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The Little Dreamer: Sew Along with ALD

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Today marks one week since The Little Dreamer released: what a better way to celebrate than to have a sew along! The Little Dreamer is a such a fun a quick sew and already a fast favorite in this house, with all the kids asking for more. The pattern has an incredible size range from 3-32, top and dress options, scoop or v-neck necklines, and 4 sleeve finishes.

If you want to have a little extra fun with this sew along take a look at all the amazing hacks and mashes on the blog for The Little Dreamer and The Dream Tee (here) as well. Because these patterns are so very similar the hacks can easily be used for both.

If you do not have a little dreamer to sew for, that's fine too! You can still join in this week and sew up The Dream Tee instead! Or you can sew matching or coordinating tops/dresses, which is always fun.

Throughout the week I will be updating this blog and posting in both the main ALD Facebook group and the event, I hope you'll join in! As always, you have all week to catch up or sew ahead if you need. Just remember to post your progress in the daily posts and if you sew with ALD fabrics make sure to share on the main wall on share day to get entered into the quarterly SAL drawing. If at any time you have questions or comments please don't hesitate to reach out in either the event or the group, on the wall or within the posts. We are here to help make your sew successful!

Both The Little Dreamer and Dream Tee look amazing in a wide variety of fabrics Kendal did a blog post showing The Dream Tee with 12 different bases if you would like to see a comparison. I have personally sewn both patterns in a variety of fabrics myself, but I haven't made it to 12 yet: it is so versatile and looks great in all the knit bases. The patterns require a knit with at least 20% stretch.

Here is our schedule for the week:

Day 1 (2/1): Pattern or Projector Prep

Day 2 (2/2): Cut Fabric

Day 3 (2/3): Shoulder Seams and Neckband

Day 4 (2/4): Side Seams - optional pocket hack

Day 5 (2/5): Hem

Day 6 (2/6): Catch Up

Day 7 (2/7): Share!

Let's Get Started!

Day 1: Pattern Prep

Welcome to Day 1 of The Little Dreamer #SALwithALD. Today is all about getting ready. Measure the person you're sewing for to determine what size(s) you will need to print or project. If they fall between sizes that is ok! Both The Little Dreamer and Dream Tee are easy to grade. I always start with the bust measurement when grading, as I come out of the bottom of the sleeve I gently blend up or down as needed through the waist and hips. If I need to grade the hips I start at about the lengthen/shorten line . It is important to remember that sizing up will result in a looser fit and sizing down will be more fitted.

Once you have your size(s) picked out and know what options you want to sew: open the pattern in Adobe Reader and turn off the size layers that you don't need. If printing there is a print guide on page 7 of the tutorial so that you can print only the pages you needed. Make sure to print and check the test square first catch any print sizing errors right away. Assemble your pattern using the guide on page 8 of the tutorial and grade if needed before cutting out your pattern.

If you're using a projector you're good to go until tomorrow (but remember to double check your zoom and test square before cutting too). If you need to grade and are uncomfortable with doing that visually as you cut Inkscape is a free vector software that can be used to manipulate patterns. The group Projectors for Sewing is a great place to get help with the technical side of manipulating patterns for projecting and projectors themselves.

Now all that you need to do before we start cutting tomorrow is pick out your fabric! For mine I will be sewing a v-neck dress with the long, cuffed sleeves and I'll be using my projector to cut and using Arlington DBP. Don't forget to share your progress on the daily post!

Day 2: Cutting

Welcome to Day 2! Today we will be cutting our fabric. Remember that if you are using any of the amazing hacks to cut the extra pieces and make necessary pattern adjustments before getting started. Take note of the grain lines on your pattern pieces and when folding your fabric for any cut on the fold pieces: both front and back bodice pieces and the neckbands are cut on the fold with the grain line running parallel to the fold. If doing the cuffed long sleeve version the grain runs perpendicular to the fold (see the image below). This will reduce or eliminate twisting or shifting of the garment when being worn: this is more noticeable on clothing that is more fitted.

If you are using paper patterns lay your pattern pieces down and cut out your fabric using your preferred method.

Projector user make sure to double check your test squares before cutting! (Seriously, I just made this mistake on a different pattern, my zoom reset and I ended up with a waistband that was 9" short.)

When doing the long cuffed sleeve option with a paper pattern you can either fold the extra length up or carefully place the pattern piece with the line over the fold. It will look similar to how I am projecting on the image to the left.

When using fabrics that are more difficult to easily tell the right from wrong side of the fabric I like to mark the pieces as I'm cutting. This time I used a little piece of masking tape on the right sides of each piece. I will also use chalk or washable marker, depending on what I can find or the fabric I'm working with.

Don't forget to share your progress in the daily entry thread if you're sewing along!

Day 3: Shoulder Seams and Neckband

Welcome to day 3! Today we get to start sewing our Little Dreamers.

You will need a sewing machine for a few steps of the v-neck option. Otherwise construction of The Little Dreamer can be completed with either a sewing machine using s stretch stitch or serger. The seam allowance is 1/4”, except for joining the ends of the v-neckband.

With right sides together sew your shoulder seams together. If you are doing the hemmed long sleeve version you can also sew your sleeve piece on at this time too. Mark the center of the sleeve then with right sides together pin or clip sleeve in place, matching the center to the shoulder seam.

