introducing the garden party dress + blouse sewing pattern

We seem to have found a rhythm for our pattern collections. Every year, among all the styles we produce, we do one boy’s/unisex pattern, and there’s always one fancy dress and one casual dress. Have you noticed that? Anyway, we were due for another fancy dress, especially since you all liked the Fairy Tale Dress so well.

As it happened, right around the time I was starting to design this collection I had a conversation with a friend about popular sewing patterns. We were remembering the old Sugar City Village Frock and how popular it was. (Do you remember that pattern? So cute.) As we talked, I started thinking about shirring and how I don’t use it very much. And since I’m not really a ruffly designer, it made sense to try shirring in a dress design. And since so many of you seem to be interested in smocking, I wanted something that might appeal to the smockers too. More on that later.

Enter the Croquet Dress. The Croquet Dress? Yes, the Croquet Dress. Do you recognize it in the lines of the new Garden Party Dress?




We started with the Croquet Dress pattern for this design. Very similar shoulders and front yoke. The back bodice has the same keyhole notch. But then we started making changes: shirring across the front bodice, a waistband to hold all the shirring in place, and gathered sleeves to compliment the shirring.




This dress looks more complicated than it actually is. I feel like I say that a lot. Seriously, don’t let this style intimidate you. It’s a fancy dress, but the shirring is straightforward (if you’ve made ruffles or gathers, you can do shirring; it’s the same thing) and the construction itself is simple. No zippers. It doesn’t even have buttonholes! Just a thread chain for the back button at the keyhole opening. And we walk you through that easily, although I like how Kristin handled her thread chain, too. (And didn’t her version of this pattern turn out beautifully?)


OLV-OS044GP1_2_Full@2xThe pattern also includes instructions for making the sleeveless blouse. I think this is so cute worn with a skirt or skinny jeans.






I really wanted to make sure these patterns were available for you as soon as possible, because I’m thinking Easter dresses. You too?




When S saw this dress design, she immediately said it looks like Liesl’s dress in The Sound of Music, which we watch on a regular basis. So maybe that inspired me too, subconsciously? I guess it would make sense. I mean, I’ve always identified with Liesl. But wouldn’t this pattern be beautiful in chiffon, like Liesl’s?

I can’t wait to see what you make with it. You can get the pattern now (in plenty of time for Easter sewing) in both paper and digital format.




  1. Liesl, I love this. I think it’s my favourite so far. Definitely be buying this in digital format tomorrow so I can make it for Adelaide to wear as summer wanes. Excited. Thank you.

  2. I adore this dress and have a long sleeved version planned for Autumn.
    I thought is ‘hinted’ at the Village frock too, but more urban. (But I love both)

    Well done again.

  3. Kathleen Gapud

    I love this pattern and ALL of your patterns! I read once in a pattern review that your children’s clothing patterns are an “Eastern European” style. I have always been drawn to this style of clothing for children, but didn’t realize it consciously. My Dad is half Czechoslavakian and we watched the Sound of Music all the time! In fact, I just bought it for my children last Christmas! Can’t wait to make this dress!

  4. Brenda

    Yes! I did recognize the lines of the Croquet dress in this dress! In fact, I played with the idea of using the Croquet dress pattern to make this exact style of dress because I have been looking for this style of dress pattern for quite awhile. So you can imagine how excited and pleased I am ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. thejenni

    I thought the Sugar City frock was hinted in the design! Funny thing is, the day before patterns came out, I picked up some cute fabric, thinking to myself, I bet this will be perfect for the new fancy dress pattern… and, it is. Going nautical. Can’t wait for my new patterns to arrive!

  6. I have a very similar pattern in a Japanese book, but if I’m going to try something new, like shirring, I’d much rather your instructions!!
    When you say shirring, do you mean putting some elastic in the bobbin casing to do the gathering rather than pulling on loose bobbin threads?. If it’s the former, with your awesome instructions then count me in!

  7. The new patterns are so lovely, Liesl, I can’t wait to sew them! I think I may give the chiffon version a try, it’s too tempting. I have been looking for this pattern for a while, but the version I envisioned had no waistband–is this an element that can be left out for a different version? I am not sure if I would be brave enough to try it ๐Ÿ˜‰ anyway, I loooove the new styles; thank you for three more beautiful patterns to have fun and learn from!

  8. Oh I did notice the croquet similarities but I love that it’s a village frock inspired croquet hybrid! Such a pretty and fun-to-sew dress. I want to make another one. Thanks for the link! ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. This is so pretty, Liesl!

  10. Beautiful dress pattern ! Bravo !

  11. Maria

    Oh yes, I am also interested to know. I have that pattern too and am also debating if I should buy O+Sยดs or not. The japanese one has gathers and an elastic band, but I am thinking shirring looks a lot better and would also like to learn to do that.

  12. This one is my favorite by far – though I am convinced I’ll soon be adding the Hide and Seek to my must-have/must-sew list ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the Village Frock, but never managed to get a copy and despite having the Japanese version, I would prefer to try your version first (no need to say why, right?). I am pretty sure there will be lots of Garden parties coming my way!

  13. Shelley, the shirring in this pattern is done by pulling threads to gather before applying the waistband. The challenge of shirring using elastic thread in the bobbin is that a) you can’t control the amount of gathering very well and b) some machines don’t like elastic thread.

    Ledys, you certainly could eliminate the waistband at the front–the front is all one piece, so it will just be gathered along the top band and the dress will be rather full. The back has a waist seam, but you could still eliminate the waistband itself and just keep the seam. Could be really cute, especially if you did something like smocking to control the fullness to the waist.

    I hope that helps!

  14. I love this dress – so simple but so pretty. And am thrilled that the shirring is done without elastic – my machine is one of those that refuses to shir with elastic! Now I can order my pattern without worrying ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Sarvi

    Aha! I thought all shirring was elastic shirring. What’s the difference between gathering and shirring? Is it shirring when both edges (top and bottom) are gathered?

  16. G
  17. Donna

    Oh my goodness, Liesl! Adorable! We just finished with a sound of music favorite things birthday party in Saturday, so when this pattern came up for sale on Monday in my inbox, I thought… Hmm. Looks like Liesl’s party dress from soumd of music. I could make that for Easter. I have beautiful light pink, a darker pink and a white sheer cotton voile that I planned to make for Easter dresses for the grandgirls. Perfect for this dress! I’ve been so busy making Gretl birthday dresses and costumes (using the fairy tale dress pattern) that I just read your blog finally….. We have the same idea! I can’t wait to see your Liesl party dress!

Post a comment