Sweet as a Berry Little Girl Dress {tutorial}

With Valentine's day lurking around the corner it's only natural for a blogger like myself to begin thinking of cute ways to incorporate the holiday. When I came across this strawberry fabric I fell in love with it's sweetness and decided that I would make my daughter a Valentine's day inspired dress. You may remember my Valentine's day inspired onesie from last year...Now if only my daughter would get up and walk in it instead of scoot around on her booty getting the beautiful fabric all dirty! Sigh...someday!

Here's what you'll need:
1/2 yard of fabric for skirt, ruffle sleeves, & ruffle front (for 12-18 months) 
1/2 yard of fabric for bodice and skirt trim
Sewing machine/Serger if you have one
Fabric marker
Small amount of lace, ribbon, or elastic
4 buttons

Start by cutting the following:
Outer Bodice: 11"w by 13 1/2" h (Fabric 1)
Inner Bodice: 8 1/2"w by 13 1/2" h (Fabric 1)
Trim: 20"w by 3" h (Fabric 1)
Arm Ruffle: 13 1/2" w by 3 1/2" h (Fabric 2)
Body: 20"w by 10 1/2" h (Fabric 2)
Front Ruffle: 3"w by 8"h (Fabric 2)

On the WRONG side of the Outer bodice draw a circle for the neck using these measurements. Don't forget the 2" slit in the back. Cut out the circle and cut down the slit. Repeat this step onto the WRONG side of the inner bodice. Trick: Lay finished outer bodice onto the inner bodice piece, make sure it's lined up with the inner bodice centered on the outer bodice. Trace the hole you've already cut from the outer bodice onto the inner bodice and cut. 

Take a small amount of lace, ribbon, or elastic and make a loop for the button hole.

Place the inner bodice on top of the outer bodice RIGHT sides together. Place the loop at the to of the cut line with the loop on the inside.
Sew an 1/8" seam completely around the hole and line.

Flip right side out and iron around the seams. 
Machine baste or serge the top and bottom edges of the bodice. 

Taking the Arm Ruffle pieces fold in half short sides together, use something round to round off the edge. Cut along the line.

Use your first piece to help you make the lines on the second ruffle piece, cut along the lines.

I serged the edges to keep from fraying. If you don't have a serger you'll want to fold the edge under twice and then stitch in place. Use the iron to help fold the fabric under. 

Here you can see that I only folded it once.

Next you're going to gather it. Stitch two loose stitches parallel to each other about 1/8" apart. DO NOT back stitch at the ends. Leave some thread on each end to be able to pull. 

Grab one of the threads and push the fabric the opposite directions from the string you're pulling.

Repeat for the other arm piece.

Notice that I serged the edges on both side of the outer bodice and on the inner bodice. If you can't serge the edges then fold them under twice and stitch in place. 

Pin the ruffle arm piece centered on the hole for the neck. Stitch in place.

Take one of the pieces for the body and attach one of the trim pieces by placing them RIGHT sides together and stitch in place (repeat for other body and trim). Next fold the trim toward the WRONG side the fabric matching the bottom of the trim to the top of the trip and top stitch in place.

I serged both edges to keep them from fraying.

Next you're going to attach the body to the bodice.

Place the body on top of the bodice (open as shown above) and pin RIGHT side together. Stitch or serge together.

Repeat for other side. Then fold the dress in half RIGHT sides together lining the body with the body and the bodice with the bodice. Pin and stitch up both sides stopping just past the body.

To make the ruffle on the front take the piece you cut and fold it in half long sides together.

Stitch up one side and across one short side.

Turn it RIGHT side out, iron, and tuck in the opening. Sew opening closed.

Now we're going to gather the strip. Same way we gathered the arm ruffles. Once it's gathered stitch it onto the front center of the dress. Make sure you don't accidentally sew it to the back too! Learn from my mistakes!!! 

Add buttons of your choice by following the instructions for your machine or hand sew on. Don't forget to add the button on the back!
That's all she wrote!

To see what I'm currently working on please click on the image below!

Happy Crafting!


  1. Very cute!!! I've added it to my “to sew" list :)!

  2. What a sweet little dress, I just love it! Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. Hi, Amy

    This is so beautiful! You make it look so easy, I have to try this one. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I love this little dress! I can't wait to make it, i love to sew, and especially when i'm sewing things for my little girl! I just recently bought my girl a bunch of dresses from http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/little-girl-dresses, and now i can't wait to try this one out! My little girl will be so excited!

  5. This is super sweet! I'd love for you to consider joining our first ever Pattern Party! Only those with free patterns to share are invited to link up! Check it out.

  6. This is adorable! The one thing you don't say is what size the measurements you give are for!! Claire xx

    1. You're totally right! It's size 12-18 months with my measurements :)

  7. Do you know what the measurements would be for a size 3 little girls

    1. Unfortunately I don't know. I measure my daughter and go off of that. If you can measure around the chest and from the neck to the knees and adjust accordingly, it should only be the difference of a couple of inches. The neck hole will be big enough as is. I hope that's somewhat helpful.

