First Communion Dress From the Building Block Dress Book Bodice

First Communion Dress made with Building Block Dress Book

Her special day was a lovely one. It was sunny and a bit windy as we met her classmates at the church to receive their first time taking the sacrament of Holy Communion. The children were so cute and it was a happy day! Her best friend came and we went to the beach afterwards. Before we left, I snapped some photos of the dress I made her.First Communion Dress made with Building Block Dress BookFirst Communion Dress made with Building Block Dress BookFirst Communion Dress made with Building Block Dress Bookside2

The dress is made from Alencon lace on the bodice, and the under bodice, sash, and overskirt are made from silk taffeta. The skirt was made from upcycling a thrifted dress I bought for two dollars, saving money and time! The skirt was too long, so I shortened it from the top before regathering to fit the bodice. That way I wouldn’t need to bother hemming the bottom.

Gigi was very specific about what she wanted in her dress. She wanted a big skirt with an overskirt that opens in front, a lace bodice, a big sash and some rhinestones somewhere on it. My job was to deliver those things to her while trying to keep the dress from looking too gaudy! I added the rhinestones to the sash at the last minute. I used leftover fabrics on the dress where I could. Like to line the overskirt. the total cost for the dress was about eighty dollars, not including the book which i had already bought last year. Not bad, for a silk dress!


I started off with the bodice from the Building Block Dress book by Liesl Gibson. I added the darts from her Fairytale Dress pattern to give it more shaping. Because of the good drafting of the sleeve, armhole and bodice, I didn’t really need to make any major adjustments. Pattern drafting and fitting have often taken up a a lot of my fancy dress making time in the past. It took four muslins to get a good fitting corset and bodice for Rosario’s dress last year. The over skirt was cut  from selvedge to selvedge then curved the front and cut it in half for a back seam.

This was actually a pretty quick sew, compared to the other special occasion dresses I’ve made. I started on Tuesday and was done by Friday. Granted, I sew a lot faster than I used to. Also, I skipped the dress lining. While it looks pretty rough on the inside, if we ever use it again for a granddaughter in the future, it will be easier to alter. Good excuse!


Friday, I shared a tutorial for how I went about making the bodice look like it has a strapless bustier underneath. It’s a simple technique.  I had the hardest time visualizing in my head how it was done. Then I saw a ready to wear girls dress with a similar design, and looked inside to learn how it was done. You can read my tutorial here.frontform,

I would highly recommend The Building Block Dress book to those wanting to learn more about pattern drafting. I have Metric Pattern Cutting for children by Aldrich, another child’s drafting book. That book is also excellent, and goes into more detail about pattern drafting. But I like the idea starting off with a basic block dress already drafted in Lisle Gibson’s book , so I don’t have to make the sloper from scratch.

I’ve been impressed with the instructions and patterns since I started trying out Liesl’s patterns. It’s evident she’s a professional with a solid construction background. In the few short months I’ve been using these patterns, my sewing of things I thought I already knew how to make has improved. In short, I’ve learned better techniques from her. Like, my bias bound neckline on this dress is the best one I’ve ever made!

Well, I may be taking a bit of time off as I have made promises to finally finish my living room curtains. See you back here soon!

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  1. says

    Your daughter looks lovely Justine! What a gorgeous dress you have made her. Having mothers who sew, our girls are growing up with a wonderful fashion sense. I know I never gave details of my clothing any thought when I was their age, but my girls certainly have no problem being specific with my sewing. LOL Now only if they knew how good they have it having their own personal seamstress!

    • says

      I know. I had no idea about clothes nor did I care. I was a total tomboy and wouldn’t wear a skirt until third or fourth grade!

  2. cat golden says

    AHHH, she looks so adorable! I would give anything to go back to those days. Rhinestones it is! BEAUTIFUL DRESS!!!!!! XXOO Cat

  3. Dagmar says

    Really lovely. I love the touch of rhinestone peeping through – it really speaks to her wish for something fancy and your flexibility as a mother!

  4. Sandy Osborne says

    Gigi could not look any more precious! You did an amazing job on the dress. And thanks for all the info.

  5. Belinda says

    This dress is amazing. I hope you’ll have a wonderful time sewing your girls’ wedding dresses when the time comes. They are SO blessed to have you!

    I have been wanting to send you a photo of the drapes that I made that you inspired me to create. Is there an email address where I can send it? (No spamming – I promise!)

  6. says

    This is such an gorgeous dress! It’s perfect for first communion. It’s true, they are blessed to have you!

  7. Vernagrace says

    So beautiful! I loved that my Mom made my clothes, right in to high school, and this sweet little lady is so fortunate to have a sewing Mom, too!