simple girl’s sundress with flutter sleeves | sewing tutorial

***ETA*** The free pattern in size 4T up! It’s available here: free girl’s flutter sleeve dress or top pattern

Hi all! I have a really fun easy sewing project to share today – it’s a simple sundress with flutter sleeves. I made up a quick pattern using a t-shirt as reference an sewed up this dress in just a few hours. I chose a soft light blue chambray for the dress and added tiny pom pom trim around the hem and sleeves. It’s not pink, it doesn’t look like a princess dress, and my daughter actually likes it – success!

how to make a cute sundress with flutter sleeves sewing tutorial

This tutorial is part of Thirty Days of Sundresses on Melly Sews. I look forward to following along with this series every summer, because you get tons of ideas for summer dresses, both for girls and for adults. Plus, there are weekly giveaways! Click on over to enter this week’s giveaway and check out all the tutorials shared so far.


I just adore this little dress!

how to make a cute sundress with flutter sleeves sewing tutorial

The design of this dress also looks super cute as a top – click through to this post to see an example and get a free pattern in size 4T.


If your little girls doesn’t wear 4T, you can draft your own pattern. Here’s how:


1 – I used a t-shirt that fits my daughter well and freezer paper to trace general shape I wanted from the dress, as you can see in the photo. The only thing I should have done differently is to not cut the arm opening quite so low (I moved the bottom of the armhole up almost 2 inches on the pattern, so if you’re drafting your own you may want to print the pattern for reference). I cut the pattern into two pieces – a bodice piece and a sleeve piece. The bodice piece will get cut on the fold, with the fold being down the center. The sleeve piece will also get cut on the fold, with the fold being over the shoulder.

2 – I retraced the bodice piece, adding an extra 2 inches at the fold.

3 – I retraced the sleeve piece, adding an extra 2 inches at the fold. That gives the dress and sleeves enough extra room to add gathers all around the neckline and shoulders for the “peasant dress” look.

Then I cut two of the bodice (on the fold) and two sleeves (on the fold).


Place bodice pieces RST together and sew down the sides.

Next, finish the bottom edge of the sleeve. You can just hem it, or add trim like I did.

Next I attached the sleeves to the bodice and finished the arm holes with single fold bias tape, as you see below.


I just made some single fold bias tape from the extra fabric for this, although it all gets folded to the inside so you don’t see it – so it doesn’t need to match. Repeat with the other sleeve/arm hole.

Nearly done! We just need to add a casing that goes all the way around the neckline/shoulders to hold some elastic. I used single fold bias tape to create the casing (store bought this time). Attach as shown:


Sew the bias tape to the outside of the neckline, turn and press to the inside, then stitch close to the edge of the tape to create a casing. Use a safety pin to thread elastic through it and gather until the neckline is as small as you’d like (it helps to try it on at this point). Sew the ends of your elastic together and finish the hemline as desired:

how to make a cute sundress with flutter sleeves sewing tutorial

I tied a small bow with a little extra bias tape and hand stitched it to the front of the dress. All done! If anyone’s interested, I’ll try to upload a copy of my pattern in size 4t. Let me know in the comments!

***Remember, the pattern is now available here: girl’s flutter sleeve dress and top free pattern

You can also see what the pattern looks like as a shirt and find and more photos of how to sew the dress (or shirt) in that post. Thanks!

how to make a cute sundress with flutter sleeves sewing tutorial


  1. 1

    Julie R. says

    This is absolutely adorable! I would love the pattern in a 4T. Thanks for sharing how you made the pattern. You make making patterns look so easy and doable. I’m going to be making one for my adorable niece!

  2. 2

    Pam says

    What a great tutorial & pattern. I’d really love it if you posted the pattern! Such a cute dress!!! (& girl!)

  3. 3

    Sue says

    So cute . I need to figure out how to do this for my grandaughter, shes 12 but I think she would love this.

  4. 5


    What a lovely dress! Thank you so much for the great tutorial. I will have to find time to sew a couple of dresses like this for my daughters. I know they will wear them all the time!

  5. 7

    Glenda says

    Have a granddaughter 3T, can’t wait to make this for her. And I have a light weight fabric and this could even make up cute as a summer night gown.
    Thanks for the posting.

    • 8

      Lara says

      That is exactly what I was thinking, my daughter who’s 8 was just complaining yesterday that she needed some more summer nighties.

  6. 10


    How sweet is that???? As I saw the first picture I thought: I’ve to sew it! Looks so great. I love the pompom trim finish. My big girl is a 4T. Would be great to have a pattern 😉
    All the best!

  7. 14

    Shirley says

    I think Brynn needs this dress!!! Someone should come clean my house so I have time to sew. Have I told you how much I love your blog? 🙂

  8. 15

    Etta/Grami says

    I would love to receive the 4T pattern of the cute sundress w/flutter sleeves to make for my four granddaughters.

  9. 18


    I’ve never used bias tape or made a casing like that, but it would be worth it to make a cute dress like that! Crisp and clean and adorable. And my daughter may only be turning two next month, but a size 4 pattern wouldn’t be that much too big for her!

  10. 19

    Kathy says

    I’d love a copy of the pattern! My granddaughter is between a 4 and a 5, but if I add a bit to the seam allowances it should work…?

  11. 20

    Mary says

    My granddaughters do not live close to me, so I do not have a T-shirt to use as a pattern. Do you have the pattern in a 3,4,5T? This is cute summer dress.

  12. 22

    Christina says

    I just picked up a couple of pillowcases to make night gowns for my little girl! I think they might be cute with this, too. I’d love to use the 4t pattern!

  13. 23

    Marsha says

    Would love this cute pattern! My granddaughters live far away so there’s no shirt for me to pattern after.

