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Simplicity 5118 & Clothing Tags


About a year ago I came across Simplicity 5118 on Beki’s blog, she made a precious version for her daughter’s birthday, and I had to give it a try. I made several dresses from the pattern for the girls last summer. It’s a very easy pattern and would be great for a beginner. No placket, no buttonholes, no sleeves to gather, no ties to make… it’s EASY PEASY! Seriously, I love this pattern… easy & CUTE.
I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use this go around:



The polka dot is from Hobby Lobby {I think, it’s been in my stash for a LONG time} and the owls are by Alexander Henry {I found it on etsy}.



When Morgan tried it on… all she wanted to do was dance!


I made one for both girls. I haven’t sewn in months and it felt so good to sit down and finish 2 dresses in a matter of hours!

Here are the changes I made to the pattern:
1- I cut 2 “backs” {1 for the front & 1 for the back} and rounded them to match the rounding on the “front”. The “front” of the dress pattern comes in 2 pieces and has an empire waist. I was looking for a solid front… that’s why I cut two backs, and the back is a little fuller than the front. That makes the front and the back the same… the only difference is the sleeve has a front & back so there is a front & back when you are done.
2- I cut about 4″ off the length of the back and added a 4″ piece of the contrasting fabric that I used on the sleeves
3- It only goes through a size 4 so I made Morgan’s {a 5} just a smidge bigger than a 4. 🙂

Oh… and I added tags because they make life easier for dads if when they dress the children.

Here’s a quick TAG TUTORIAL:
My machine {which I still LOVE} has an option to sew letters & numbers.


So I chose the #3 for size 3.


Then I placed a white ribbon under my foot with a piece of stabilizer under it. And stitched out a 3.



Then I trimmed the ribbon and folded it in half and basted the tag closed.



When I was closing up the casing in the neck of my dress I slipped the tag in.


If your machine doesn’t sew numbers or letters you could use a permanent fabric marker and just write the size on the tag.

Ok, off to bed. And I think I accidently posted this before I was finished… durn computers!

More on our week to follow…

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  • Ashley
    May 16, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I have GOT to learn how to sew, but college leaves NO TIME for it!! I absolutely love those dresses!! GREAT JOB 🙂

  • chickadee@afamiliarpath
    May 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    those are so cute! you make me want to sew.

  • the heller family
    May 16, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Very cute! What is the reason for change #1. Why two backs instead of the front the pattern calls for?

  • Joe and Karen
    May 17, 2009 at 12:11 am

    A-dorable! I didn’t know mommies still sewed for their children! I used to do that but mine are all grown up now. It took me back. Very sweet little dresses–and the tag: now that’s impressive.

  • Debra
    May 17, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Those are sweet little frocks for two sweet little girls. I love the tag idea- it’s almost enough to make me want to sew again… Very clever idea, especially good when handing-on to other deserving young ladies. Do you ever make and sell those nifty pen cases???

  • pve design
    May 17, 2009 at 3:57 am

    My daughter wants to sew a “halter” dress – she is 9 and I cannot wait to see her sew… I made my first dress in 3rd grade. I know your girls will learn to sew.
    You are a super MOM!

  • Erin
    May 17, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Ohhh D! Those are adorable! I would love to be handed down one of those when the girls are grown out of them…and if I were to have a girl, of course:) You did a great job! I LOVE the fabric!!
    XOXO Cous

  • erika
    May 17, 2009 at 8:29 am

    This makes me want 2 things:
    1. a sewing machine
    2. a 50mm lens

    Precious post, precious dress, precious photos.


  • blair
    May 17, 2009 at 8:30 am

    i love that you make your girls (and that cute lil’ boy) clothes. my mom used to do that for my sister and i growing up too, i even had her make my senior prom dress (way back when!)… they’ll always remember that about you!

  • Amy
    May 17, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I saw your post a while back about this same pattern and immediately ordered it online (it was hard to find!). But it WAS easy to sew and the results are adorable! I always look forward to reading new sewing posts on your blog. Keep up the fabulous job you do as a mother, wife, seamstress, photographer, chef…and continue to let us know about it via the blog! Thanks for all your great ideas!

  • Anonymous
    May 17, 2009 at 9:38 am

    You may have mentioned this before, but what brand is your sewing machine?
    Dresses are adorable, I want to make them.

  • Abby Maddox
    May 17, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I cannot WAIT to try this…As long as you promise it really is Easy Peasy 🙂 It certainly looks Cutsey Pootsy! Good to hear your voice last night. 10/4

  • Becky
    May 17, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Sweet little pattern. It’s funny how a small change makes such a difference. I don’t like the seam across the front and would probably have just passed over that pattern. Now I’m looking at it with new eyes. I’m keeping all your ideas for one-day grandmother sewing. I haven’t seen anything of yours I don’t like!

  • Hillary @ The Other Mama
    May 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I have got to learn how to sew! Thank goodness I don’t have girls or I would be so far out of the cute zone- or so far in debt!! haha!
    Love the dress and particularly the dance move! Too cute!!

  • Gray Matters
    May 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the great idea for tags – although with only one girl hopefully my husband can figure who belongs in the dress.

