One of the primary lesson I've learned in sewing is - shocker - to always start with a pattern. (Before all you experienced seamstresses start laughing at me, some people can sew perfectly well by estimating and eyeballing, but for me that just ends up with a lot of wasted time and fabric.) For this dress I made my own bodice pattern based on a Trio for Blythe tutorial, and adapted the skirt pattern from the free MHD sun dress pattern. Here's a look at my desk in the middle of this process.
Below, the separate parts of the dress are sewn together, preferably with the skirt and bodice seams lined up. I only realized after I'd constructed most of the dress that my seams were a little off, and as befits a lazy sewing newbie, decided to just leave it be and try to cover it with embroidery. Don't make my mistake!
To decorate, embroider whatever patterns you like on the dress. I drew heavily from the floral designs on the Trio bodices, and also did it all freehand (see "lazy sewing newbie", above). This is the most fun part, in my opinion, so really go wild with designs and embellishments. I added some Czech glass beads for sparkle, but it's all up to you.
Don't forget to try it on your doll every so often to make sure that it fits properly.
Sew up the back up to an inch below the bottom of the bodice, and then close it however you like - with buttons, snaps, eyelets, Velcro. You can even get really fancy and make little thread loops on the back of the bodice to thread ribbon through. While that method looks really nice, it's too complicated for me so I just went with the eyelets (though I tried snaps and those worked well too).
|Thread loops. This dress is, once again, by Trio.|