Princess Dress from Candy Castle Patterns

I am so very pleased with this dress.  I wanted to make an Easter and Spring dress for my daughter and this pattern hit the mark!

I know, I know.  I posted nearly the same collage twice.  One looks better on my iPad, one looks better on the desktop.  Hoping to improve my photography skills so that they all look good.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I joined a two-week sew-along in the Candy Castle Patterns Group on Facebook, using her Princess Dress pattern.  This was my first sew-along and first pattern from Candy Castle Patterns.  I loved how easy-to-follow the pattern guide is.  I was able to try my hand at a few techniques I had not done before, and completed my second ever dress for my daughter.  And did I mention I love it?  The pattern is very versatile and customizable.  You choose slim or regular size, sleeve length (additional pattern available, Swizzle Sticks Sleeves for even more sleeve options), and whether you want a paneled or single fabric skirt, hemmed/ruffled/lace skirts, and the pattern also includes optional bows and yo-yo fabric flower embellishments.  I printed the pages I needed for my size pattern dimension, then followed the directions in my kindle app rather than printing the directions.  This worked very well for me.

I fell in love with the London Calling line of fabric from Robert Kauffman when I was shopping at The French Seam in Indianapolis (awesome fabric shop, the ladies there are lovely, and the store is delightful) and I knew I wanted to use the purple floral for the main fabric of my dress (it is so soft I even used it for the lining - I thought it was worth it to have that nice fabric next to her skin).  I had some green lattice print fabric left over from another project, and I liked the way it coordinated with the floral, so I chose that for my underskirt, even though I had originally selected a different fabric.  The lavender fabric was a remnant I picked up at The French Seam, and I loved the way it complemented my color scheme.   I used the one-fabric design for my skirt, and created ruffles for the bottom of both skirts.  I used the puff sleeve option, and then scaled back the puff a bit, for personal preference with this particular dress (look at the online photos to see how amazing the puff sleeves are for the Disney Character Princess dresses several women have made).

I've already said I really enjoyed the pattern.  I admit I was a little worried that the ruffles and scallops would be too much for me.  I also wasn't sure I'd like the longer length of the dress.  These are all options you can easily change - and many have.  A simplified Princess Dress uses only a single underskirt, and the length is very easy to customize.  I just went for it with those parts of the pattern and in the end I am very happy with it.  It is very well done.  For a more everyday dress, I will certainly use this pattern again in the simplified version as well.  The sew-along with the group was also delightful.  Any time anyone had a question or ran in to a problem, help was minutes away when posting to the group.  Also, everyone participated with lots of encouragement and congratulations on everything from fabric choices to finished dresses.  The schedule was very forgiving and manageable even for someone like me with limited sewing time.  Another aspect I found helpful was the encouragement to make a muslin.  I ended up making three muslins to adjust sizing and the sleeves.  I know this was key to having a dress I am so happy with in the end.  The only challenge for me (and its a little tongue in cheek) was fleeing from the temptation to dress envy - or comparison.  Women put together some very creative, beautiful dresses during the sew-along (and some even did multiple dresses at the same time).  So the temptation was there to think, "I wish I'd have come up with that color scheme" or "Wow!  What is my dress compared to that one?"  But that is not the point really, is it?  My goal was to be happy with my dress at the end, and I certainly am very happy with it.

This was my first time:
  • sewing a sash
  • sewing on my new Janome sewing machine
  • "bothering" with a muslin (I hate to confess) - as mentioned this was very helpful.
  • making button holes on an actual garment (instead of just practicing on test fabric)
  • participating in a sew-along
  • using a pattern from Candy Castle Patterns
  • incorporating a placket
  • Using a serger for a rolled hem (not required, but I used it for the ruffles on both skirts)
Besides the adjustments I made for my own errors (see below), the only changes I made to the pattern were to add a ribbon backing to the button and buttonhole area for extra strength.  I used fusible bonding to attach the gross grain ribbon to the underside, then ran stitches across the top and bottom to secure in place before adding the buttons and the button holes.  Not sure it was necessary, I just did it.  As I mentioned above, I also scaled back the puff sleeves for this particular dress.  I then tested it when I made my muslin.I also wanted to bring some of the green fabric to the upper part of the dress, so I added a double band on the sleeve edge, instead of the single edge.  I also made a coordinating headband/hair clip and made use of the included the leaf pattern with the flower.

Since I am not perfect, I will share my three main errors or mistakes while making this dress.

The first was sizing.  I measured my daughter and thought for sure a 12m slim would be the size to make.  I went ahead and made a muslin since it was on the schedule and my first time with the pattern.  When I tried it on my daughter, I was afraid it would be too narrow, especially by spring, so I decided to try the regular.  This is also when I scaled back the puff sleeve.  Still too narrow and perhaps, too short, I moved to the 18 slim.  I also looked at the size chart again and realized that really the 18 slim is where I should have started in the first place.  I was still concerned with the very bottom of the bodice being too tight at the bottom of the chest, but decided to forge ahead.  I am glad I did, because I forgot that the dress and skirt meet there, with a placket that can flex open.  So it ended up being a lovely fit.

Secondly, when cutting the scallops in the bottom of the skirt, I cut scallops in both skirts instead of just the top skirt.  It was late.  I wasn't thinking straight.  Since the skirts are gathered at the top anyway, and didn't have enough of the underskirt fabric to cut another, I sewed the cutouts shut, and in the end (after gathering) it didn't make a difference - thankfully!

Thirdly, when I was sewing the finished skirts to the bodice, i misaligned the side seams on one side.  This happened because I actually misaligned the two skirts - so the underskirt was aligned properly, but from the right side (outside) they were misaligned.  This was disappointing because I had to pull out the stitched and also ended up having to re-gather a good portion of the overskirt, then resew it all in the proper position.  The whole time I was praying I wouldn't accidentally put a hole in any of the fabric.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief and pleasure when I finished!

See?  Not perfect.  Mistakes happen and happily they were all fixable this time.  But, thankfully, the dress as a whole is anything but a mistake.  I love it!  I'd love to see links to your own Princess dress or other Candy Castle Patterns garment in the comments section! 


  1. It's beautiful, and I enjoyed reading your entry. I loved to make dresses for my daughter when she was a little girl. My favorite was an Easter dress made of a lightweight white fabric with lavender flowers on it. I spent many hours looking for just the right materials to use. I traveled over an hour to go to a specialty fabric store for a couple yards of very expensive lace. The laces were sew together into a pinafore bib that tied with wide satin sashes of lavender ribbon. I still have the dress, an heirloom to give to her when she has a daughter. My love is in each stitch along with a little frustration at my imperfections. Wish I had known about muslins. Thank you for sharing Bethany.

  2. Great blog, I really like the mistakes part, its refreshing! I have also make a candy castle princess dress and I should show you all the mistakes I made, but not the patterns fault, just my inexperience! But my daughter doesn't mind, she was even wearing her Sofia dress today :)

  3. Great blog. I shall be following along looking forward to seeing your next project.

  4. Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to tell you that you did GREAT! I'm so happy you enjoyed the pattern so much and aren't afraid to show your mistakes and what you learned from them. You rock!
    Candy Castle Patterns :)

    1. Thank you, CCP! I loved making the dress and just took my three boys out this weekend to make choices for their Soda Pop Polos. We plan to upcycle some printed T Shirts they picked out. Can't wait to start, and thanks again for great patterns! Just can't decide if I want to get going, or wait for another sew-along - it was so fun and helpful to follow the schedule and work along with everyone else.

  5. Wow, what an adorable dress! I just love it. You did great especially for tackling so many firsts!


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