Pretty Pearl, Easier to Sew than Ever

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What’s that saying, ‘no grit, no pearl’? It means you have to go through some tough stuff to get a beautiful jewel. Admittedly, the button bib on our Pearl dress pattern provided a little bit of that tough stuff! Buttonholers tend to get hung up on the seams, making this step more difficult than it has to be. Also, the front opening means ‘arms up’ or ‘bottom up’ dressing, which is a challenge with little ones! So let’s take a look at a simple change that makes Pearl easier to sew and wear without any of that grit!

If you bought Pearl in the last 3 years, your pattern is updated in your account. If you bought before then, you can download a PDF of this tutorial here: TDD Button Back Pearl or read on!

The one simple change: add a button back and skip those buttons in the front!

First, add 1” to the width of the Back piece and cut 2 Main and 2 Liner instead of 1 each on fold.

Make the sashes and bib as usual and set aside.

 Sewing the bodice is exactly the same process as before, it just looks different because the back is now 2 pieces. Lay each main fabric bodice front right sides together with a main fabric bodice back and sew the shoulder seams. Repeat this step to join the bodice front liner and back liner and press all seams open.

Lay each bodice front/back and bodice liner front/back with right sides together, matching raw edges. Sew from front lower edge, around the neckline, to the lower edge of back bodice. 

Clip corners, turn right side out and press well. Topstitch the seam.

Pin the bib in place aligning the notches to the bib seam as before. Topstitch around the sides and top of the bib, securing it to the front bodices as you go.

Make the sleeves, finish the bodice, add the hem band per the pattern. Before the last step of joining skirt and bodice, create a placket in the skirt. You can use your favorite method, the ‘usual TDD’ continuous lap placket or try this wide, flat version, which uses exactly the same method but is al little differently proportioned:

Locate the center back of your skirt. Mark a line 3” long. Staystitch all the way around it just 1/8” from the line.  Carefully cut down the length of the line. Open the slit into a straight line.  

Cut a placket strip 6-1/2” x 3-3/8”. Lay the open slit against the placket strip with right sides together. Your placket piece will be just a bit longer. Pin well and then stitch the placket strip to the skirt 1/8” from the raw edge, right over the existing stitches. Go slow and sweep open the pleats with your fingers so that you don’t stitch creases into the seam. We’ve got a video for this at

Press the placket strip up toward the seam and also press the long edge under 1”. Fold and press again so the folded edge just covers the stitching line. From right side of the garment, edgestitch on the placket, catching the folded edge on the other side. 

Fold the skirt with right sides together so the placket is folded flat as shown below. Sew an angled line of stitching through the placket from the bottom to the folded edge.

Last, from the right side of the skirt, turn the left-hand side of the placket to the wrong side of the skirt fabric and baste into place. Trim any extra placket sticking up at the top. 

Gather skirts, join to bodice, sewing the seam through all 3 layers and finishing the seam. 

Gather skirts evenly. Sew the seam through all 3 layers and finish the seam. Topstitch.

Sew buttonholes or set snaps on the left back bodice: top buttonhole ½” from the top edge and beginning 3/8” from the inside edge; bottom buttonhole ½” from the waist seam and beginning 3/8” from the inside edge. Snaps go caps on outside, socket or stud on inside. 

Overlap bodices by 1” and sew the buttons/set snaps on the right bodice, with the center of the button/snap ½” from the folded edge. Snaps go caps on inside, socket or stud on outside.

Place one or two additional buttonholes/snaps evenly between the first two.

Enjoy your lovely Pearl!

The Pearl PDF dress pattern for girls includes sizes 12 months to 10 years and is available on our website.