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Simple Sundress Project

Simple sundress project collage

This project is sponsored by Habico haberdashery wholesalers.   It is written by Laura Strutt, the author of The Sewing Manual, Haynes, £21.99 and who blogs at


This easy-sew sundress, with a lined bodice, has no fussy buttons or zip fastenings – so not only is it quick to make, but it also easy for little ones to put on too! Worked using the template provided for the bodice, the skirt section is worked with measurements, allowing you to get just the right length for your little lady. I love these Salt Water prints by Tula Pink from Westminster Fibres  – just perfect for long lazy days at the beach!

Sizes 3-4 years

Tula Pink Salt Water sewing project

What you need…

Main fabric 1m 
Contrast print 50cm
Fabric sheers
coordinating thread
Tailor’s Chalk
Tape measure 
Sewing machine
Iron & ironing board

Pyrm scissors, threads, sewing needles supplied by



The bodice for the dress & lining are cut on fold to create the full section – adding length to the lower edge of the template creates the dress section.  Download the template here: Sundress Pattern

Note: If you are working with printed fabrics you might need to alter the amounts in order to centre the motifs

Little gir's sundress sewing project

Fold the fabric

Press the main fabric and align the selvedges and fold. Fold the piece in half again, aligning the fold to the selvedge, to create a long piece.

How to make a pattern for a girl's sundress

TIP – Cutting on the fold means that the pattern piece is placed, where indicated by the arrow, onto the fold in the fabric. When cut around and the pattern piece removed, the fabric section will be opened out to reveal the full fabric piece. 

Position the template

Place the bodice template at the upper section of the fabric, position to the fold and pin in place. Using the tape measure, mark the point 38cm down from the armhole section. Using tailor’s chalk to create a smooth line from the armhole to the marked point. Create a second smooth line from the folded edge of the fabric to the end of the marked line; this lower hem line will measure 19cm across the bottom.  

Easy girl's dress tutorial for beginners

Cut the fabric

Using the dressmaking scissors, carefully cut around the bodice pattern and continue down the chalked line and across the lower hem edge. Remove the pattern template and open out the fabric. You will now have two identical cut pieces that will form the front and back of the dress.  

Free dressmaking pattern for toddlers

Cut the bodice lining section

Re-pin the bodice template onto the fold on the remaining piece of main fabric, and carefully cut around it. This will create the two lining pieces for the upper section of the front and back dress pieces.  

Free sewing pattern for a girl's sundress

Neaten the raw edges

Working with an over-edge stitch or a zig zag stitch, sew around the side and lower edges of both the two dress and two lining pieces to neaten the raw edges. Carefully press all the pieces..

Free must sew patterns for girls

TIP – Taking the time to zig zag stitch or over-edge all of the raw edges on each section of the dress may seem time consuming, but it will prevent the fabrics from fraying and will give it a professional finish. I like to edge all the pieces and press them before stitching the sections together; this helps to create a neat and professional finish. 

Cut the contrast panel

Fold the contrast cotton in half and using the tape measure and tailor’s chalk carefully park out a trapezium that measures 40.5cm along the upper edge, 45cm along the lower edge and 15cm along the two angles sides. Cut along the marking to create two identical shapes, work around the raw edges with an over-edge or zig zag stitch to create the two lower contrast panel. 

Beginners sundress sewing project

Secure the contrast panels

With right sides facing position one contrast panel on to one dress piece. Aligning the 40.5cm section of the contrast panel to the lower edge of the dress piece and pin in place. Repeat to remaining dress piece and contrast panel.

How to sew a sundress

Sew the contrast panel in place.

With a straight machine stitch and taking a 1.5cm seam allowance, work across to join the lower panel in place. Press the seam down towards the contrast panel and repeat to join the remaining contrast panel and dress piece together.

How to make a lined bodice

Line the bodice

With right sides facing, place the bodice lining piece onto the upper section of the dress aligning the armholes and neckline and pin in place. Repeat to position the remaining bodice piece to the remaining dress pieces.

Learn how to sew a sundress with this free tutorial

Secure the lining

Working with a straight machine stitch and using a 6mm seam allowance, work around the upper section of garment to join the bodice to the lining. Begin at the armhole edge, working around the straps and neckline and ending at the second armhole edge. Repeat for second piece. Turn through to the right side and press.

Free little girl's summer dress sewing pattern

Join the side seams

With the right sides of the two dress pieces facing, align the side seams and pin into position. Working with a straight machine stitch and taking a 1.5cm seam allowance, join the two side seams together, ensuring that the bodice sections are secured within the seam. 

How to hem a dress

Hem the dress

Press the side seams neatly open and turn through. Pin the dress to the required hem length and secure with your preferred hemming stitch.  Then you have your finished dress. 

Easy to make girl's sundress pattern free

Laura Strutt is the author of The Sewing Manual, Haynes, £21.99 and can also be found blogging at