How to Sew an Infant Dress - no pattern!

Last week, I sewed up this infant dress for my two-month-old daughter. No pattern; I just measured around her and cut and sewed. All the fabric stores are closed due to COVID-19, so I pulled all the fabrics from my stash:

Baby Abigail wearing her new grey and navy dress!
  • The grey fabric is quilting cotton. I had jussssst enough for this project with this little scrap piece. I’ve used this fabric often as an accent fabric, and I’m a bit sad that it’s all used up! Of course, I’m happy to use it up on a gift for my daughter.
  • The blue and white star fabric on the skirt and upper trim is from a very cheap fat quarter fabric set I bought on Aliexpress a few years ago. The fabric is very lightweight. I had bought it for quilting, but the thread count is much lower quality compared to anything else I’ve purchased. Not good for quilting, but it seemed perfect for a summer dress!
  • The gingham fabric on the lining of the straps is from that same fat quarter set. I originally was going to self-line the straps with the same grey, but I was a little short and I didn’t have enough of the blue stars either. I think it turned out cute with the gingham! I absolutely love navy.

Infant Dress Basic How-To

This isn’t going to be a formal tutorial, but I’ll tell you the general measurements that I used to make this dress for my two-month infant daughter and basic assembly instructions.

  • Accent Fabric (Grey)
    • Bodice: cut one 4.5″ x 20″ piece of fabric
    • Ruffle Trim: cut one 4.5″ x 20″ piece of fabric & cut one 4.5″ x 40″ piece of fabric.
    • (Time Saving Tip: When cutting the above fabrics, you can cut two 4.5″ strips from a full width of fabric, then cut one strip in half length wise to form the Bodice and trim.)
    • Straps: two 5″ x 10″ rectangles
  • Main Fabric (Navy Star)
    • Bodice Neckline Binding: cut one 3″ x 20″
    • Skirt: cut one 9″ x 40″ piece of fabric (if using a fat quarter precut fabric, sew together two 9″ x 20″ piece of fabric to form a 9×39.5″ piece with 0.25″ seam allowance)
  • Lining Fabric
    • Straps: two 5″ x 10″ rectangles

Infant Dress Sewing & Assembly

Here are the basic assembly instructions to put together this dress.

  1. Take the bodice binding strip, B, and fold it in half width wise to transform it into a 1.5″ x 20″ strip. Press with an iron. Open again, then fold each edge to meet the middle, transforming it into a 0.75″ x 20″ strip. Press with an iron.
  2. Take the ironed strip and slip the bodice fabric, A, in between the folded binding strip layers. Top stitch into place close to the folded edge. Set aside.
  1. Take the Ruffle Trim fabric, D, and sew strips together to form one long strip. Fold it in half width wise to form a 2.25″ wide strip.
  2. Ruffle the fabric using a Ruffler foot, OR, alternatively, use a basting stitch then gather the fabric by hand. Ruffle it so that the length is 40 inches.
  3. Sew the ruffle to the bottom of the Skirt, C. If you used a Ruffler foot and there is any excess, trim any extra ruffle after sewing into place.
  4. Press the ruffle towards the skirt then top stitch on the skirt close to the ruffle.
  5. Now, gather the top of the Skirt, C, so that the top of the skirt measures 20″. You’ll have something that looks like this:
Top: Skirt C with Ruffle D
Bottom: Bodice A with Bodice Binding B
  1. Sew the skirt, C, to the bottom of the bodice, A.
  2. Now you have the basic shape of the outfit, excluding the straps. Make a very narrow 1/4″ hem along both raw left and right sides of the dress.
  3. Time to make the straps! Pair up the rectangle strap pieces (lining and accent fabric) so that right sides are together. Create a shape like below where the fabric uses the full width at the 5″ ends, then comes in to become a 2″ wide rectangle at the centre, like in the image below. Sew around the perimeter, leaving a gap to turn the straps right side out.
  1. At this point, I put the dress on my daughter and aligned the straps so that the triangles overlap at the centre (almost like wrap-style neckline) and pinned the straps into the desired positions. Stitch into place. At the centre front, there are a lot of layers, so I used the handwheel on my sewing machine to slowly move over those layers to help move everything along.
  2. At the back of the dress, I overlapped the edges of the dress to hand sew on some snaps as closures. I hand-sewed 3 snaps, evenly spaced on the bodice section of the dress, then sewed closed the skirt and ruffle of the dress.

For the purpose of making this dress, I didn’t bother with finishing the edges of the ruffles, etc, with a serger. Babies grow so fast so I kept it simple. If you like you could serge these edges or use a zig zag stitch for longevity.

I hope this mini-tutorial inspires you to create an infant dress of your own!

Ruffler Foot Attachment

While making this project, I really appreciated having my ruffler attachment. Seriously, this thing is awesome. With the ruffler, it was so fast to make this outfit in an afternoon. If you’ve never used one, I recommend checking out my video regarding how to use a ruffler!

How to Attach and Use a Ruffler Foot Attachment

Pin for Later! How I Sewed this Infant Dress

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>