backyard sundress

Have I mentioned before that my 4 year old ONLY wears dresses?  In fact, she probably hasn’t worn a pair of shorts or pants- besides leggings or pj’s- in almost a year…. While I think it’s cool she’s got a strong sense of…a-hem…style… I’ll be honest and say, yeah… it bothers me slightly that I have a stash of pants and shorts that just sit in her closet while she recycles the same 3 dresses each week.

Anyway, the girl could use some new ones.

I have a lot of home-sewn ideas for her in my head that are looming around.  Just not a lot of time to dedicate to the sewing machine these days. So, I really wanted to create a simple dress that wouldn’t require too much planning, thinking, or cutting or tracing of any pattern pieces (all those beignet skirt pieces burned me out).  Something where I could just keep the measurements and some notes handy, and whip up one whenever I had an hour free.   

I’m happy to say, this is it! 

Here’s how it rates on Ellery’s Wearability Scale (1-10):

comfort: 10.  She wore this 5 days in a row (i kid you not) and slept in it once…

twirlability: a solid 8.

pinkaliciousness: 8.  there is enough pink here to satisfy both daughter AND mother (if ya know what i mean).

backyard capabilities: off the charts!  This dress can easily adapt to tricycle riding, firefly catching, toad-spotting, garden grazing, sandbox-squatting and hill rolling.  It’s loose where it needs to be loose, and snug where it needs to be snug.

  A bit about the fabric:  It’s a ‘specialty’ seersucker from Joann’s… definitely higher quality than their normal seersucker.  I bought a few yards at 40% off…It’s so soft and light.  I love the dusty rose color, and the hints of yellow and purple. 


And can you see the gold thread running through it (better in person)? Adds just the right amount of snazz. 

As far as the design goes, I was inspired by Rae’s spring ruffle top (Caroline made a couple, here and here), the simple band around the chest, the gathered skirt, and the ruffle straps.  My kid seems to prefer dresses that are long, so i made sure it was a few inches above her ankles. For the straps I cut a long piece of fabric, folded it, then cut along the raw edges getting wider as I got to the center (so the ruffles at the center of the strap would extend almost to the end of her shoulders).  Then, I shifted the top layer over just a bit so you can see the under layer of fabric, and sewed in a casing for elastic along the fold.  Easy as can be.  I left the ruffled edges raw, but later zig zag stitched them so they wouldn’t get too fray-crazy.  

I like the almost-unfinished look it gives, as if this dress doesn’t take itself too seriously… 

though it is seriously loved by this girl.

Bless her little tomato-pickin’ heart. 


***if anyone would be interested in a little how-to, please let me know in the comments.  I plan on making a couple more of these soon and am happy to put a tutorial together to share with you***

15 thoughts on “backyard sundress

  1. omigosh how you were describing your little gal’s needs (twirl, comfort, pink-factor) is exactly what i must take into consideration when i sew for mine! what i’m saying is, YES PLEASE TUTORIAL PLEASE!

  2. This dress is an absolute dream! No wonder your daughter won’t wear anything else. Were I her, I wouldn’t either. I’m totally bookmarking this because if/when I have kids – I’m making them one of these. Even if its a boy.

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