Reversible Baby Dress Tutorial

Learn how to make a reversible baby dress, two outfits in one!

Learn how to make a Reversible Baby Dress with this tutorial by Blooms and Bugs!

Hello Ribbon Retreat readers! This is Anshu from Blooms And Bugs. I mostly write tutorials for kids clothing, but occasionally share women’s clothing and other crafting tutorials too. Please check out my free tutorials page here for some fun sewing projects.

I had been lurking at The Ribbon Retreat Blog and Shop for a while swooning on all the cool sewing tutorials being shared here. I finally gathered courage and asked Shirley if I could become a guest here too. And she agreed (yay!!!)… so I picked this Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit fabric that had been on my wishlist for a while and went to work. I used it to make a Reversible Baby Dress. I love how it turned out, and I think this beautiful fabric is the reason for that. I hope you would like it too and sew it for the little girls in your life.

**I have also added some tips on how to size it up for older kids. If you want to sew it for older kids jump to the end of the post for tips on drafting your own pattern for this dress.**

Reversible Baby Dress Tutorial

Supplies:

Fabric 1 (Lilac Sparrows in Aviary 2) -1 fat quarter
Fabric 2 (Lilac Lattice in Aviary 2) – 2 fat quarters

To see other beautiful fabrics check out The Ribbon Retreat’s wonderful fabric selection by clicking the link.

For embellishments: (Optional)
Wonder Under fusible interfacing
Fabric scraps in coordinating colors

Tutorial:

Please note that while both sides are wearable, for the purpose of the tutorial, I’m calling the appliqued side outer and the plain side inner.

Preparing the Bodice:

Cut out the bodice pieces.

1. Cut the bodice pattern pieces on fold. 2 each for lining and main fabric.

Cut fabric for tubes.

2. Cut four 1.25 inch X 9 inch strips of skirt fabric. Sew tubes with these strips. If you need help, here is my detailed tutorial on how to sew narrow tubes.

Sandwich tubes between bodice fabrics.

3. Sandwich the tubes between bodice and lining about 2 inches apart at the center. Sew along the top. Snip some notches along the curves, snip the corners.

Sew along the sides.

4. Join the front and back of the bodice by sewing along the sides ( right sides together).

Turn right side out and iron well.

5. Turn out. Iron well.

Bodice is ready, lets sew the skirts now.

Sewing the skirts:

6. For the outer skirt cut 2 pieces of fabrics 8″x18″. Sew along the shorter sides, right sides together. Also keep in mind that this Aviary print is directional, meaning if you put the fabric upside down the print will appear reversed (the birdie will be upside down) so take care of matching the sides while joining the two pieces.

Stitch and gather the waist of the skirt.

7. Sew a seam along upper raw side, do not back-stitch. Now pull the bobbin thread to gather the skirt. Gather it until the skirt width becomes equal to the bodice width.

Do the same for the inner skirt.

8. Now cut 2 more pieces of fabrics 9″x18″. Repeat steps 6 and 7 to sew, gather and prepare the inner skirt. Set aside.

Preparing the bias tape for hem:

Preparing the bias tape.

9. Cut 2 strips of 5″x18″. Sew them together along the shorter sides (right sides together).

Fold and press fabric for bias tape.

10. Now lets make a bias tape from this strip. It’s made exactly like a bias tape except that it’s cut on grain. We can do that because we are going to use it on the hem which is straight, so we don’t need the flexibility of a bias cut fabric here.

Fold in half along the width and iron. Now fold one half onto itself and iron, now fold the other half over the quarter you just ironed and iron it again. This will make the last fold slightly bigger than the last one.

Sew the bias tape to the hem of the main fabric skirt.

11. Sew this bias tape at the hem of skirt 1 you made in step 6 & 7.

Joining the skirt and bodice:

Sew the bodice to the main fabric of the skirt.

12. Sew the bodice main fabric to the skirt. (right sides together). Make sure the side seams of bodice and skirt are lining up.

Pull apart the inner and outer fabrics of the bodice.

13. Pull apart the inner and outer fabrics of bodice.

Sew the inner part of the skirt to the raw edge of the bodice.

14. Sew the inner fabric of the skirt to the raw part of bodice (right sides together).

Fold the inner skirt and hem it.

15. Here’s how the dress will look from outside. Now fold the hem of inner skirt a quarter inch inside and sew along the hem.

Fold the hem again so length of both skirts is equal.

16. Now fold it one more time such that the length of inner and outer fabrics is equal.

17. Reversible Baby Dress is ready.

Optional – Embellishing the dress:

Since the dress is reversible we need to be very careful in embellishing this because the embellishment will sit next to baby’s skin, when the dress is reversed. To make it comfortable and safe for baby, I chose only appliques for embellishing the dress.

This fabric is so beautiful that I didn’t want to draw any attention away from it so I chose to just use the fabric print as an embellishment. I traced one of the polygons from the light colored fabric on a piece of wax paper and used it as my template for appliques.

Use something for a template for applique.

For appliques I picked two small scraps (2″x3″) in the colors of the Aviary print. Now cut two small pieces of wonder under fusible interfacing (slightly smaller than fabric scraps) and place them on the wrong sides of fabric scraps. Now change your iron settings to no-steam and iron on the paper backing of fusible interfacing. This will cause the interfacing to stick to the scraps. Make sure you iron by putting the iron down and lifting it up rather than sliding it across the scraps.

