Friday, June 18, 2010

Simple Little Lady Dress

I've intended to post this tutorial for quite some time. I had a bout half a yard of fabric that I just couldn't decide what to do with it.  My little lady loves purple, and I loved the fabric.  So the easiest dress ever was created for her.  Have some extra fabric laying around?  This is a great way to use it.  I've made several variations of this dress.  I love the dress with a contrasting panel on the bottom.  You can use ribbon for the straps to simplify the dress even more.

Here's what you will need:

  • a measurement of the recipient (for the proper length)

  • enough fabric to achieve this length with the addition of seam allowances (extra 3-4 inches)

  • any type of desired embellishments (for a contrasting panel. fabric straps or ribbon straps)

  • 1" elastic

  • thread, scissors, ruler, rotary cutter and mat (not required, but they sure are nice to have!)

To begin determine the length that you want your dress to be add 3-4 inches and this will be your length.  For the width, fold your fabric in half, bringing your selvage edges together.  Press that folded edge that you've created and then use it to make a straight cut.  You should now have two pieces of fabric.  For most pieces of standard 44" wide cotton you should have two 22" by your desired length pieces.  This will be your two main panels.

For the straps, determine how long you want them to be.  I made my straps 9" long.  So either cut two pieces of ribbon to 9" or make your own out of fabric.  If you want to make your own, start with a 3"  by your length, but for convenience I'm going to say 9" .  Take your 3" by 9" strip and fold in half, right sides together, matching the long edges. Press.  Sew a 1/4" seam, back stitching at the beginning and end. Press seam open, turn right side out.   Center the seam and press.  You can also top stitch the edges if you want.  Now your straps are done.For the main part:

Place right sides together.  Pin and sew the length of the side seams, using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press seam.

Now, you want to make the elastic casing.

Fold edge over 1/2" ; press edge.  Fold pressed edge over 2";press again.  This will create the casing, pin to hold in place.  Sew 1/2" from the top all the way around.  Next sew as close to the bottom folded edge that you created, making sure that you will have a casing large enough to hold your 1" elastic.  Leave a 2" opening; feed your elastic through.  Sew the ends of your elastic together, I usually overlap the edges and make several zig zag stitches to ensure that it's going to hold!  Sew your opening closed.

Sew your straps about 5.5 " from the edges.  You'll have to stretch your fabric out to measure this, pin and sew right above your elastic casing.  Make sure to back stitch to reinforce the straps.

To finish fold the bottom edge over 1/4"; press.  Fold over 3/4-1" , press.  Pin and sew all the way around.  You are finished!!

Now, if you wanted to do a contrasting panel at the bottom, simple determine how long you want it and sew it on to each panel at the beginning.


  1. Beautiful! I was just going through your blog site last night thinking I wanted to try to make one of these for Grace. Now I know how! Thanks! Is that Miss Clara as one of your models?

  2. SO CUTE! I was planning to make pillowcase dresses for my girls for 4th of July- I may have to switch to this tutorial! THANK YOU!

  3. Thanks. I hope the instructions are pretty easy to follow. If you have any questions let me know!!

  4. This is the cutest little dress I've gotten out my stash and I'm making up several for my great neice. It's a fun dress to do.

  5. I'm so glad you like it! It is an easy dress, and makes you want to sew lots of them!!

  6. [...] July 1, 2010 in Uncategorized One of my dear friends came over a couple of days ago to make the little lady dress. [...]

  7. Too cute and sew simple! Can't wait to make some!

  8. Make sure to send pictures!!

  9. I loved making this dress! I made a small alternation, but love it so much!

    I made thee dresses (two in pink, one for my daughter (19 months) and one for a friend's niece, 4 years old and a red one for my daughter as well)
    I know for sure there will be lots and lots so simple lady dresses!!!

    You can see my dresses on my blog:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!!

  10. So cute! I love the two rows of elastic, very fun detail!