Tuesday, June 11, 2013

lola dress free pattern and tutorial

I blogged about this dress here back in April, and I finally got around to creating a digital pattern and writing up a tutorial :)  This dress is a size 2, but with minor modifications could be made to fit from 12 months to size 3.  Look for the red font in the tutorial for tips on how to size it up or down. Just a warning before you cut anything - these modifications are just estimates. I have not tried them personally and you may want to double check the measurements of the pattern against your child's measurements or clothing that currently fits her well.

Unlike my bib tutorial, this is intended for sewers who are familiar with gathering and attaching bias bindings.  If you have any trouble understanding a step, please leave a comment and I will try to help :)

Click HERE or at the picture at the bottom of this page to get the pattern.  If you make something from this pattern, please upload it to my flickr group!  And lots of thanks to Dana at Made who generously allowed me to post a pattern based on one she made.  Thanks Dana!

Pattern Pieces:
Front & Back (from pdf pattern)
Add 1" to the length and the width of both the front and back pattern pieces for size 3 or subtract 1/2" from width and 1" from length for 12-18 months
Skirt - 9" x 44" rectangle (my fabric was only 42" wide and it worked fine) - cut 1.5" longer for size 3 or 1" shorter for 12-18 months

Bias Binding:
Back - 7" - 8" for size 3, 6.5" for 12-18 months
Front - 9" - 10" for size 3, 8.5" for 12-18 months
Armholes - 13" (cut 2) - 13.5" for size 3 and 12" for 12-18 months

Use 3/8" seam allowance for entire pattern

1. Print two copies of the pdf.  Tape together and cut one copy along the solid line for the front bodice and the other copy along the dashed line for the back bodice.  For size 3 and 12-18 months, be sure to make the appropriate changes to the bodice pieces before cutting. Cut all skirt and bias binding using the measurements above.

2. Using your preferred gathering method (machine gathering or pulling bobbin thread), gather front bodice in between marks on pattern to fit bias binding, pin well and sew. Repeat for back bodice.  I used contrasting thread to make it easier to see in pictures, but you can use a thread that blends in to the fabric to help hide mistakes as well :)  There are also alternative ways to attach bias bindings which will work with this pattern too.  You should use whatever method you like best.

3. Trim front and back bias binding at the same angle as the armholes.  This will make it easier to attach the armhole binding in step 5.

4. Sew/serge bodice side seams right sides together.  Press seams toward the back if serged and press open if sewn.

5. Sew short ends of armhole bias bindings right sides together to form a circle.

6. Pin binding to armholes, lining up seams and sew.

7. Sew/serge center back seam on skirt.

8. Gather the top of the skirt to fit lower edge of bodice.  Sew/serge together.  Sorry the first picture is so blurry!

9. Press seam up toward bodice. Topstitch bodice about 1/8" from edge of skirt for finished look.

10. Fold under the bottom edge of the skirt 1" and then 1" again and hem in place.

I made this version slightly less fitted than my first version because I was going for a really casual look, and this is much closer to an actual size 2.  I like the changes, and I hope you do too!  These pictures give a better idea of the adjusted fit.

And this picture is going in this blog post because there is no way I couldn't put it on here :)

If you didn't download the pattern above, just click on the picture of Mae below to get your copy of the Lola dress.  And remember to upload your creations to my flickr group!

Both the grey suiting material and the navy blue star print are from Joann's.  The suiting is from this year and, although the star print is from several years ago, Joann's always carries a similar print with their July 4th collection.


  1. Cute! Thanks for sharing in the Flickr group.

    1. You welcome! I hope people enjoy sewing the Lola dress.

  2. Sewed up your Lola dress today. It's beautiful! Thanks for the pattern.

    1. I'm glad you liked the pattern! I would love to see pictures - you can add them to the Flick group if you want - http://www.flickr.com/groups/climbingthewillow/

  3. I'm in love with the gray one. Did you just gather it tighter, or is it less fabric? Thanks! It looks fabulous!

    1. The gray one was an earlier version with a narrower bodice. And as much as I like how it looks, it is rather difficult to get on and off because of how narrow it is.

  4. Sweet Lola dresses! Thanks for sharing this good helpful tutorial.