The Posy Dress Tutorial

Make the sweetest dress for your little girl, no pattern needed!

Hey Ribbon Retreat blog readers! I’m Jess, from Craftiness is not Optional, and so excited to be back again with another dress tutorial for you! What can I say, I’m a sucker for cute dresses, and my girls always seem to be growing out of them. 😉 Oh, darn!

So I created this whimsical sundress for summertime,
and it’d be great layered with a long sleeve shirt in winter time as well!

Posy Dress, so sweet!

The fabric I used is Rouge Stripe Verona by Emily Taylor Designs for Riley Blake, and the red is Betty Red Moda Bella Solids. The buttons are from Joanns I think.

Super cute dress tutorial, make your own pattern!

Sadie loved her “belt” and I loved how the loops turned out! It adds a fun detail.

Summer dress with cute belt loops and sash and buttons!

The Posy Dress Tutorial

You’ll need:

Main fabric (I got by with one yard-barely-for a size 3T)
Contrast fabric (1 yard was plenty)
Sewing stuff (machine, button holer, iron, bias tape gadget if you wish, rotary cutter and board, etc)

Check out the awesome selection of designer fabric from The Ribbon Retreat.
All fabric is categorized in beautiful coordinating colors.

Making a pattern and cutting fabric.

So first let’s make a bodice pattern-no worries, it’s really quite easy!

1. Fold a tee in half that fits your kiddo… and trace around it. Then draw a line about where the front neckline dips down, across the front of the bodice. Draw another line where you’d like the bottom to end, adding seam allowance (I usually do 3/8″) to the bottom and side. Cut the pattern out, and label the fold line.

2. Cut one piece out for the front on the fold. Cut two pieces for the back, but not on the fold, and also add about 2″ to the side (ie: where the fold line is on the pattern). This extra fabric will be folded under for the button placket on the back.

3. Then I cut two panels of fabric that were each about twice the width of my bodice. (The bodice and skirt panels are folded in half here.) You can measure your kiddo or a dress that fits them to see how long you want the skirt. You’ll be adding about 1.5″ of ruffle, so be sure to account for that when you cut the length.

4. Then cut two pieces of contrast fabric 4″ wide, selvage to selvage. You might need more if you’re making a larger skirt size, but this worked great for my 3T size I made.

Cutting and making the ruffle.

Now for the ruffle!

1. Sew the raw edges right sides together on the short ends, forming a loop.

2. Oh, and sew the skirt panels right sides together on the short ends as well.
Finish these seams with a serger or zig zag stitch.

3. Press the seams on the ruffle piece open.

4. Then press the ruffle piece in half with the raw edges together, wrong sides facing.

Sew along your gather strip and gather it and attach to the dress.

1. Then sew a gathering stitch along the top where the raw edges meet. (If you have a serger, it’s good to serge the raw edges together first, this way you have less strings when you gather. Trust me on this… zig zag stitch would work too!)

2. Pull the top thread to gather the ruffle piece to fit your skirt, and pin to the right side of the skirt- pin well!

3. Sew together the skirt and ruffle, and press lightly with your iron.

4. Then top stitch along the seam on the front to secure the ruffle and so that it will lay nicely.

Working on the bodice.

Now for the bodice! Serge (or zig zag stitch) the raw edges of the back pieces… or you can fold over the edge 1/4″ and iron, and then fold over 1″ and iron in place. Either way make sure you fold it over about 1″ and iron.

Then sew in place along the serged/zig zagged edge.

Sew together front and back pieces.

Next sew together the front and back bodice pieces on the sides, and finish the seams.

Sewing the belt.

Next I made the sash/belt, by cutting out 2 strips 2″ wide, selvage to selvage.

Sew your sash right sides together.

I sewed them right sides together on both long sides, then turned it right side out and pressed with my iron. I left my ends open since it had the selvage ends, but you could tuck them in and stitch across as well.

Making Bias Tape.

Next I made some bias tape (see this tutorial for the how-to), enough to cover the tops of the front and back bodice, and make some straps. It will vary for sizes, but I used about 1.5 yard.

Use original pattern clothing for strap measurements.

Then using my original tee that I measured, I figured out how long to cut the straps. (The bias tape is folded in half at the top.) Make sure to add seam allowance to the ends.

Continue sewing the top.


1. I gathered the front bodice top in slightly so it wouldn’t gape. Not a ton, just a little bit.

2. Then pin a section of bias tape around the raw edges. Top stitch along the edge catching the top and bottom parts of the bias tape in your stitches.

3. For the back, I used this tutorial to finish the edges of the bias tape to fit over the button placket end. Below are the pics/directions anyways! Hop back up here for #4 when you’re done with that!

4. Figure out your buttonhole placement and sew in button holes.

Finishing the edge of bias tape.

1. So unfold your bias tape, then fold it in half, right sides together.

2. Then sew it together (I usually back stitch it the whole way too,) and trim close to your seam.

3. Then turn right side out. (I use a chopstick to get the corner turned out.)

4. Now, slide one corner of your back bodice piece into the bias tape like so, and pin it in.

Sewing the bias strap.

Next for the straps…

1. Take your two pieces of bias tape you cut for the straps, un-fold them, and sew the ends right sides together.

2. Then fold it back up and you’ll have this little loop. Repeat for other strap.

3. Then pin your strap around the armhole in the bodice, lining up the seams at the bottom.

4. Then slowly top stitch around the straps, catching the bottom of the bias tape.

Sew and gather the skirt.

Next gather the skirt to fit the bodice.

Pin bodice and skirt together and sew.

Then pin and sew together. Finish the seam. (I pre-serged the edges.)

Make belt loops.

Next I made 4 belt loops.

1. Cut 4 small pieces of fabric (mine were 1.5″x3″ I think? Use the width of your belt to determine the length.) Press in the raw edges on the long sides to the middle, then in half. Unfold and press the short ends in 1/4″ and refold together and press.

3. Then stitch around the outside edges.

Sew on belt loops.

I pinned two on the front and two on the back of the dress about 2-3 inches from the side seams.

Stitch the belt loops a few times.

Then I stitched back and forth a few times on the top and bottom of each loop.

Thread your belt through and you’re done!

Sweet Posy Dress for a sweet little girl. Easy tutorial!

Hope you liked it! Visit my blog for more tutorials!

Thanks Jess!

Jess is a genius when it comes to beautiful dresses (and other clothes too!) She also created the “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” Sundress for The Ribbon Retreat Blog, and if you love this one, you will love that one too.

Definitely hop on over to Craftiness is not Optional. Not only will you find wonderful tutorials, but Jess is so much fun to read too.

And for the fabric for your beautiful Posy Dress, check out our wonderful selection from your favorite designers. You will not be disappointed!

If you have a fun blog and wonderful tutorials, we would love to have you on The Ribbon Retreat as a contributor! Check out our Project Submission Page for more details and to apply.

Have a great day! ~ Shirley, The Ribbon Retreat Blog Editor

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  1. Alissa
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I love this dress, it originally looked like one flowing piece, but after looking at the tutorial I see the gathers, perfect!


  2. Posted March 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    So cute

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Barbara! Thank you so much! We are so glad you like this fun dress! Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  3. dew
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    hello! this is an amazing dress, i’m thinking of making one for my niece:) but i’m having a bit of trouble understanding the first step and buttons part haha. do you mind explaining them again, so sorry!

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