Totally Stitchin': Simple Summer Dress Tutorial

This dress can be made with measurements for baby to young child (like 6 years old or so)!

As my 3-year-old daughter, Olivia, only wants to wear dresses lately, I decided to whip a couple of dresses up for her benefit (and my benefit because of price (with coupons) and your benefit because I have another fun project tutorial)! This project will work for babies through young child (like I'd say even 6 or maybe 7 years'll just have to measure the length of the skirt and make sure you can get that in the circle skirt)! This dress involves a circle skirt and an elastic gathered bodice (somewhat like smocking). You just need some measurements to start. There may or may not be a lot of math to start's good for you, right?! :D

Totally Stitchin': Simple Summer Dress Tutorial

When you're done, please pretty please post a picture in our Totally Stitchin' Facebook page! I love to see what you do with this tutorial!!!

Totally Stitchin': Simple Summer Dress TutorialIMG_3006

  • Measurement A (shown below): About armpit level to the bottom of the sternum (this is how long you want the bodice to be)
  • Measurement B (shown below): From bottom of the sternum to the length that you would like the dress (this will be the length of the skirt)
  • Measurement C: Around-the-chest measurement
  • Measurement D: Around-the-waist (or belly) measurement

Illustration of the girl is from


SUPPLIES: To figure out how much fabric you'll need to buy, DOUBLE Measurement B plus DOUBLE the RADIUS OF WAIST MEASUREMENT (see step 2 or just add 15" to be safe) because it's a circle skirt (no side seams) a larger quantity of fabric is needed for the skirt, plus 6" for the straps, plus DOUBLE Measurement A (for the bodice), plus 2" for seam allowances. That should be exactly how much fabric you might get a couple inches extra just to be safe :) (I needed about 1 3/4 yd for my 3-year-old).

You'll also need a package of 1/4" elastic and thread, sewing machine, and a serger can be helpful (but, if you don't have one, I will give alternate methods)! REMEMBER, I did this for a 3-year-old and used 45" fabric, if you are doing this for an older child like 6-8 years old, you may need to take fabric width into consideration and may need to use a 60" fabric (or, if you can't get a full circle skirt with the length that you want (with a 45" fabric) you will need to cut 2 halves to the circle and sew side seams but, you'll also need more fabric...sorry, this tutorial doesn't go over making the circle skirt with side seams). Make sure to get a soft fabric...mine was kind of stiff and it worked but, soft is better (especially for 3-year-olds)! :)

Here we go! Since the tutorial is on the longer side (with lots of pictures!), I made it into a PDF. Click here to download the Simple Summer Dress Tutorial!!

If you like this post These May also be something you'd enjoy

View All Inspiration
Asset 1

Or, If You'd like to improve your skills,

we have great classes to help you take your sewing to the next level.

Login to Add To LoveList

Don't have an account? Open one today.

Explore the benefits of having a Baby Lock account. Start Now