Monday, October 7, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Tea Party Dress

Hello again!  How many of you have a head start on your holiday sewing?  I, for one, haven't started my Halloween sewing yet (I know, for shame!), but I know some of you are already looking into Christmas and holiday patterns.  The one we are reviewing today is perfect for holiday parties, family photos, birthdays, weddings, princess costumes, church... any special occasion where you want the "wow" factor. 

The Tea Party Dress by the Handmaiden's Cottage is absolutely stunning, isn't it?  It's been a best-seller on our site for weeks now, and I'm sure you can see why.  Everything about this dress is jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, absolutely exquisite!!  Can you tell I kinda like it?  And it even comes in a doll size (sold separately here) so your little angel and her doll can match.  How cute!!

This pattern is perfect for all the little princesses out there in sizes 6m- Girls 8.  If you are unsure of the size your little one would wear, there is a size chart included that will give you finished measurements for both the bodice and dress length.  The back bodice contains elastic, so there is some "give" to the fit.  You'll also find that there is a yardage chart included, so be sure to double check that you have enough fabric before beginning!  As you can imagine, all the ruffles take up a good bit of fabric- but the end result is definitely worth it!  The smallest size calls for a total of 3 yards and the largest size calls for a total of 5 1/4 yards for the whole dress. 

I think you'll be surprised at how easy to follow this pattern is.  It looks intimidating, but designer Lynn Jeffries does a beautiful job of walking you through step-by-step.  The tutorial itself is only 30 pages long (15 pages for the directions and 15 pages for the pattern pieces), but there is a lot of  good "stuff" in there.  With all the detailed photos along the way, you'll be just fine!  I've heard feedback from several people saying the dress was much easier to construct than they anticipated. 

The pattern pieces have all the sizes nested together with the lines for each size being a different color.  The ruffles and underskirt don't have pattern pieces, but rather a chart is provided so you can cut out the rectangles using the dimensions given.  Each page of the entire tutorial is labeled with the name of the pattern and numbered (we all know how important that is in the event of children or pets getting into our sewing rooms, right?)  She even includes a diagram showing you how to line up the pattern piece pages so there's no confusion about how they fit together. 

All-in-all, this is a very thorough design that you won't be disappointed with!  And the end result?  Stunning!  If you'd like to give this dress a try, you can purchase it on the website for 25% off right now!  This offer won't last long (probably only until October 14th), so be sure to get your order in now! 

Let's go ahead and get to the review sent in to us by Stephanie.  You can take a look at some of her other work here
My name is Stephanie Hull, and I am the mother of four amazing kids!  I have been sewing on and off since I was 16 when my grandma taught me, but after my twins were born last year, I jumped in and started expanding my skills and improving my home business (S.H. Designs Boutique) by making clothes and baby items.  I would describe myself as an advanced beginner with an "I can do that!" attitude.  I'm more than willing to make a pattern that requires skills that I don't currently have.  I learn best by jumping in!
I looked at the Tea Party Dress by The Handmaiden's Cottage and fell in love.  I knew that I currently had some pink velvet and black satin in my fabric stash, and I planned to use only fabrics I had on hand instead of purchasing fabrics.

I read the pattern very carefully a few times before even starting to cut.  It took me about half an hour to cut all the pieces.  The overskirt and bodice were all printed pieces, and the rest are just measured rectangles for the ruffles and underskirt. It probably would have taken me a lot less time had I opted to use cottons instead of slippery fabrics.

Once I had everything cut, I had a small panic attack because I felt like I had gotten in a bit over my head and/or that I was never going to finish this project.  I was very quickly proved wrong!  If you know how to use your machine to make a basting stitch (or you have another preferred method of making ruffles), you can sew this pattern very easily!  Working with the velvet and satin was a bit fussy and took me several hours to hem, ruffle, and sew.  However, when I made the pattern again out of cotton, it took me two and a half hours from cutting to completion!

The pattern is well written, and does a great job with pictures and explanations.  There is also a page on customizing your dress.  For mine, I wasn't too thrilled with the way the skirt looked when connected to the bodice, because the velvet was a bit heavier than I anticipated, so I opted to add a sash.  I think what thrilled me most of all is that this dress looks so complicated when it's completed, but the construction is very simple and straightforward!  I made the size 18mos/2T for my daughter and the fit and length were perfect.
The most important piece of advice I can give for anyone who wants to make this pattern is to read through it carefully a couple of times before cutting and starting your project, especially the cutting section.  I was very eager to get sewing and rushed through it the first time and thought I knew what to cut, but ended up a couple of pieces short. It was obviously an easy fix, but even for a small size, this dress uses quite a bit of fabric, and cutting wrong can mean wasting fabric and I hate wasting beautiful fabrics!
All in all, I adore this pattern!  Since sewing together my first pink velvet and black satin creation last week, I have sewed one more Tea Party Dress and have two more planned.  I think that there is so much gratification from this relatively simple pattern and my daughters love that they look like princesses!  I would highly recommend this pattern for everyone, from beginner to advanced!

Photos were taken by RoniD.Photography.  You can find them on FB at

Just gorgeous!!  I've been curious as to what this dress would look like with a different color ruffle on the underskirt, and I love it!  I mean, even that little boy couldn't help but run up and give her a flower she looked so beautiful  ;) 

Pair it Up!

For more extraordinary holiday outfit ideas, take a look at just a few that we have available.

The Lulu pettiskirt/ruffled skirt from Tulips & Edelweiss will definitely turn some heads!  Can you believe all the volume that skirt has??  That is some serious frilly goodness!  You can wear the Lulu alone as a skirt or wear it under another dress with a full skirt to give it a dramatic effect.  This can be made in sizes 12m- Girls 14, and there's even a bonus 18" doll size included! 

The Precious Dress from The Scientific Seamstress is perfect for holiday get-togethers!  I adore the puff sleeves, and I'm a sucker for a Peter Pan collar!  There are a lot of ways you can play around with this pattern to get just the look you're after.  Add an apron, make it sleeveless, leave off the collar, add a sash... it's so versatile and fun to make!  This pattern comes in sizes 3m- Girls 10, and there's a bonus 15"-18" doll pattern included with this one, too!  There will be lots of cute kids with their cute dolls this holiday season!  Oh, and this pattern is 25% off right now on our website until October 13th  :) 
Make sure you go to the website and purchase your copy of The Tea Party Dress for 25% off while it's still on sale  :)  Also, we'd love for you to join us as we kick off our 1st Annual Handmade Halloween Costume ContestSimply design a Halloween costume around one or more of the over 800 patterns we carry on our website.  We're giving away over $300 in awesome prizes from some awesome vendors!  Find the details by clicking on the banner below :)

 Go sew something magical!


Follow on Bloglovin



  1. Oh my God this dress is ADORABLE! I am this close to buying the pattern, although I've never sewn a dress before (only for my dolls).

    (I found your blog via Sugar Bee Crafts linky party. I am Athina from Greece and my blog is )

    1. Thank you!!! Jump in and try, I think you'll be surprised at how well it all comes together :)

  2. I purchased the Tea Party Dress from you earlier this year and it became the best selling dress in my Etsy shop. Not only is it well written, the results are stunning. I pair it with a bishop style blouse to match for cooler weather. By far, one of my favorite patterns ever. Thanks for the great review.

    1. Love to hear it, Josi! Post a pic to our FB wall! I'd love to see your take on it :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I'll try to respond as quickly as I can! Have a fabulous day full of sewing!