sew + tell: smocked building block dress

Today we have Ana Sofia sharing her lovely creation she made using the Building Block Dress book. She added a nice touch of smocking to it. If you’re interested in more smocking inspiration please head over to our Smocked Dress Round-up and Smocked Pocket Tutorial. And with that, here is Ana Sofia!

Oliver + S Building Block Dress

Name: Ana Sofia
Where can we find you on the internet? Blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr

Project details
Link to your project: Building Block Dress: The Book
Pattern used: Building Block Dress
Fabric used: Chambray and Lace trim (broderie anglaise)

Did the fabric work well?

Both fabrics were a good choice for this blouse. They have a good drape and the dots were a clever choice for the added smocking (i.e. making it so much easier).

Oliver + S Building Block Dress

How did the sewing go?

As my girl grows older, I’m trying to sew her pieces that fit her style. She’s been taking a more active part in the selection process, picking fabrics and designs.

I used the set of basic dress pattern pieces included in the book–front and back bodice and sleeve. The front bodice was shortened, creating a yoke, and a skirt was added for the smocking (I measured, 3x the width of the front bodice). The back bodice was also shortened and a skirt was added. However, for the back I only added a bit of fullness to the shirt (a few inches), as my girl requested a “straight” blouse–and obviously, as the front was smocked, I could only fit this request in the back. I also added a lace trim to the skirt (front and back) to make it a bit more girly.

As I’ve already made a few blouses using the book before, it was really easy to draft the flutter sleeve to her preferences; she had requested a narrow flutter sleeve. I simply followed the book instructions provided on page 66 and made the necessary adjustments.

Overall, the construction was quite simple, following the guidelines provided for the dress (with a button back). The only part that was not included in the book was the smocking, but I’ve been trying to give it a try and this blouse was really a good canvas for adding smocking. (I mean, those dots were really asking to be smocked, right?) This was “her blouse” so I tried to follow her guidelines. She’s not as keen on smocking as I am, but was willing to have just a few rows and I think it worked beautifully.

Oliver + S Building Block Dress

What was the best part?

The best part was definitively sewing a blouse as per the user’s request. As my girl grows older, it’s a bit more difficult to find patterns that we both love (I love timeless pieces while she, obviously, asks for more informal/casual styles), and I have found the Building Block Dress Book to be a very useful resource for drafting patterns to fit both our preferences. I purchased the book (English version) as soon as it was released and I must confess that I’ve been using it more than expected. It’s my go-to-book for sewing blouses (as most of the patterns I own don’t include larger sizes) and costumes for school plays. It is always really straight forward to “design” a piece of clothing exactly as imagined, and it’s not restricted to dress and blouses. I have used some of the techniques included in the book with other patterns with great success.


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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing. We both love this blouse so much – and I love that I was able to get her involved in the creative process and it was actually fun 🙂

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