{Step-by-Step Sewing} Easy DIY Girls Shift Dress

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This easy DIY Girls Shift Dress is a fantastic way to use up scrap material and is super easy to whip up in no time at all! So make yourself a culpa, get the sewing machine out and enjoy some therapeutic sewing for an hour or so :)

What you will need:
Cotton Fabric (Thin,  workable fabric. Nothing too stiff) in the colour of your choice. I'm using different colours for front and back today.

To determine how much you will need:
Measure your small child from shoulder to knee to estimate how long your dress needs to be. To this measurement, add 3cm for your bottom seam and 5cm for the top seam.

To determine the width:
If making for small child, you will need approx. 50cm (This includes any side seams)
For an older girl, try anything from 55cm - 60cm

For the ribbons:
I had enough fabric to make some fabric ties using the same material but, if you can't manage to squeeze this extra use out of your scrap fabric, plain ribbon will work just fine and will make the dress even faster to whip up.
The length of the ribbon or ties should be the same as the width of your dress and if making them out of the fabric, 6cm wide.


  • To get started, cut your fabric to size using the previous measurements and be sure to iron the pieces out nicely
  • Pin the two dress pieces together, back side facing up
  • To make room for the arms, from each top corner of your fabric, measure in 9cm. Go back to the corners and measure down 16cm. Join these points with a ruler and pencil and cut
  • Measure a 1cm seam along these cuts. Pin and sew
  • Complete for both front and back pieces
  • To create out top seam, fold the top of each piece down 5cm (this allows enough room to thread through our ribbon or ties) and pin
  • Sew across this seam all the way across to the edges of our arm seams
  • With this complete, the last seam to create is at the bottom of the dress. Pin each piece up 3cm and sew
  • With both sides of the dress now complete, lay one on top of the other and pin into place, being sure that the back side is front side up and the front piece of the dress is good side down
  • Sew along both side seams and turn right side out
  • At this point, you may need to iron or press the dress so far again

If you are creating your own fabric ties:
  • You will have already cut two pieces the same length of the width of your dress and each piece will have a 6cm width
  • You're going to want to grab your iron
  • Iron each piece in half and unfold so that this new middle crease can be seen
  • Fold in a tiny amount of fabric on each end to create a nice finished look at the end of your ties
  • Fold in each side to meet in the middle and press
  • Fold this piece in half again and press well
  • Now go back to your sewing machine and sew along the very edge of this seam ensuring both sides of the fabric are being caught by the machine

Threading your ties and/or ribbon
  • To thread either your handmade ties or plain ribbon, place a safety pin through one end of each piece and shimmy it through the neck seam

To Complete the Dress
  • To complete the dress, hold each end of the ribbons and push the dress fabric into the centre of the ties to create a ruches effect at the neck line and a pleated effect down the centre of the dress
  • The dress is really easy to get little ones into and once they're in, simply tie the ribbons together at each shoulder

(NOT so easy, getting a nice photo of your little one WEARING the dress!)

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