For my daughter’s St. Cecilia dress I decided to go with a vaguely Medieval princess style dress that she can add to her dress up collection.
I started with the Me Hearties Dress from Patterns for Pirates as the base. It has a full circle skirt which I thought would be too full, so I used a half circle skirt instead. I also added ribbon down the sleeves and around the bottom of the skirt. The skirt is hemmed with lace hem tape to add a sophisticated touch. If you really want to go for authenticity, the skirt would be a lot longer but I knew my daughter would hate a dress that long.
You will need 1 yard of fabric (I found this stretch crushed velvet at Joann’s), fold over elastic, ribbon, and lace hem tape.
Cut out the bodice and desired sleeve length (I went with 3/4 sleeves) as the pattern calls for. Pin the ribbon down the middle of the sleeves before doing anything else and sew it down with a zigzag stitch.
Assemble the bodice as instructed.
Now for the half circle skirt! You need to do a bit of EASY math to come up with measurements for the half circle skirt. The radius of the waist circle is just the waist measurement divided by pi [π, 3.14].
radius = waist ÷ pi.
The bottom of the bodice is 20″ so that’s what I used for the waist measurement. r = 20 ÷ 3.14. Any calculator can easily do that problem and I wound up with r = 6.3.
To add a seam allowance, you need to move closer to the center of the circle by subtracting 0.5″. My waist radius became 5.8 which I rounded to 5.75.
Then you need to determine the desired length of your skirt + a seam allowance + a hem allowance. In this case that was 9.5″. (Remember that I’m only making a knee length dress. An ankle length dress would be much longer.)
Fold your fabric in half and down a line parallel to the selvage. I forgot to take a picture of that step but you can somewhat see the black line across the bottom. Then start marking dots the length of the adjusted waist radius with seam allowance (5.75″ for me) away from the where that line meets the fold.
Add another series of dots an additional length of the skirt piece away (5.75 + 9.5 = 15.25). Connect the dots and cut along the lines. You should have a 9.5″ skirt piece that looks like this.
If you want to attach ribbon, pin it 1.5″ from the bottom of the skirt. Cut the ribbon when you reach the other end. Just like with the sleeves, use a zigzag stitch to sew the ribbon in place. (the skirt looks like a half circle when it’s laid out, which is why it’s called a half circle skirt)
Clip or pin the 9.5″ sides of the half circle together, making sure to line up the ribbon. Sew it together with a 0.5″ seam allowance.
Attach the skirt to the bodice, making sure you line up the skirt seam with the center of the back bodice. The bodice is right side out and the skirt is inside-out.
Now pin one end of the hem tape to the right side of the skirt just across the center seam. Continue pinning all the way around and cut a bit of overlap.
Sew the hem tape in place.
Fold the skirt under 0.25 – 0/5″ below where you just attached the hem tape. Pin and sew.