  14. 28

    Kathleen says

    This is adorable. I have just the fabric for this pattern. 4T is the size that I need as well. Found you on Sew Like My Mom. Thanks !

  15. 30

    Gina says

    This looks so doable and sweet!! Yes, please a 4T would be perfect for my little lady. She’s got long legs so I like to size her up a bit. Thanks for sharing!

  16. 31

    Jennie Kind says

    I have a small stack of pillow cases I’m planning on turning into summer night gowns for my 2.5 year old…perfect neck and sleeves for this…thank you 🙂

  17. 32

    Linda Lee Steaples says

    Oh I love it and I would your pattern in the 4T both my granddaughters or in that size now !!!!!! Thanks for a great tutorial.

  18. 33

    Janet Keown says

    This dress is so simple and cute. I know my granddaughter would love this. Would love to have the pattern. Thank you for sharing.

  19. 36


    Yes! Would love a copy of the pattern. My four year old granddaughter loves to
    wear dresses. This would be perfect & I love the nightgown idea.!!

  20. 37

    Leslie Roberts says

    What a sweet summer dress!!! I have two granddaughters who would love to have Grandma make them a dress. Do I need to do anything to get the pattern?

  21. 38

    RacheL Hancock says

    This is super cute and exactly what I have been looking for – cant wait to make it for my 4 year old! Will be making the top too!!

    Thank you!

  22. 40

    shauna says

    I love this dress! I made one for my little girl and it’s soo cute! I’m excited to see the shirt, too!

  23. 41

    rogershm says

    This is exactly what I have been looking for. Beautiful dress and delighted to see such clear instructions as the pin on pinterest promised! Thank you so much!

  24. 47

    TaMara says

    I just made a dress for my 4 year old and it’s so cute I need to make another one! Your tutorial was very easy to follow. Thank you so much! I’m a very beginner sewer and I made it! Thanks again!!

  25. 49

    Keri says

    Thank you for the pattern, I love simple dresses! Lately, I’ve been on a lace kick, so I’m attempting to make this dress in Navy peach skin fabric with a navy lace overlay….we’ll see how it turns out!

  26. 53

    ANA MARIE TAN says


  27. 54

    Melyana lai says

    Thank you for the great pattern!
    Have made 2 for my 4 years old and they have been on heavy rotation.

  28. 55

    J.carter says

    Several months ago when the Trevon Martin incident happened, and Obama said, ” If I had a son, he would look like Trevon.” I Emailed this pic of your little girl to my friends, with the caption,”If I had a little girl, she would look like this adorable child.” She is so sweet. I smile at each of her pictures and enjoy seeing her as she grows up in your later posts.

  29. 56

    Betty says

    Thanks so much for this lovely tutorial and pattern. I have lots of fabric I have collected over the years and have decided to start making dresses and shorts for the Little Dresses for Africa program. I want a simple dress with a little shoulder coverage. This pattern is perfect! I may adapt it to use a tieable drawstring since once the elastic stretches out, the garment is no longer usable there. Thanks again.

  30. 57

    Jeannette says

    Hi, I am crazy over this flutter by dress and top, I have search your site thoroughly and cannot find a detailed description of the pattern, sizes, amount of material, cutting out, pattern markings etc. I would really appreciate if you could send me a PDF of the thorough pattern. Kind regards Jeannette.

  31. 58

    Jeannette says

    Hi again, my first grandchild is expected end April, so if you could possibly give me a pattern for a 9 month old and then 1 and 2 years old. Many thanks Jeannette

  32. 59

    Susang says

    My daughter in law is a beginner and is looking for the actual printable pattern for this dress. The only one we found is a picture of the pattern. Is there one that is true to size?

  33. 61

    Kaye Hood says

    You did a great job explain how to make the dress in reference to a shirt. … very creative! I’ve got a couple of granddaughters that would look gorgeous in this beautiful spring dress. Thank you for sharing your talent!

  34. 62

    Catherine o'neill says

    Can’t wait to make dresses for Operation Christmas child using this pattern. And for my two 3 year old granddaughters!!! The only thing I don’t see here is how much material should I get for the 4T dress or top. Thank you again!

  35. 63

    Susie says

    Thank you for posting this tutorial and including a free pattern. Supply information would be helpful. You need about 3/4 yard fabric, bias tape, and I assume you used 1/4″ elastic for the neckline

  36. 64

    Mary Ellen says

    I’m doing this today for 2 darling little 3 yo. I’m looking forward to creating
    some cuteness!

  37. 65


    This is first pattern ive sewn not out of a packet and I’m super excited to try it! Just about to start one for my little girl. Thank you!

  38. 66

    Iryna says

    Dear Autumn,
    I am a complete beginner and this was the first pattern I found online and decided to try.
    Your instructions have been so precise that the dress turned out to be beautiful and well-made.
    inspired, I decided to make more for my friends with little or big girls ( you see, I have only sons and have this unrequited itch for flutter sleeves and flowery patterns). By the time of this message, I have made 6 dresses and tops for ages 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 40.
    Thank you,

  39. 68

    Wendy Paull says

    OK. I figured the sleeves out! Wish I could share a pic! Halloween dress for my granddaughter turned out so cute. Thanks for the pattern!

  40. 69

    Diana S says

    Thanks for the tutorial! I just made my daughter one using organic Cloud 9 blue apple fabric with sunshine yellow Pom Pom trim and it’s adorable! I wish I could link a picture!


  1. […] das schnell und einfach zum Erfolg führt.   Gefunden habe ich dieses kostenlose Schnittmuster bei It’s Always Autumn. Das Schnittmuster (unter anderem auch für ein Sommerkleidchen im gleichen Stil), was dort zu […]

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