I considered a lot of tutorials and patterns before settling on the Super Twirly Tiered Dress pattern by Brynnberlee. I knew I wanted more than three tiers and I wanted a somewhat fitted bodice (as opposed to a pillowcase-type bodice) without a zipper or buttons. Picky, picky! I had a lot of trouble finding the perfect tutorial in the right sizes without having to do too much math. When I realized I had four tabs open on my computer for four different tutorials that I would need to combine, I realized it was time to buy a pattern.
The Super Twirly Tiered Dress pattern really only has a pattern for the bodice (which is what I needed) and calucations for all the layers. It is a detailed tutorial with pictures and clear instructions with a final look that is exactly what I wanted. The dress is time-consuming to put together, though, because of the gathering of all those tiers! But, guess what? My sewing machine manual has instructions for a gathering stitch that gathers the fabric for you. What? You mean I didn't know that before? You mean I always gathered by hand?!? Well, I have a rather old, basic machine. I didn't think that changing the tension would create gathers. It really made putting these tiers together much easier!
I also had to learn how to make a buttonhole for the straps to go through the back. It was high time I learned. It was only kind of scary. And I sure am glad you can't see it due to the straps!
I made the straps waaaaayyyy longer than the instructions call for, because I wanted to duplicate the bow on the back of the pillowcase dress. But, I made them way too long. So I'll be shortening those a bit so I can make a pretty bow. Also, by making the straps so long (and heavy), they started to pull out of the bodice. I fixed that with some top stitching.
The bodice is a bit too big for her (and I knew it would be), but it's okay since I can pull the straps tight. I didn't want to lose length by making a smaller size and didn't want to do math with all those layers (!) This way, she can wear it longer, too!