debbie’s tween gelato dress

Debbie is visiting from the Advisors Circle today to show off the Gelato Dress she made for her nine-year-old granddaughter. This is a great read for anyone thinking of sewing our women’s patterns for older children. As Debbie demonstrates, it can work very well!

I made a lot of clothing for my daughter when she was small, but I stopped sewing for her by the time she reached middle school. When my oldest granddaughter was born, I got interested in sewing again. I only had a basic machine and only sewed strictly by a pattern. Nine years later, I am excited to be learning how to custom-fit a pattern.

My granddaughter is now nine, tall for her age, and she has outgrown most girls’ patterns. Even though there are a few tween patterns available, I thought the Gelato Dress would be very flattering on her if I could adjust the fit.

Debbie sewed a tween dress with our sewing pattern.

Based on her measurements, I decided to start with a size 2. The only adjustment I made initially was to take out the bust darts. Even though I knew the dress was going to be much too long, I didn’t adjust the length initially. The first muslin fit, but her mother and I decided she needed a little more ease, especially since she’s growing so fast.

For the second muslin, I added the bust darts back, took 9″ off the length, and moved the pockets up an inch. I was so excited to see how well the second version fit. There was a little excess material at the lower back that I wasn’t sure how to handle. I finally decided I needed to do a sway back adjustment before cutting my fabric. Due to an ice and snowstorm, I couldn’t do another fitting of the muslin. I just crossed my fingers and started cutting!

Debbie sewed a tween dress with our sewing pattern.

I’ve had this Cotton & Steel fabric in my stash for several years. I don’t remember if I purchased it with a quilt or a dress in mind, but it’s the perfect material for this dress. The texture and weight are almost like chambray, which I also think would make a cute version of the dress.

This was my first time making welt pockets. They did not turn out perfectly, but the second pocket was better than the first, and my granddaughter is a very uncritical model. I added faux felled seams on the back and sides, hoping this would stand up to elementary school days.

Debbie sewed a tween dress with our sewing pattern.

I am so happy with the fit. Our snow finally started melting, and we were able to get outside for some sunny day pictures. I think she was happy with the result also.

This is a great pattern, and it was easy to make the adjustments. I want to make several more for her. I think she is going to enjoy wearing them.


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  1. Rebecca

    Wonderful Sewing job! Lucky granddaughter! Sure this will be requested again this spring.

  2. Erica

    What a great adaptation for a tween! It is a hard few years to find styles that appeal to the child and parents/grandparents, but this one looks to be a winner! Well done.

  3. Enbee

    Beautiful! My mother could sew, but did not like to, so she saved our costume etc sewing for my grandmother’s visits. There was nothing I loved more than knowing my Grandma made something for me (and if I’m being honest, I probably would have rolled my eyes at wearing something *my mom* made, but Grandma-made was the best). She looks so happy, and the dress is just perfect.

  4. Lisa

    Your granddaughter looks so happy in her dress! The Gelato dress makes a great tween dress!

  5. Cindy Cooksey

    Oh, that’s adorable! It looks great on her.

  6. I adore this and she looks so lovely in it. I have a tween daughter so defintely going to go through my patterns to see what can be worked on:-) Thank you for the great idea.

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