


removing-12%22-necklineThe last detail to make the dress pattern complete was the neckline and armhole. I used measurements and the hip curve ruler to get the right shape. I wanted a substantial, chunky collar that made a statement, so I made the collar about 2″ wide. In order to keep the scale of the dress correct, I subtracted about 1/2″ from the dress neckline. Then I checked it against the pattern and it was a close match-a good sign.

Grey Romper with Bow

I made the romper pattern (New Look Pattern 6440 View C) in a grey tribal rayon blend. It was so cute! Having the option to add the bow is nice, but I found it doubles the cutting and sewing time to make the bow. I also don’t like that it is permanently attached to the garment, but it is so heavy that it can’t be attached with snaps. It would be great if I could remove it for naps or for a different look, but it is so heavy that is sags and looks sloppy.


I don’t love the shoulder pieces on the romper, I think it makes her like a genie for some reason…maybe it is just the gold sandals. I digress, the shoulder pieces are staying to hold the lace out on the shoulders. The wide lace trim on the neckline will hide them anyways. I will be removing the shoulder pieces for the digital floral dress because it is more modern-looking. The florette trim will just be set directly on the collar.


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