~ The Sweet Audrey {A Vintage Inspired Ombre Dress} ~ Part 1 (The Bodice)

20 Dec


For the past few months I have been dreaming up this exquisite girl’s party dress.  It is going to be a Christmas present for my niece ~ who just loves to twirl about in a pretty dress!  In my mind I saw something elegant, almost a vintage look. I wanted it to be sophisticated, like something Audrey Hepburn might wear, kind of like the one that she wore to the Oscars in 1954 (pictured below). alg-hepburn-dress-web I also wanted to find a way to make it fun and somewhat modern.

On the dress I designed, the skirt is very full and hemmed just below the knees.  I  added a built in pettiskirt for extra fun and flair. The bodice is lined and I have sewn it in a way that there are not many visible seams.  I am going to show you exactly how I created it, as well as give you a free pattern for the bodice in 5T.  I do plan to add more sizes, if there is a particular size you would like to make, leave a comment on this post and I will work on that size first.  For the fabric I chose a new cotton design from Riley Blake Designs.  Several months ago Riley Blake Designs came out with their cotton ombre dot collection.  I thought that an ombre dress would be lively and give it the modern twist that I was looking for.  So with that in mind, I chose ombre dots in grey.  I cut the fabric in a way that the dress starts out with light grey dots at the shoulders, and as you move towards the bottom of the dress the dots get darker and eventually at the bottom of the skirt they are black.  I broke up the dot pattern in the mid section with a splash of hot pink satin.  The dress is finished with four buttons down the back and a nice plump bow in the front.

Since it is a rather big project, I will be doing it in three parts.  The first part I will teach you how to sew the bodice.  The second part I will show you how to create the skirt.  The third part we will put everything together, plus add finishing touches like the bow and buttons. Well let’s get started!  Here are the supplies that you will need:


Pattern ~ you will have to click on four separate links and print each one to get the complete pattern: The Sweet Audrey Dress Size 5T {Part 1:Back Bodice}, {Part 2 Back Rectangular}, {Part 3 Front Bodice}, {Part 4 Front Rectangular}~ this is for personal use only.  I have put a lot of work into this pattern and tutorial, if you would like to sell items made from this pattern please e-mail me at and for a low cost I will give you a limited commercial license.

1 1/2 yards main fabric (my fabric is cotton ombre dots in grey)

1/2 yard lining fabric

1/2 yard satin fabric for the mid section and bow

2 yards of tulle ~ the finer, smoother tulle works best for this type of project (The built in pettiskirt is optional, if you are not putting it in the dress you do not need tulle)


Basic Sewing Supplies/Sewing Machine

4 buttons ~ mine were 15 mm or 5/8″

Cutting out your pattern:

You will need to cut out the lining pieces for your bodice first.  After you have cut out pic1the lining fabric, you will snip the bottom part of the pattern off along the dotted line.  Next cut your main fabric bodice pieces.  Lastly, use the front rectangular piece to cut out one satin pieces of fabric to attach pic2to your front bodice, and cut two from the back rectangular piece to attach to your back bodice.  From both the liner and the main fabric you will cut one front bodice piece, on the fold, and two opposite back bodice pieces.  Here are some pictures of the pieces you should now have.

pic3 First we are going to attach the satin pieces to the rest of the bodice.  To do this, flip your front rectangular satinpic4 piece so that one of the longer edges matches up with the bottom edge of your front bodice.  Make sure the pieces of fabric are right side together.  Sew them together with a 1/2″ seam.  Repeat this step with both of the back bodice pieces.  When you have sewed these pieces together, don’t forget to press your seams.

Next we need to sew the liner to the main fabric.  Place the front bodice liner and main fabric right sides together.  You are going to sew it together along the neckline, and then starting at the bottom of the arm hole you are going to sew pic5the liner and main fabric together, but stop half way up the arm hole!! Repeat with the other arm hole.

For the back part of the bodice we are going to sew it a little differently.  Again place the lining fabric right sides together with the main fabric.  You are going to sew arm holes halfway up, just like you did on the front bodice.  Then you are going to sew along the neckline and down the edge, but STOP sewing two inches from the bottom of the bodice.  Do this with both sides of the back bodice.  Again the dotted lines in the picture should help you figure out where to sew.


