I didn't want an overly Valentine-ish fabric, and I had a cardigan in mind for her to wear with it, so this purple fabric with metallic silver dots was an easy choice. Since E's chest measurement is between a 3 and a 4, but she's closer to a 5 for length, I cut a 4 for the bodice and added 1/4" to the bottom, and used the size 5 skirt dimensions.
The bodice construction was new to me. It's fully lined and all done by machine. Since I hate hand-sewing, I was all for that, but there were definitely some fiddly bits. I especially had problems getting the 1/2" seam allowance of the upper armhole turned in nicely, since it's along a curve. After fighting with the front bodice, I decided to do the back bodice differently and basted that part, clipped and ironed the seam allowances, and then took out the basting stitches. That went much better. Next time I'd also try opening out the seam allowances when sewing the shoulders together, pressing the shoulder seam open, re-pressing the seam allowances in, and then continuing as instructed. It seems like it would be a cleaner finish, unless I'm missing something that would prevent that from working. Those minor points aside, I love the tidy lining.
I also used my new favorite method for gathering the skirt. I wish I had thought of it myself! It makes for such even gathers. I still need to pick out the bottom line of basting, though. I ran out of time last night, but I don't think anyone noticed at school today!
The thread button loop was new to me also. I'm not sure I'd do it that way again -- at least when I'm sewing under the wire, which is pretty much always -- but once I got the hang of it, I liked it. It's a nice detail.
E usually doesn't show much interest in her clothes. She doesn't talk, so she's not as opinionated about her sartorial choices as some other five-year-olds I know. When I showed her this dress, though, her face absolutely lit up.
A sleeveless dress with a back cut-out isn't exactly seasonally appropriate, so she's layering with this adorable little sweater she got for Christmas. She's also wearing her pantalets underneath, since she loves to show off her flexibility by pulling her feel over her head!