Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tutorial: How To Hack A Baby Dress


One of the mixed blessings of being an avid sewing enthusiast is looking at factory made baby clothes and having the following inner monologue: "Ohhh, I like that...it's really cute...I bet I could make that..". Especially when I look at the prices they ask for some of that stuff. Baby clothes gets outgrown so fast and it take such little fabric that I'd rather try to make some of the cutesy outfits instead of paying as much for a newborn's dress as I do for my own! I discovered Jen at The Thrifty Home, celebrates this kind of thrifty on Penny Pinching Wednesdays and had to join in. So here's my how-to for a cute little dress style I saw in a big box store. Sorry I haven't noted dimensions at this point, but eventually I'll add that in. I wasn't crazy about the store version's fabric (all synthetic) or the blah colored print it was made from, but the shape was cute and seemed pretty easy to put together. I had this cute owl corduroy (snagged for $4) just waiting for the right project too:

1. I determined the dress was made from the following pieces:

Front body (1 cut on fold), Back body (1 cut on fold), Front collar (cut 2), Back collar (cut 2)

I laid out the dress as flat as I could for each section and traced them onto my cheap, but sturdy Ikea paper and noted the placement of the snaps, where the collar pieces met the body pieces and added a seam allowance. (Note: I folded the body pieces when I traced so they could be cut on the fold and therefore perfectly symmetrical).

2. I sewed together & pressed open the side seams of the front & back pieces.

3. I used bias tape to edge the underarm sections.

4. I sewed the flat edge of each front collar to each back collar piece

5. I then sewed, right sides together, the inner curve of the collar and just around to where the snaps will go.
6. Turning the collar right side out, I sandwiched the top of the front & back pieces into the open portions of the collar, folding the collar raw edge under & then topstitched it all around.

7. Then I positioned my snaps where my markings were on the collar and hammered away to set them and PRESTO! It was done! I even had enough fabric left over to make a matching bib. Now I can make this dress in just about any fabric, for any season and can just enlarge the size for a growing girl.

Here's my little lovey modeling my handiwork. It's a little big here, but she's on the small side and just a few weeks old so she'll grow into it soon (and be able to wear it as a top when she's even older!).  When I was in crazy nesting mode I decided to make the coordinating lap shouldered shirt & footed pants from rib knit and now that the cooler weather is here, I'm glad I did!


  1. I'm new to your blog...but I love your ideas and stuff you make on here! I have an 8 month old...she's in 6-9 month clothes, but I would love to make that dress for her. Could you possibly tell me about how big I should make it for 12 months? Thanks so much! You can go to my blog...


    or you can email me at

    branmaxson at yahoo

  2. I still do that "oh, I could make that!" when I look at store items :-) The dress is darling - love the owl fabric and the model is precious!

  3. that's brilliant Cheryl. Serena looks gorgeous. If I was in a shop I'd WISH i could do that but with your tutorial it's now a confident 'I can do that'. thanks heaps x

  4. ADORE that fabric!!! I so do not sew, but I will send this to my Granny!

  5. I love it! That owl print is so cute.

  6. Hi there, I'm new to your blog and love it! I enjoy sewing as well and often get that same feeling when I see something I like! These days I ask myself, "yes you could make it, but do you have the time?!" I will find the time to make my 2 year one of these dresses for sure and I already have the right fabric. :-)

  7. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest, Cheryl! I decided to also visit the blog below my rollcall and it is you. I admire that you can sew! I am not so creatively inclined.

  8. Great fabric I love it! Do you have the pattern you use that you can download or is it a store bought one? I'm due in April and want to get a jump start on outfits for the little one. Please email me at nikkiilee20@hotmail.com. Thanks so much for the great tutorial I can't wait to get started on this cute dress. So glad I found your blog great work :)

  9. Great work! Supreme dress. So cute =) I just have to have some of that fabric! Where did you find it? I found a similar one on auction but I like yours better. Plz email me at nathalie.luna at gmail.com

    Keep up the good work =D


  10. I just love owls, and that material is just devine!!!! I also love the design of dress, i only have one little girl (4 boys), So its a treat to make girly things :)

  11. It's so funny how I literally had this same fabric on my lap looking for a dress idea to make as a gift. When I stumbled upon this post, I felt like I just HAD to make this dress! So I did and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Thanks for the tute!

  12. love the dress could u email me the pattern? I want to make it for my granddaughter who is in 9mos clothes Thanks


    1. Crystal, there's a link to the post I did with the free pattern on my left sidebar, here's the exact link to where you can click and download the pattern as a pdf: http://sewcando.blogspot.com/2009/10/little-owl-dress-pattern-is-here.html

  13. Really good job, nice dress xoxo


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