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Free Pattern, Tutorial and Sewing Video – A simple dress

February 27, 2013

I said this would be up on Monday, and now it’s Tuesday, almost Wednesday. What happened, was that I had to do a little housekeeping on my mac as I was running out of space on my startup disk, and to my horror, all my previous backups disappeared because of some spotlight indexing issue. I shall not go into so much technical details right now as my brain is half fried, but I had to re-run Time Machine and recreate a new backup. It took up the most of Monday and while it was doing that, I was afraid to tax the system further asking it the process the movie (which was 1 hour long before editing!) That’s the story in a nutshell. Back to the pattern.

This month is all about Girls’ Dresses. So I decided to draft from scratch, a simple dress (I am really not good at fancy names) that can be used to create many different looks. A dress is simply a bodice + skirt combined. My pattern shows you how to make a round neck bodice with a gathered skirt. Change the gathered skirt to a pleated skirt, or even a circle skirt, and the dress is transformed. Add a ribbon sash, or add in some frills around the shoulders, make it with cotton, double gauze, make it with stripes, prints, solids, co-ordinating quilting fabric, you get a thousand and one looks.

The patterns were drafted following the measurements in a well known pattern “textbook” Metric Pattern Cutting for Children’s Wear and Babywear by Winifred Aldrich.


Click here to download the tutorial

I’ve drafted the patterns in the following sizes. The approximate ages and body measurements the patterns are based on are listed below each size. I have only tested two of the sizes (110 and 122) since my kids currently fall into that size range. So if you are using the other sizes for the first time, do a quick muslin (something like a mock-up using a cheap fabric) before actually using it on your actual fabric. Not everyone will fit into the standard size and the ages provided by the book are approximate, so choose the one closest in terms of chest and waist sizes, and alter the length accordingly. For example my daughter is actually closed to 130 in height but being very skinny, the 122 size fits her better but needs to be lengthened for her actual waist and skirt length. The length of the skirts I’ve included on each bodice is based on knee length skirts, but that can be easily modified to your liking. Do give me your feedback in the comments below if you have tried any of the other sizes! I would appreciate it 🙂

Here are the sizes available and their key measurements.
18mth/Chest:52cm/Waist:49cm/Waist-Knee:30cm (skirts are based on knee length)
3yrs/Chest:55cm/Waist:52cm/Waist-Knee:34cm (skirts are based on knee length)
5yrs/Chest:59cm/Waist:56cm/Waist-Knee:38cm (skirts are based on knee length)
7yrs/Chest:63cm/Waist:60cm/Waist-Knee:42cm (skirts are based on knee length)
10yrs/Chest:72cm/Waist:63cm/Waist-Knee:48.6cm (skirts are based on knee length)

Click here to download from my PDF pattern store –
all the sizes are combined into 1 zip file

And last but not least, here are the sewing videos! It was too long so I had to split it into two videos, and I’ve speeded up some of the boring parts, hope it’s not too fast to follow.

Just a word or two about the sewing videos. My methods of attaching a zipper may be a little unorthodox and certainly the “textbook” way, but I find this method a lot faster than the traditional method. If you have your own preferred method, by all means do it your own way! The other thing is with regards to the sewing down of the bodice lining. It is done this way to quicky encase the raw edges of the zip and bodice+skirt seamline, which sometimes irritate little girls with sensitive skin. My girls don’t really get bothered so sometimes I sew both layers down with the skirt after gathering, serge and topstitch it flat. When I made bridesmaid dresses for my baby niece though, I even took the extra step of hand-stitching the bodice lining down with a blind stitch so that the seams won’t irritate her (and cause her to want to yank the dress off halfway while walking down the aisle ;P) It certainly took a lot more time and effort but the end result was worth it. So it’s really up to you!

Well, that’s the last of my Girls’ Dresses blog posts. Next month will be exciting, I’ve already got the theme planned out months ago. Can’t wait to show you guys!

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  • Reply Jillian in Italy February 27, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Lovely little “simple dress”. I think it could be sewn up so differently depending on the fabric combinations you use. Looks like it could be a great summer uniform for my daughters!

  • Reply Yana Malysheva February 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

    well done, I like the colour combination

  • Reply Jaya February 28, 2013 at 2:36 am

    thank you for the pattern. this serves as a great base for almost all party dresses, if you change just the fabric.

  • Reply stacey February 28, 2013 at 8:02 am

    this is an amazing tutorial. thank you very much!

  • Reply Cotton Candy » Chinese New Year Sewing 2013 February 28, 2013 at 10:39 am

    […] so I was really busy getting the videos, tutorials and patterns out on time. If you are interested, hop on over to take a look. It’s a basic dress with lots of instructions, so if you are trying to learn […]

  • Reply Meili February 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I appreciate you coming up and sharing this simple dress pattern. Most of the time I’m looking for something simple to sew for my girls, so this is just what I needed. I am looking forward to your drafts for other sizes because my girls are age 3 and 8,5. In the meantime I am going to try the sewing the aprons.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books February 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks Meli, I just updated with the other sizes. Hope they they are the right sizes for your girls! Do a test piece first before using on your actual fabric.

      • Reply Meili March 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

        Hi, you have no idea how surprised I was when I check your blog again today, the patterns for the other sizes were up! However, I was not able to get to the links, I always get the message “page not found”.

        • Reply Japanese Sewing Books March 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

          I forgot to check the links! Sorry about that 🙁 There was an error in the url, but I’ve fixed it now. 🙂

  • Reply vered klein March 1, 2013 at 3:11 am

    very cool project, thak you for sharing.
    can you tell please what bodice is it from the book ? I want to draft myself (I have that new winifred book) is it the ‘flat’ woven fabric block?

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books March 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Hi Vered, it’s the flat sleeveless body block (pg 42) 🙂

  • Reply Melissa March 2, 2013 at 3:10 am

    The links are not working to download the pattern. This looks to be the perfect blank slate pattern I’ve been looking for…..would love to sew some up for my girls! thanks

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books March 2, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for your feedback! There was an error in the url of the links. Sorry about that! 🙂

  • Reply Paola March 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks a lot for your work… I really appreciate the videos !!

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books March 5, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Thank you Paola 🙂

  • Reply hermina March 28, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Thanks a lot for the free pattern 🙂

  • Reply C May 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Hi, is it possible to extrapolate this pattern to suit young adults/teens? 🙂 or is only for kids?

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 14, 2014 at 8:44 am

      You will need to grade the pattern to fit a larger size child/teen, because for sewing patterns in general you can’t just scale up everything on a copier. The armhole points, shoulder points, curves, etc do not increase in size proportionally. The other issue is that kids/teens patterns differ from women’s patterns because of their development 🙂 So for young adults the bodice needs to be adjusted with darts for shaping. It can be worn as a loose fitting dress style if you prefer to do without darts.
      So to answer your question, if you mean to grade the pattern then yes you can do so to fit a young adult/teen, but you can’t scale up proportionally because it won’t fit well.

  • Reply C May 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I see! Thanks for your explanation 😉

  • Reply Chithra vishnu February 8, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Hai,, thanks for the free pattern. I enjoyed this very much and your way of presentation was very helpful …thank you dear

    • Reply Dena June 24, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Hei Kassiopi, nice to know u.. We r the same inexperienced woman in sewing, hehe.. Like me, im new bie. Well, i wanna talk to u bout sewing, so if u hv free time, would u like to email me in Just for sharing n talking.. Im waiting for.. Tq

  • Reply kassiopi June 8, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you very much indeed for yr pattern, videos, tutorial… As I am not so experienced it is exactly what I need now for my 4y granddaughter, a basis for a lot of models. Thanks again for yr great effort.

  • Reply Dena June 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Hi.. Im dena from Indonesia. Tq so so so much for ur free pattern n video tutorial. Really love it n honestly so much waiting for this pattern, coz im looking for this with blog walking, so many blog im visited, n finally i found u..
    Im just new bie, start to sewing just in my 33, n hopefully, it’ll helps me to b a superb mom..
    Btw, do u hv a pattern simple dress for woman? Or mightb, would u like to show me a link a free pattern of it?
    Tq so much..

  • Reply korean clothes July 24, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books July 29, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Hi there, sure go ahead and share my blog links on your page.

  • Reply Rainna April 5, 2016 at 10:57 am

    like to check what is the length and width of the bottom? As I can’t find it.


  • Reply Pat T September 2, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Hi! I am in the middle of making 4 dresses for 4 granddaughters. I just finishes Simple Dress size 86. The next dress is Simple dress size 110 does and it does not give the skirt size printed on the pattern. . Would you be able to send it to me. Thank you. A Grandmother.

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