I was incredibly pleased when Natalli from Nell Patterns responded to my email asking to be a pattern tester for her latest pattern: The Pleated Bow Dress. Not knowing much about the pattern beforehand, I was even more pleased when it finally arrived in Dobbin’s Bobbins’ inbox and I discovered the simplest, sweetest little design. It’s a pretty a-line dress, featuring an inverted pleat and bow. (See my 1960s inverted pleat inspiration here).
Lack of sleep and high running emotions over another project meant that I was incredibly silly and made a somewhat critical mistake during cutting (I honestly don’t know how I managed it!), and I ended up having to make a size 2T, rather than the 5T that I was supposed to be making. Whoops! I was disappointed that I’d wasted my small quantity of such lovely cottons; a soft and simple blue and white stripe teamed with a vintage floral fat quarter. In the end, it didn’t really matter, it just meant that I got to have a practice run, and that I now have the cutest little dress waiting to find a cute little two year old to match! I love the way the pleat is accentuated with the stripes.
Ensuring I was fully awake and focused on the task at hand, I finally cut out the size 5T! This time I used a cotton printed with the sweetest vintage sewing design, featuring Singer machines, antique irons, scissors, buttons and bobbins! The colour makes it the perfect transitional garment- when the British autumn takes full swing, it would be perfect paired with a cream jumper and tights.
D loved the dress and was the perfect model!
D is a little tall for her age (120cm), so I found the dress was slightly too short- if I were to make another for her, I’d definitely want to add at least another 2 inches to the length to avoid the ‘Shirley Temple’ look! Or perhaps take it up a little more and turn it into a tunic to be paired with leggings.
I also think the design would look really pretty if you reduced the length even further and turned it into a top.
The pinnacle of this a-line design has to be the beautiful bow that sits on one shoulder. I love how something so simple can instantly transform a garment, making it pretty and feminine without being sickly sweet.
Perhaps the best thing about this pattern is just how quick and easy it is to make. There are no fiddly zips or buttons to contend with and you can cut and sew the entire thing in a couple of hours. What could be more satisfying than that?! I know that I’ll be making more of these in the future!
A massive thank you to D’s Mum Amanda for her excellent directing skills, and for letting me use their gorgeous garden for photos!
The Pleated Bow Dress pdf pattern will be available at Nell Patterns very soon! It’s worth noting that if you like Natalli’s other patterns as well (which I’m sure you will), she currently has an offer of 3 patterns for $13!