Trace and cut out your shapes.

Now cut out the polygon from both the scraps using the wax paper template. Peel off the paper backing and place the appliques on the bodice (with the interfacing touching the bodice) and iron on.

Iron on your appliques.

I found that they looked best when they were placed exactly above the polygon. Iron them really well for the interfacing to stick to the fabric.

For added strength I usually also sew along the sides of the appliques. If you want to do this pull apart both sides of the dress and sew along the edges of the appliques with the machine on the slowest speed and stitch length set at minimum. That would ensure a precise seam along the appliques’ edges.

And now the dress is ready for the cutest little girl in the world!

Instructions on sizing:

Whenever I write a tutorial, I invariably get asked about how to size it up. This is a pretty easy to draft pattern and very flexible. So if you like to sew this dress in bigger sizes, here are some tips to do it.

  • Find a woven dress that fits the child well. Measure the width at the waist, this will be the bodice width. Add one inch for seam allowance.
  • Measure the length from waist to the shoulders. Subtract 2-3 inches from it for the shoulder ties. This will be the length of the bodice.
  • Measure the child to see how far apart you want the shoulder ties to be add 1.5 inches to this distance. Measure this new distance at the center of the width and draw arcs at the end. These will be partial armholes.
  • Keeps the shoulder ties longer (about 15 – 20 inches). This will help you adjust the dress after it is sewn. You could always snip off the unwanted length at the end.
  • The rule of thumb for the skirt fabrics is that they should be at least 1.5 times the width of the bodice but no more than 2 times. Depending on how full you want the bodice to be you can pick the width anywhere between this measurement.
  • The length of the skirt can be anything you want. Or just measure the length of the dress waist down and use it with seam allowance

Thank you so much Anshu!

Is there anything better than making cute clothing for your little one? Oh I really need to get a girl! :)

I love this tutorial, because Anshu explains so well how to make a dress reversed. If you want to get creative, you can make any dress like this reversible with very little effort.

Definitely hop on over to Blooms and Bugs to see what else Anshu has to offer. There are SO many cute things to pin!

There are also so many other fabrics in Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics. Click the link to see the entire line. The Lilac Sparrows fabric would be cute just framed!

We love having our blog contributors, and if you have a great craft blog or shop, we would love to have you! Share your upcoming projects with us and submit a project.

Have a wonderful day! ~ Shirley

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11 Comments

  1. Alice Murray
    Posted June 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Adorable dress—very well explained —GOOD JOB!!!

  2. Nora Charles
    Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Love it!! What size seam allowance did you use?

  3. Posted June 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Nora,

    thanks!
    I used 3/8 inch seam allowance for the skirt and for joining skirts to the bodice, and also for the bodice side seams. Only at the bodice I used quarter inch seam allowance.
    Hope it helps,
    Anshu

  4. Melanie bowser
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    What size is the dress in this tutorial?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Melanie! Thank you for your question! The dress is in newborn size so it will be 0-3 months. Hope this helps. :)

  5. Brandy
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I cannot DL the pattern. Do you mind emailing to me pretty please?

  6. P Baker
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I love the dress! I have a trouble with the bodice and skirt together. I think I did just like what the pictures, but it closed up the middle part. Please help! Thanks!!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi and thank you for your question. Anshu said there are two possibilities, either you sewed the bottom of the bodice while sewing the sides which closed it off, or you might have sewn both layers of bodice together with both the layers of skirt, but there is no way to know until she could see some pictures of the project. Do you have any pictures you could send over of the outside and inside Anshu will look at them for you. You can email them to michelle@theribbonretreat.com.

      Thank you!

  7. Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi! This is so cute! Are the skirts cut on the lengthwise or crosswise grain? (or does it matter?) I can’t quite tell from the tutorial/photos. Thanks!

  8. Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    To elaborate slightly: one of my fabrics, because of the way the pattern runs, I was forced to cut the skirt on the crosswise grain. However, it seems like typically it should be cut on the lengthwise grain, so I’m unsure of whether to cut the other fabric like that, or just to go crosswise because of how the 1st fabric is cut. I haven’t really made much that’s reversible, so I’m unsure how this is going to affect the dress

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kathryn! Thank you so much for your question! Anshu says the following regarding your question…”Thanks a lot for your question.
      The dress is made on a lengthwise grain.
      As a rule of thumb, I avoid crosswise grain on anything that hangs vertical ( Think fall of a skirt, bodice from shoulder to waist, whatever is worn vertically should be cut vertically, am I making sense?)

      Cutting length from lengthwise grain, provides for a better fall of the clothing, and also prolongs the life of the garment, because it is working with the fall of fabric, rather than against it.
      In fabrics like lace, it doesn’t matter because it is not woven like, say quilting cotton, but it matters in woven fabrics. That’s what my Mom told me when I was sewing and I have also felt in my sewing ( whenever I tried to go against her advice, I was sewing through my teens….need I say more ;) ). I hope this helps. Do let us know how the dress turned out.”

      Thank you again Kathryn! Good luck and have a wonderful day! Michelle :)

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