    2. Thank you, I am a beginner and have only used my sewing machine a few times but really want to make a dress for my daughters first day of preschool :) Going to give this a try

  8. Such a sweet simple dress. Thank you for posting this tutorial, I can't wait to make this for my girls!!!!

  9. I can't wait to make this dress

  10. I can't wait to make this dress

  11. I adore this dress!!! I've made 3 of them! I am featuring it on my blog tomorrow, I made adjustments for it to fit a size 4/5. Love love love it, thank you!!! Nellieandphoebs.blogspot.com

  12. Thank you for this tutorial! Quick question from a newbie to sewing: Why is the outer bodice larger than the inner bodice?

    1. The bodice liner is narrower because it's purpose is to create a finished collar so it's not necessary for it to be wider. You are welcome to make it the same as the outer piece it's just not necessary.

  13. I finished this one yesterday but I tried it on my friend's 12mo and it wouldn't even go over her head. I am curious to know why the pattern calls for the inner bodice to be shorter at the sides? I followed the directions but found that this method makes an unsightly inner seam and I like my inner seams to be even and finished. Even with a serger, it didn't look very neat. The inner bodice piece was flapping around and I attempted to fix that by folding the outer bodice in to cover it, but that took away a good 1" from the width and I think that that, combined with no seam allowance, is what makes the bodice too small. Anyways, it turned out cute, I added ruffles at the bottom instead of the straight trim, and I think I will attempt it again but with the inner bodice exactly the same width and length as the outer panel. Thanks for sharing your project!

    1. I'm sorry that the pattern didn't seem to work that well for you. I make the inner liner narrower because it's only purpose is the create a finished collar it's not needed otherwise. I didn't have any issues myself with the liner being narrower so I'm not sure how to adjust it to make it better for you. I hope that it went better for you the next time. Take care!

  14. This is really lovely, thank you. I will definitely try it, with 3 granddaughters! But please can you explain why the bodice lining is so much narrower than the outer layer? I couldn't quite follow what was happening there.

    1. Hi Mary, Sorry to be getting back to you so late I gave birth a few weeks ago and am just now getting to this. The bodice liner is narrower because it's purpose is to create a finished collar so it's not necessary for it to be wider. You are welcome to make it the same as the outer piece it's just not necessary.

  15. Congratulations! Yes, I think overall the best plan is to cut them the same. Then you could do a proper finish on the lining sides. You might even be able to join the lining sides to the outer bodice sides, but I'd do that by hand myself. It's still a nice easy pattern. Some of your other correspondent have asked about re-sizing. This one is pretty easy to adjust for different ages. Children's chest sizes don't increase that much overall from aged 6-9 months to size 2-3 years - only from about 48cm or 19" to 53.5cm or 21". Whereas their length/height increases from 74cm to 98cm (29" to 38.5"). Obviously these can vary from child to child, but it's clear that you add to or take away from the length a lot more to than you do to or from the width to make pattern adjustments! As you've said, you just need to measure the child.
    Good luck with your new baby. My older daughter's second daughter is one month old now.

    1. Thanks for the input Mary and congrats on your granddaughter!

  16. My question is: Once the trim is stitched on the dress, what is the finished height of the hem material?
    Approximately 2 inches high??? , or a little more than 4 inches high? I don't know if I am to split the trim piece lengthwise and get my 2 pieces of the trim that way (giving it a narrower trim, or cut 2 separated pieces ...each 10.5 inches high....and get a deeper trim......just wondering from Seattle

    1. Ok, so it's been forever since I made this dress so bare with me. As I looked back I feel I missed a step in explaining what I did with the trim. It appears that I accidentally said the trim was 20"w by 10 1/2" h that can't be right because that's the size of the body. What I'd do now is cut the trim into 2 pieces that are 20"w x 3"h then once you attach it to the bottom you fold it to the back side and stitch it down. I have no idea how I missed explaining that step! So sorry!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tutorial ! This dress is adorable !

  18. I realize this is an old post but I have a question and am unsure about the process and the photo, even though you serged the bodice sides separately, it looks like you also folded the outer bodice and created a hem. I know that the inner bodice is sewn at the neck and body part, but is the inner bodice attached to the sides? Maybe attaching the inner bodice on the sides is what made it too small for a previous reader? And are the flutter/cap sleeves RS down on the inner or outer bodice?

  19. i loved this dress and just made it for my little girl (fits size 9-12 month clothes) but i figured it would just be little too big but perfect for this summer. Unfortunately it was the opposite :( The head hole was just barely big enough to get over her head but the chest (where the bodice meats to skirt) was too small for me to get her arms through :/ I am somewhat of a novice but this was dissapointing. There is nothing I did different from your pattern that I can tell. Do you think an elastic waist band would work for this dress better?

  20. Adorable dress and great tutorial...thank you!!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts