“Let’s Go Fly a Kite” Sundress

"Let's Go Fly a Kite" Sundress {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

"Let's Go Fly a Kite" Sundress {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

   Hi Ribbon Retreat fans! Jess here, from Craftiness is not Optional...and I am so excited to be here with a cute and easy sundress tutorial for you!

I used some adorable fabric from Ribbon Retreat-for the main fabric I used one yard of the Cream Main from Fly a Kite by October Afternoon for Riley Blake, to cover the buttons I used the Cream Circle, and for the contrast fabric I used 3/4 – 1 yard Dottie in Teal.

These fabric amounts are good up to 4T. You will need more fabric for bigger sizes.

 First I made a quick bodice pattern by tracing around a tee folded in half.

Then I drew a curve like so for the bottom of the bodice, and a straight line across for the top like so.

Then I cut it out and traced around, adding seam allowance. Do the same for the bottom of the bodice.

Then I cut out 4 rectangles for the sleeves.  Mine were 6.5″x8″ but I wish I’d cut mine a little narrower-more like 5 inches would have been better I think. You can measure around the shirt you used to trace to find out how long they should be, then add seam allowance to that measurement.

I also cut two strips for the bottom of the dress-as wide as you want and then cut them selvage to selvage to make sure they are long enough.

Cut out 4 bodice pieces on the fold as well.

Then I folded my fabric and cut out 2 pieces on the fold for the skirt, using the bottom of the pattern I traced earlier. You can measure an existing dress to find the length you want.

Then I figured out how long I wanted the dress part to be, and cut the sides in a slight A-line.

Next sew long sides of 2 of the rectangles right sides together…repeat for other 2.

Then turn your sleeves right sides out, press, and top stitch along the sides.

Then sew a gathering stitch along the short ends of all 4 ends.

Next gather all the ends to be the same width and tie off the thread tails to keep them secure…then pin them about 1/2″ from the edge of the top of the bodice. Baste them in place.

Then pin another bodice piece on top and sew together along the curved armholes and top.

Turn right side out and press.

Then repeat the same steps with the other bodice pieces.


Next open up each side of the bodice like so.

Pin them right sides together, sew, and press with iron. Repeat for the other side.

Then I sewed the strips of contrast fabric to the bottom of the dress pieces.

Sew the sides of the dress together and sew.

I cut my pieces a little wide so I gathered it to fit the bodice, and sewed them right sides together, matching up the side seams.

Hem the bottom, sew on some covered buttons, and you’re done!


Thank you Jess!

I absolutely love this dress! And the fabric makes it so much fun.

Check out Craftiness is not Optional for tons more tutorials on cute girl clothing and accessories.

And if you love the line, Fly A Kite, click on the link to see more of it’s cute fabrics!

If you have great tutorials and a fun idea you would like to share on The Ribbon Retreat Blog,
please submit a project.

Have a great day! πŸ™‚

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  1. Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Fabulous, you make it look so easy. Well done πŸ™‚

  2. Carla
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Oh wow!! I can’t wait to try this!!

  3. Michelle
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I love this!!! So beautiful. I can’t wait to try this tutorial out!!

  4. Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    darling! i can’t wait to try this out.
    what is the fabric on your ironing board? it is lovely!

  5. Alissa
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    So cute and perfect for spring/summer, great job!

  6. Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Fabulous tutorial!! Thank you!

  7. Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Such a lovely dress. Thanks for the great tutorial. Pinning it.

  8. Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Wowza! That is just too adorable. Thank you!

  9. Terri Sue
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    this dress is adorable! i can’t wait to make one for my granddaughter.

  10. Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    i Love how you make your own patterns….im still trying to work up the nerve to do that because i would really like to sew my daughter a dress.
    thanks for inspiring!

  11. Rebecca Geisendorf
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    So cute. Is it hard to get it on over her head without a zipper or buttons? Thanks

  12. Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I love the flower fabric on the covered buttons- brilliant!! Jess, you make the best little dresses.

  13. Susan
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I love this dress, it’s darling! I have a cute knit fabric that would be adorable but it looks like you used a woven? Do you think either would work well?

  14. Melissa
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    This is darling. What is that fabric with the children?

  15. Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    So cute, thanks, did it just slip on? Or is there a fastening?

  16. Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys! Thanks so much for the nice comments! To answer your questions-it slips over heads very easily! My daughter has a 90th percentile noggin and it slipped on with nary a problem!

    I’m sorry, I don’t know where I got the fabric on my ironing board-I’ve had it for a looong time.

    • Marisa Camapum Barro
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Estou fazendo uns vestidos para doar para crianΓ§as humildes. Adorei este modelo. Vou tentar fazer nΓ£o sei se vou conseguir pois nΓ£o fiz curso de costura. Se tivesse as medidas seria mais fΓ‘cil para quem nΓ£o tem experiΓͺncia. Admiro muito o seu ato de compartilhar.

      • The Ribbon Retreat
        Posted August 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Hi Marisa! Thank you for your comment and for your service of making this adorable dress to donate to those less fortunate. Good luck and thank you for sharing! Michelle πŸ™‚

  17. Posted March 22, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Amazing dress. Cannot wait to make one! Thank you for sharing β™₯

  18. Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    This dress is SO CUTE, and I love the Fly a Kite fabric you used. Perfect pairing! I want to try to make this in my size!

  19. Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Great tutorial! You’ve been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

    We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for the home sewist.

    Grab a brag button!

  20. Samantha
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m almost done with mine, (I’m a beginning/intermediate sewer, so I’m still learning a thing or two) but I”m stuck at the part where you are closing up the sides of the bodice, when you open them up. I can’t follow the pictures. Any help?

  21. Posted March 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    @ Samantha-I’m sorry if the pictures don’t show enough…basically you are opening the sides up, then pinning and sewing them right sides together, lining up the seam that was created when you sewed across the top and down the armholes. I hope this helps!

  22. Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome! And so easy to follow I made two today for my almost 3 year old with remnants that I bought a while ago. I didn’t do contrasting fabric–just the top part and a gathered skirt. So cute. And now she has two cute dresses! Thanks for sharing!!

  23. Dana
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I am new to ‘making my own pattern” and I completely botched this! It was WAY to tight to get on my two year old. Sigh. How do you know how big to draw it? I traced a t-shirt but it was stretchy and the fabric I sewed with was not… I think that was my problem.

  24. Posted April 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    @Dana-I would use a tee that is a size up from what your kiddo normally wears if it’s too tight. I don’t have that issue, but my kids are like beanpoles. πŸ™‚ Also, to make sure it will be big enough, measure around your kiddos chest and compare that to the pattern, and enlarge as needed. Hope this helps!

  25. Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Today, I have read 5 tutorials on baby clothes… But, it looks like very easy and complete suitable for me.. Because, I’m beginner in sewing and trying to make it happen for my little angel. Thanks for sharing…

  26. Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome! I’m excited to attempt to make this for my daughter. Thanks again for an amazing tutorial!

  27. Posted April 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    What size t-shirt do you use in making the pattern? Love the dress. I hope to make them
    for my granddaughters

  28. sarah
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Gonna give this a try! Also, LOVE the princess bandaide!

  29. Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tutorial! I made one for my daughter and it turned out cute! I wrote about it here:

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      Meg – it is so cute!!! I love how you made it a fancy dress. Your daughter is beautiful!

  30. Posted May 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    What sized covered button did you use for this dress?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Hi Andrea! We believe they were 5/8″ sized covered buttons. Thanks! – Shirley

  31. Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    it’s gorgeous. i will put this on my “once i learn how to sew” list πŸ™‚

  32. Posted May 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey there I just made this today and I am in love with it!! It was easy and very cute. I mentioned your link so peep can find your tut and to give credit where credit is due:)! Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful tuts!! Luv, Em

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted May 29, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Emily! The dress is so cute! I love the fabrics you chose. Thanks so much for reading and your comment. Have a great day! – Shirley

  33. Shannon C.
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Love, love, love this, especially the sleeves. So cute!

  34. Posted June 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    holy cute! i love this dress!

  35. Robin Eciken
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    thanks for this awesome pattern. I made 2 of these for my granddaughters. It was super easy!

  36. Posted July 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I made this dress tonight, it is such a cute idea. I can’t wait for my daughter to wear it tomorrow.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      I bet it is adorable! If you post it to your blog, let us know. We’d love to see it! – Shirley πŸ™‚

  37. Lauren
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I am an extremely beginner (okay maybe not sooooo beginner as I think I am) But I just tried this this morning, and although I couldn’t work out the sleeves, I made an attempt and it worked out better then I could have imagined! Thank you so much for the detailed tute! x

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Lauren! We are so happy you loved the tutorial. I bet it is adorable! Thanks for sharing! – Shirley πŸ™‚

  38. Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    I made this dress last week and it is adorable. I wrote about it on my blog here !
    Thanks for a great tutorial! All the way from New Zealand!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 8, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Hi Louise! Your dress turned out so cute! I love the fabric you chose. Good luck with the rest of your sewing week! – Shirley πŸ™‚

  39. Posted December 13, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Love the Fly A Kite fabric!! Great tutorial with lots of photos =)

  40. Carolyn
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I have been making this dress and all was goin
    g really well until I came to join the bodice and the skirt. I am really confused by how to do it and everything seems to get in the way. Can you please give any advice? thanks .

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi Carolyn! I will try to answer your question to the best of my ability. πŸ™‚ The blogger gathered the skirt a little bit in the front and back centers. It looks like she only did it enough to fit exactly the bodice. You could possibly do this by sewing a basting stitch where you want it to gather and then full the fabric there. It will not show when it’s sewn to the top. Then you line the bodice and the skirt right sides together. She placed the skirt inside the bodice and sewed them together. Does that help at all? – Shirley πŸ™‚

  41. Joana
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    TKS so much for the tutorial! It made easy and simple to make my dd a cute dress!

  42. Emily
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    somebody help! ok so mine looks exactly step for step the same…until I get to the part of pinning the bodice onto the skirt part….when I lay them out before pinning with the skirt underneath the bodice it looks the same as her picture with the arch going up…but…when I turn either the bodice or the skirt upside down such as you have to do in order to put right sides together….the arches don’t line up! they are now opposite eachother….does that make sense? im so confused!!

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi Emily! Thank you for your question! Jess says if you pin the bodice and skirt together, center the bottom of the bodice curve with the middle of the skirt curve, and pin starting in the middle and working your way out…then the curves will fit each other-it will look weird at first but will come together. Have a wonderful day Emily and good luck with your dress! πŸ™‚

  43. Emily
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    ok, thank you! this dress is SO adorable I cant wait to see how it turns out! thanks for such a wonderful tutorial and dress idea!

  44. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Made this sweet dress last weekend and love it! The only issue I had was the head hole ended up being super tight for both my daughters.. Next time I would somehow factor in a button hole on the back or make the sleeves wider. Thanks for a cute tutorial!

  45. Miranda
    Posted April 17, 2013 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you so so much for this wonderful idea….I have made it for various little girls already and for my daughter as a top, not a dress. You have inspired me with drawing own patterns, thanks again

  46. Posted May 11, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I just finished my version of this dress for my daughter who is Thomas the Train obsessed. It is my hope that she would want to wear this out instead of her Thomas pj’s. πŸ™‚

    Unfortunately, the fabric I found & used is a heavy woven (quilting cotton). It doesn’t give her enough room the legs to move as freely as she needs. Suggestions on a fix? A slit in the back? Add fabric to the side seams? Crop the dress into a tunic and sew matching shorts, skirt, or pants?

    I am a real novice – never made a dress before…suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    …I linked to my FB picture of the dress – not sure how else to show you.

    Thanks – love your dress tutorial! πŸ˜€

  47. Posted May 11, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Here is the dress I made – I did add piping & did some ruffles at the hem. I look forward to feedback on how to fix the dress so it moves better for my girl. Thanks again for such a wonderful tutorial! I might try this again, using some knit fabrics – and I’ll make the A-line wider next time.

    I made this pic “public” on FB, so hope you can see it:

  48. Posted July 22, 2013 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    Lovely dress! IΒ΄ll show my mom (i’m a complete disaster sewing) because my girls would look great!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment! This is such a cute and fun dress! I agree…your girls would look great in this dress. πŸ™‚
      Have a wonderful rest of your day!

  49. Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Very informative and nice design. I really like your posts and your style.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Hi Rahul! Thank you so much for your comment! Have a wonderful day! Michelle πŸ™‚

  50. Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Beautiful fabric and super cute dress!

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ashley! Thank you! This dress always reminds me of summer and fun days out in the bright sun…I love it! Thank you again for your sweet comment! Michelle πŸ™‚

  51. Victoria
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    The sleeves on the finished product look different as though you added them to the armhole a bit. Anyone else notice this?

  52. Jean
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I found this on Pinterest, so cute. Is the fabric you used 100% cotton?
    Thank you!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Jean! Thank you so much! Isn’t this dress so much fun? Yes, the fabric used is 100% cotton and it if from Riley Blake. Thank you again Jean and have a wonderful day! Michelle πŸ™‚

  53. Jessica
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    hi i would just like to say i have had this tutorial pinned on my pinterest for a long time and today finally found the confidence to try it out. so far i only have the pieces cut out (some medium blue for the top, arms, and bottom and some blue and white ‘plaid’ fabric with tweety bird on it for the main skirt piece) but i plan on sewing it together either later today or tomorrow hopefully πŸ™‚ i will post a link to the picture once i complete it and get pictures taken πŸ™‚

    • Jessica
      Posted September 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      ps i would like to also say the only thing i wasn’t clear on was how you finished the bottom of the skirt so i am going to be doing a trik i learned to make pillow cases where you sew the ‘end’ fabric inside out with the rest of the fabric tucked in on the inside so when you flip it right side out there is no seam showing πŸ™‚

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jessica! Yay!!! Congrats on sewing such an incredibly cute dress! You did such a great job and your fabric choices are so adorable! I am so glad that you shared your creation with us and that you learned some new tips and tricks while sewing it! Thank you again for sharing your comment and your beautiful sundress! Have a wonderful day! Michelle πŸ™‚

  54. Amber
    Posted January 22, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    do u have any PDF pattern piece that are printable?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted January 22, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Hi Amber! Thank you so much for your question. I am so sorry, but we do not have any printable pattern pieces for this adorable dress. Jess just used one of her daughters t-shirts to make the right size of bodice and then used measurements to create the skirt. Again, I am sorry we don’t have any pattern pieces. Have a wonderful day and thank you again for stopping by! Michelle πŸ™‚

  55. Christina E Naylor
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    This pattern is very cleaver! Quite a talent you have!! I love it.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Hi Christina! Thank you so much! I am so glad you love this sweet dress! Have a wonderful day and thank you again! Michelle πŸ™‚

  56. Andrea
    Posted July 1, 2015 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Hi! I’m searching for the patterns (link) but I didn’ find it. I really want to sew it for my girl. She is three and a half years old now. I think the 4T one sould be good for her. Best regards:

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted July 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Andrea! Thank you for your comment! Good luck sewing and with the size 4T! Have a wonderful day and thank you again! Michelle πŸ™‚

  57. Alyssa
    Posted August 23, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing. Yes I had also pinned this in my Pinterest for almost 2 years, and finally I did it. My very first handmade dress for my daughter, means alot to me. And she loves it!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 24, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Hi Alyssa! That is so awesome! Congrats and way to go! That is so exciting, and I bet it turned out amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! Have a wonderful day. Michelle πŸ™‚

  58. Temitope
    Posted December 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this tutorial . I was able to make two of this for my girls and they so much love it as much as I do, they wearing them to church tomorrow. Thanks once again.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Yay! Great job! I bet your girls will look amazing in their brand new, adorable dresses! Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful day! Michelle πŸ™‚

  59. Posted April 25, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    So adorable, but I’m enough of a beginner that figuring out how much fabric I’d need to size this up to a 6/7 is daunting. Any suggestions?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted May 23, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Hi Jessica! Thank you for your question. I sent Jess your question and she suggests maybe comparing this pattern with another similar dress pattern to see how much fabric they used for the size you are trying to make (6/7 size).
      Good luck Jessica and have a wonderful day! Michelle πŸ™‚

  60. Molly
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this great method! I used it to make a Wendy Darling dress for my daughter for Halloween. I just did a straight bodice seen and attached a half circle skirt.

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