Sunday, July 18, 2010

Easy Child's Dress Tutorial

I made this adorable dress for Lucy the other day during nap time.  She loves it and asks to wear it all the time.  We found some fabric at Joann's that was already smocked at the top and just did one seam up the back to make the dress.  Julia wanted one too, so I made a tutorial while I did hers.  

We found her fabric on clearance at Hobby Lobby for just $4.  Field's Fabric also had some in various lengths.  I used one yard for each dress - just wrap it around your little one to see how much you need.  If you plan to use fabric for the straps, you'll need 8 inches extra.  A thick ribbon can also be used for straps.

Just to clarify, for this tutorial, the words refer to the picture above.

You'll need your little model nearby while you sew.  Wrap the fabric around her and loosely measure where your seam needs to be.  I made Lucy's dress a little bit big so that she'll have room to grow.  Fold the fabric over on top of itself with the right sides together.  Sew one seam down the full length of the dress. When you get past the smocked part, your seam will jog over to the right just a bit because of the extra gathered fabric.  Hold the bottom edges evenly together to help you sew an straight seam.

Cut just to the side of your seam.  (You can also cut the fabric first and then sew, I just found it to be easier this way.)  

Go back over your seam with a zigzag stitch on the edge to prevent fraying.  
Now you'll make the straps:

Take your extra fabric piece and cut the smocking off.  Iron this flat, and then cut two 4 inch strips.  This will make 1 inch wide straps.

Fold one strip in half and iron it flat.

Open it back up.  Take the bottom edge and fold it up to the middle.  Iron.

Take the top edge and fold it in toward the middle as well.  Iron.  Fold the strap in half again, the raw edges will be tucked inside.

Sew down one edge, across the end, and back up the other side.  When you get to the end, fold it up and catch it in your seam.  The other end of the strap still has a raw edge.  Repeat the above steps so that you have two straps.  

Try the dress on your little one again and pin the straps where you like them.  Be sure you have the seam of the dress in the back.  I placed the straps so that they angle out just a bit.

You'll have to convince your model to hold still while you adjust the straps.  Good luck with that.  ;)

Sew each strap on.

I left the straps long so that I can adjust the dress next year.  Tuck the extra under and sew another quick seam just through the strap to hold it together.  

I used the full length of the fabric, so there was no need to hem.

There you have it!  Let me know if you have any questions.  I'd love to see pictures if you make one.


  1. I made one of these a few years ago for Emma. Unfortunately, she's REALLY tall now, so the kids' fabric won't work, BUT it would make a cute top!!:) Great job!

  2. Thanks Siouxsan! They had the fabric in all different lengths, I'm sure you'd be able to find some to fit her. :)

  3. This is adorable AND easy enough for me as a beginner to think I can attempt it! Thanks for sharing, my "model" and I will be off to find this fabric! :)

  4. Looks great, Christy! My daughter also loves the smocked dresses I've made her. Nice and comfy for those hot summer days.

  5. Nice work! I'm going to try this next.

  6. Oh, that is so cute! I want to make one for Elsie.

  7. Such cute models and I love that you showed when your model was not being her professional self! These are so cute. So easy too.

  8. Those turned out so cute, Kristie! I really need to check Hobby Lobby for material. I have never looked there before!

  9. And I just spelled your name wrong! Sorry! LOL

  10. Super cute!! I may try this out for Beans.

  11. Too cute!!! Now if only I had a girl...:)

  12. April, I love Hobby Lobby's fabric! They get the best designs in!

  13. I bought this same fabric on sale at Hobby Lobby & am going to make a dress for my daughter. She has enough dresses for this summer, so I'm saving it for next year. Thanks for the simple way to make straps!

  14. I used the same fabric to make a beach cover up for my honeymoon. I never got around to putting straps on, but it was still cute! :)