The Very Merry Communion gown…

First Holy Communion Dress 2016 003 WM
See that nice wide hem at the bottom? Yup. That’s where I got my bodice and sleeves! Thanks, Grandma!


Welcome back!

Today, I am going to talk about the pattern I chose to make my daughter’s First Holy Communion and Confirmation gown.

Last summer, I decided that I would make my daughter’s First Communion gown out of my mother’s wedding gown that was handmade by my grandmother.

I am going to be honest. I was tempted to purchase one. I could not figure out what I was going to do with the particular style of my mother’s dress.

I found many gorgeous First Communion gowns online but this is why I didn’t purchase one.

  1. I wanted it to be be modest. Our church requires sleeves and I didn’t want to buy a sleeveless gown and cover it with a sweater.
  2. I wanted it to fit well. We are now needing to buy size 10 or 12 to ensure adequate length in store bought clothes. The clothes end up not being flattering because there is far too much ease, and if I size down, the hem falls at odd places or it is tight in the shoulders.
  3. I wanted it to be well-made. I am a budget shopper, and I knew that an heirloom quality gown would be well over my budget.
  4. I wanted it to be comfortable for my daughters. My oldest daughter especially struggles with rough edging and scratchy lace. I didn’t want her to be grimacing throughout her special day, or be eager to take the dress off.
  5. Return policies. We live in a rural area. We would have to drive a distance for a small selection of communion gowns. Ordering online is also challenging because many stores have no return policies (or only allow you to order and exchange one size at a time). This would have been very difficult because my daughters are all over the place on the size chart!


So I started searching for the perfect pattern. While I no longer use printed paper patterns often, I checked out the Look Books from the Big Four as I hadn’t seen many formal styles that caught my eye lately in my sewing newsfeed. The Big Four formal patterns I found either seemed far too-challenging, or had potential fit issues. I knew that if I was going to brave enough to do this, I had to find a pattern by a designer I trusted (and of course, make a muslin!).

have been addicted to mainly go to Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop when I am looking for a new pattern. I sewed my first PAB pattern about four years ago, and then did not sew very frequently until June 2014. I had a newborn baby and I could not keep her mitts on to keep her from scratching her face! I found the Lullaby Line Hat and Mitts and, well, the rest is history.

I had seen the Primrose Dress when it released and it finally hit me. The construction complemented the lace panels original to my mother’s dress!

See where I got the inspiration from? So, when I purchased the Primrose pattern, I knew I needed to make one to check fit and see if I liked it! I know this is not a full view of the dress, but I love how Middle Miss’ Birthday Dress turned out! I was able to showcase the “Happy Birthday!” Anna and Elsa Print right in the center of the panel.

I made the dress (and even got a ribbon for it at our county fair) and loved it. I cut out a second one in my oldest daughter’s size as a muslin and left it in my UFO pile to sew closer to the big date (in case there was a growth spurt).

About two months after I settled on the Primrose by PAB Pattern, there was a call for testers for a formal holiday dress with casual options. With three girls, dress patterns always catch my eye in testing calls, and this one was an elegant elbow-length sleeved number.

I was lucky enough to be chosen to test my eldest daughter’s size in the Very Merry Party Dress pattern. I made her the dressy variation in taffeta. Once I saw the perfect fit, and the elegant scooped back, I knew this would be the pattern I used for her First Communion gown.

I tested this dress at the end of October. I did not want to start sewing yet because kids grow quickly, and I wanted a great fit. But now that I knew what I was planning, I was able to start trying to mash the vision I had for her dress based on the Very Merry with the dress on the dress form.

I am almost done with the dress, but here is a transformation progress picture… Next week I will share some of the specific details of my sewing project including some trial and error, as well as a few tips for trying to make a gown out of a vintage or heirloom piece!


Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. All of my honest opinions, reviews, and photos are my own!




5 thoughts on “The Very Merry Communion gown…

  1. Beautiful! I remember my First Communion (almost 40 years ago!). I had a borrowed dress – my friend attended the Catholic school and had hers one week before my CCD class had ours! And my veil was borrowed from another friend. Talk about economizing!


    1. Felicia, that is a lovely story! I loaned my wedding veil (a simple economical choice from the Garment District in L.A.) to another bride about 3 months after my wedding. It felt really good to share and definitely economical. I looked at some bridal veils for more variety and inspiration and I had forgotten how expensive they are!


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