Now let’s join the bodice together at the shoulders.  This next step looks a little tricky, it is hard to get a good picture of this step, but read it over a couple of times and the lightbulb should go on!  First of all you need to turn all of your bodice pieces right sidepic7 out and press with your iron.  I cannot stress this enough ~ take your time and do a good job pressing your bodice.  It will help you with the next couple of steps if you press it well.  Poke all of the little corners out; press.  Then you want to fold in the unsewn parts of your arm holes, 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the fabric (for both the main and lining fabric) and press well.

Take one of your back bodice pieces and place it on top of your front bodice piece, with the pic8outer fabric facing each other.  Line up the shoulders.

This is the tricky party.  Open up the shoulders.  Pin the outer fabric right sides together, and the lining fabric right sides together.  Sew the shoulders  together using a 1/2″ seam (along the dotted lines in the picture below)

pic9Repeat the same step with the other back bodice piece and sew the other shoulder together.  Your bodice is just about done, hopefully that wasn’t too painful!

Now you need to sew the sides of the bodice together and finish your arm holes.

To sew the bodice together, keep your bodice turned right side out.  Pull the outer fabric of the bodice upwards.  Pin the sides of the lining fabric together (so to be clear you are pinning the side of the front bodice to the side of the back bodice)  Pin it together all the way up to the arm hole where you will reach the outer fabric.  Then you will pin the outer fabric (right sides together) in the same fashion.  Sew all the way up the side with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  When you are finished press your seam.  The bodice should now look like a bodice!  And as a bonus you will not see any seams.


This is where your excellent ironing skills will come in handy.  Fold your shoulder seam closed, if you have ironed the un-sewn arm hole well, you can jump right in and edge stitch all around the arm hole.  If the edges do not match up, take it back to the ironing board and press it a little more.  When you are ready, you can edge stitch all around both of the arm holes, and your bodice will be finished!


Tomorrow I will post part two of this sew along.  Part two will show you how to make the skirt, which includes the outer skirt and the inner tulle pettiskirt.

Update:  Part 2 has now been posted, here is a link: Sweet Audrey Part 2: The Skirt and Part 3:  Sweet Audrey Part 3: The Finishing Touches

 I would also like to mention that this afternoon I am very happy to be co-hosting a special link party.  Several bloggers have teamed up and pledged to donate 5 cents per link added to the United Way Newtown Fund to benefit the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  As of right now, we are up to $1.00 per link in pledged donations for every link added to the party.  The great thing for you is that no matter which blog you link up to, your addition will be seen on many different blogs ~ what great exposure for your blog, plus you will be helping out with a great cause!  There will be a few rules for this link party, but be sure to check out all of those details when I post them later today.

Thank you for stopping by!

~Lisa K


9 Responses to “~ The Sweet Audrey {A Vintage Inspired Ombre Dress} ~ Part 1 (The Bodice)”

  1. Kathy December 21, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    I love this dress! My girl loves to twirl as weel and she loves dresses. She is 3 and wears a 4t. I would love it if you could give some tips on sizing it down.

  2. carissamiss December 22, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    wow, super cute! i would also love a smaller size pattern too:) 2t?

    • sweetlisak December 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      I will work on size 2 and 4 as soon as Christmas is over, thank you for your comments

  3. Kathy Williams January 4, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    Wow so pretty. Can’t wait to make this for my granddaughter. Would love to have this in a size 3 and a 12 months for 2 other little girls I sew for.
    Can’t thank you enough for this great pattern.
    Thanks Kat

  4. Melissa January 5, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    I’ve been looking for a pattern like this! Absolutely love this! I could use a size 3 or size 4 🙂

  5. Caroline January 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    I would love that size 4 when you get around to it! Beautiful,classic dress!


  1. ~The Sweet Audrey {A Vingtage Inspired Ombre Dress} ~ Part 2 (The Skirt) « Sweet Benanna&Sam - December 21, 2012

    […] Thank you for stopping by today, here is a link to Day 1 of this dress tutorial: The Bodice […]

  2. ~The Sweet Audrey {A Vingtage Inspired Ombre Dress} ~ Part 3 (Finishing Touches) « Sweet Benanna&Sam - December 24, 2012

    […] dress is finished! Beautiful, elegant, fun ~ fit for a princess!  Here are the links to PART 1 and PART 2 in case you missed […]

  3. Stacy Sews - Diary of a Fabric Junkie » Blog Archive » Linky Thursday - January 10, 2013

    […] The Sweet Audrey – a dress so adorable, I’m wishing I had my own version! […]

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