Scoop Neck

Sew the short ends of the neckband together, right sides together. Fold your neckband in half along the length, wrong sides together. Mark the quarter points of both the neckband and neck opening. Pin or clip neckband in place right sides together, matching quarter points. Serge or sew in place. Press neckband up and topstitch if desired.


The V-Neck is a little trickier, but after you’ve done it a couple times it’s so easy. Make a mark about 1.5” from the point on each side of the V (shown in the picture above) and using your sewing machine and a regular straight stitch sew a line of stay stitching between your markings. I like to sew just shy of the 1/4” seam allowance. The stay stitching helps to stabilize the V while attaching the neckband, which will give a much cleaner finish. Clip the point of the V, just to the stitches.

With right sides together, sew the ends of the neckband together using a 1/2” seam allowance Triple Stitch or narrow stretch stitch on your sewing machine. Clip the point of the V, just up to your stitches. Because it can be difficult to see the markings on my sewing machine for maintaining the correct seam allowance I like to use masking tape to mark the correct distance from my needle.

Press open the seam allowance and fold your neckband, along the length, wrong sides together. I find that pressing the V again helps when attaching my neckband. Sew a line of stay stitching 1.5” on either side of the point, like you did for the bodice (as you get more comfortable sewing v-necks this step can be eliminated if you wish). I like to find my quarter points of the neckband and bodice at this time instead of after basting the point of the neckband.

With your sewing machine and a regular straight stitch baste the neckband to the bodice, right sides together, at a 1/4” seam allowance 1.5” on either side of the point. When you get to the point, with the needle down, lift your presser foot and rotate your project, put your presser foot down and finish basting: this will give you a crisp point. Check the neckband before proceeding. If you’re not happy with how it looks remove your basting stitches and try again. As you can see in the picture below the bodice slipped when I was basting mine the first time.

Once you’re happy with your V find your quarter points if you haven’t, pin or clip your neckband in place, and serger or sew around, starting at the point. Trim the point of the neckband first if desired, or if using a serger you can cut them off as as you go. After attaching the neckband you can pull your stay and basting stitches if you want.

Press the neckband up and topstitch if desired. I used a coverstitch machine to topstitch my neckband so I started at the point, like you do when attaching the neckband. This helps eliminate skipped stitches on the tight turn of the V.

Share your progress in the daily entry thread if you’re sewing along!

Day 4: Side Seams and Optional Pocket Hack

Welcome to day 4 of The Little Dreamer sew along! Today we are sewing the side seams.

If you are doing the hemmed long sleeve version and have not sewn your sleeve piece on do that first. Find the middle of the sleeve piece and align that with the shoulder seam. Pin or clip in place, then sew or serge the sleeve on. Press and topstitch if desired. If you are adding pockets, do so now. Carol wrote a detailed blog post on how to add a fun pocket detail. Now we’re ready to sew the side seams! Pin or clip both side seams, right sides together, and sew or serge.

If you are doing the cuffed sleeve option you can do that today, or tomorrow: the decision is yours. I’ll go over them right now for you.

Open up your sleeve pieces and fold together along the long side, right sides together: sew or serge the long seam. Open up the sleeve and carefully fold one end down, wrong sides together to create a tube and enclose the sewn seam. Find the quarter points of the shoulder and sleeve cuff (smaller sizes can probably get away with half-points).

With right sides together slide the cuff over the shoulder and match up quarter points, placing the cuff seam at the side seam. Sew or serge, gently easing the pieces together, if needed. Pull the cuff down and press. Alternatively, you can turn your Little Dreamer inside out, slide the cuff inside the sleeve opening, and sew with the presser foot inside your garment. You can topstitch the top of the cuff if desired, but you may need to roll the sleeve up to make it easier to get under your presser foot. Turning the garment inside out and stitching from the inside (like I did for attaching the cuff) usually helps as well, especially with smaller sizes.

Don’t forget to share your progress in the daily thread to get your entry in!

Day 5: Hemming

Welcome to day 5, hemming day! Today we finish up our Little Dreamers.

If you are doing the cuffed long sleeve version and have not added your cuffs yet, do so now. For all other sleeve options: turn the edge 1/2" under, pin or clip in place, and topstitch using a stretch stitch.

Turn the bottom edge of your top or dress 1/2", pin or clip in place, and topstitch using a stretch stitch. A quick way to hem without a ruler is to run a basting stitch around at the hem allowance, use the stitches as a guide turn your hem under and topstitch. In the top picture of the collage below the black threads are on the wrong side, the white are on the right side. I like to cut the stitches on the wrong side so that they don't get sewn in during hemming, making it easier to remove. The basting stitches should be at the edge as you sew around. When you're done you can pull the basting stitches out and you're done! I used a coverstitch machine to hem dress, but they are not necessary. A decorative stretch stitch, a zigzag, multiple rows of Triple Stitch, or a twin needle are all great options.

Don't forget to share your completed Little Dreamer in the daily entry thread! Tomorrow is a catch up day, so if you're behind or want to jump in there's still time! Sunday, February 7th is share day. We'll show off all our great sews to the main group, if you sewed with ALD fabrics you will be entered into the quarterly drawing.

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