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    May 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    So cute! I think that’s a *bit* beyond my skill level, as I can really only do straight lines. 😉 Love the tag idea. I just have a simple Janome with no extra fancy stitches or options, but yours sure is cool! 🙂

  • Amy S. Norris
    May 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    okay, i have stalked you for a month or so now and i want to be your friend. 🙂 i think you are superwoman, and love your stuff!

    photog question – i have a nikon D40 SLR, and want to know how you do the pics like the one of your little girl in this blog when you blur out the back. i can do it with f-stop, but how can you do that when you have a child that is obviously in motion??? please help!
    either comment on my blog (if you have time) or email me – you can find me at https://amysnorris.blogspot.com or https://browniegoose.blogspot.com.

    thanks and keep it up from one of your newest stalkers!

  • Caroline
    May 17, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I might order that pattern but only if you promise that it is good for a beginner. I have never used a pattern or made anything. I just have a sewing machine that sticks its tongue out at me every time I see it in the closet. lol I love the little style of dress.

  • Miranda
    May 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I am So going to make these for my girls. LOVE your blog, and I linked to this post in my most recent post.

  • LeslieW.
    May 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Very Cute! I love it as usual.

  • simply seleta
    May 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I told Erika today that I had some gently used matching clothes for the girls [that mine had outgrown]. Now I’m certain that giving you those would be a complete insult. You are an amazing clothing designer, Darby!!!

  • nicole
    May 18, 2009 at 6:45 am

    i’ve been reading your blog for a while and love it! i used your tutorial to make the tiered skirts (here’s a link in case you’d like to see them 🙂


    and I used the hairbow tutorial too. thanks for such easy to follow instructions. just thought i’d say hello and i can’t wait to try these cute dresses! and i am always encouraged to read about your faith. we also are pca and it’s refreshing to see truth in blogland every now and then!

  • Amy Leigh
    May 18, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Love the owls, obviously. I am using taht fabric in a tee shiet quilt–finally doing something with the 100 tshirts I ended up with in college! That pattern is too cute, I am going to have to search high and low for it right now!


    May 18, 2009 at 9:21 am

    You are just TOO smart, Darby! I love the dresses….just darling!

  • Ole Miss Mom
    May 18, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Do you use that machine as a serger too???

  • Jessica Ranjbari
    May 18, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I’ve been wanting that AH owl fabric (in all 3 colorways) for so long and I just might have to break down and buy it…. those dresses are too cute! I can’t wait to make matching dresses for my girls 🙂 Glad to know it’s an easy pattern – I have too many things I’ve left half finished because they were taking too long…

  • beki
    May 18, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Those dresses are precious! I need to pull that pattern out again.

  • Kasey Hunt
    May 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t sew but my Mother in law does. Thanks for this step by step. The dresses are adorable. Your little girl looks so cute in it.

  • Margaret
    May 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I can’t believe all that you fit in with young ones! My girls are 7,5 and 2 and I feel accomplished when I exercise, make dinner, and take a shower in one day! You are amazing. Love the blog.

  • Jade
    May 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    such a cute little dress. and since you said easy, i’ll give it a try! 🙂

  • Tiffany
    May 19, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Oh, those dresses are absolutely adorable, LOVE them! I am going to have to get my Mom to make something like it for my little girl! Thanks for sharing! : )

  • Ole Miss Mom
    May 21, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Can you post a pic of the pattern pieces!? This pattern is NO WHERE to be found and I would love to make these for my girls. I know I could figure out how to put it together since I change up patterns all the time…but seeing the pieces would be SUPER helpful!

  • The Popes
    May 26, 2009 at 4:47 am

    I have never sewn from a pattern, is it very hard to read? And where do you learn to read them!?!?!

    Have you ever taken a sewing class? I am always just winging it!

  • Molly
    May 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’m a young mother of two girls, a sewer and a bargain hunter. 🙂 Recently. I came across this adorable FREE purse pattern (the buttercup pattern) on this site: madebyrae.blogspot.com

    I’ve made 5 of these purses already so that I can give them away as gifts.

    p.s. I used home decor weight fabric.

  • Pink Wallpaper
    May 28, 2009 at 10:12 am

    OMG, those are so cute…i must learn how to sew.

  • No.35style
    June 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    that owl fabric is darling..you are so talented!

  • Nancy
    June 6, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Any chance anyone can tell me where to get that cute Simplicity 5118 pattern? It's out of print so nobody seems to have it? Anyone want to get rid of theirs? Just asking….thanks so much!

  • Whitney
    June 11, 2009 at 6:07 am

    I found this pattern before at Walmart – they have patterns, but they don't move out as quickly. I"m going to get it there.

  • wendy
    May 30, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Does anyone know where I can locate this pattern. I’ve looked all over and can’t seem to find it…thanks.

  • Rene Garner
    June 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I have been searching and searching for this pattern. I can’t find it anywhere, so I started looking for something similar somewhat like a replacement for 5118. I found Simplicity 2377. D, E and F on the pattern are very, very similar if you make the dress without the “layers” and bow.

  • Dee Dee
    August 15, 2010 at 12:17 am

    My Grandmother’s machine set in front of the window, and I set in the window seat. I watched every stitch, that was 52 years ago. Creating through the years has been one of my best friends. Enjoy and pass it on!