girl’s flutter sleeve dress or top sewing tutorial & free pattern in 4T

Last week I shared a sewing tutorial for a girl’s flutter sleeve sundress and said I’d work on getting a pattern uploaded if people were interested. I was excited that so many of you asked for a copy of the pattern! I’ve drawn up the pattern (in size 4T only) and you can download it for free later on in this post. Those of you with girls other sizes could use the pattern as reference along with the instructions from the original flutter sleeve dress post to draft your own pattern – there’s only 2 pieces so it’s pretty simple.

And I thought this same pattern would probably look cute as a top, too, so I included a cut line on the pattern so you can use it to make either a dress or a shirt! Today’s post will give a few more details on how to sew either a dress or top from this pattern.


I used mini (3/8 inch) pom pom trim again to finish the sleeves and hem because it was so darn cute on the first version – and my daughter loves it. I found it at Joann Fabrics for $2.99 for a roll of 2 yards.


The first version I made was cut a little low under the arm, so I fixed that in this version.

how to sew a darling flutter sleeve dress or top for a little girl + free pattern

(I made this top from a shirt I thrifted for no particular reason other than that I loved the print.)

how to sew a darling flutter sleeve dress or top for a little girl + free pattern

You can get the free flutter sleeve top and dress pattern in size 4T by clicking here. It’s a 3 page PDF. You’ll want to be sure the printer settings say actual size or 100%. I’ve included a box on the third page that should measure exactly 1 inch when printed.

Print out the pattern and tape it together as you can see below. Don’t trim anything from the paper; just butt the edges up against each other and tape. Then cut out the pattern. Please note that I made this pattern to my daughter’s measurements and she is 3.5 years old and wears a 4T in clothes from the store. However, she’s fairly petite for her age, so if the girl you are sewing for is tall you will want to add some length (once it’s finished you can use a shoulder to knee measurement to decide exactly where to hem). The pattern has 3/8 inch seam allowance built in.


You’ll want to cut 2 sleeve pieces, both on the fold, and two dress pieces, again both on the fold.


Start sewing:


Add the trim and finish the bottom edge of the sleeve:


The under arms and neckline are finished with 1/2 inch single fold bias tape. It’s called single fold, but there are actually two folds in it. It looks like this:


Attach the sleeves to the dress (I’ve used photos from both the dress and top to try to best show the steps):

how to sew a darling flutter sleeve dress or top for a little girl + free pattern

These steps were a little hard to photograph, so I hope this makes sense. If you’ve never used bias tape before you may want to read this tutorial.


Make a casing for your elastic along the neckline:


When you topstitch (in photo #2 above), do it from the underside so you can sew as close to the edge of the bias tape as possible. Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through. If your daughter is on the short side, you might want to use 21 inches of elastic instead of 22.

If any of the steps seem confusing, you can visit the original flutter sleeve dress sewing tutorial for a few more photos.


Thanks everyone – have a great week!

You might also like:

How to get a great smile from your toddler for photos

How to sew a quick swim cover-up for a little girl

how to sew a darling flutter sleeve dress or top for a little girl + free pattern


  1. 7

    Bonnie says

    Thank you for this most recent and awesome tute! (I love all your tutorials). And can I just say your daughter is ADORABLE?! I think it’s her smile, especially 🙂

  2. 8

    Jean says

    Made this up this afternoon. So cute and perfect! It would have gone even faster if I had not made so many dumb mistakes!

    • 9

      Janey says

      Do you mind me asking how much fabric you needed to make this? I want to order some online but not sure how much to order. Thanks in advance x

  3. 12

    sherry bradley says

    What a little cutie, dressed like a little doll. This would be so cute on MY little doll ! Thanks.

  4. 15

    Tanja Grauls says

    Thanks a lot fot the pattern!!! I made the top and the dress! My daughter loves them!!!! xxx Tanja from Belgium

  5. 16

    Danita says

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I was looking for something quick and easy to make my SIZE 4 granddaughter to send in the mail. This is perfect!!! I am getting too old to cope with paper patterns and I look to wonderful bloggers like you for inspiration. My piles of fabric are starting to go down…and my husband can’t believe it! So thanks again for such lovely and uncomplicated designs! Beauty and simplicity in one!

    P.S. I found you on Pinterest and I will sign up for your blog asap! 🙂

  6. 18

    Jill says

    I added length and made the cutest flannel nightgown for my granddaughter! She loved it and now I’m working on another one. Love that it’s easy enough to finish in an afternoon.

  7. 19

    pixiedust says

    thanks for this pattern. i followed your board because most of your DIY’s are easy to follow. i have also a 3 1/2yo daughter so your patterns really fit her size. God bless u more!

  8. 20

    Anna E says

    I’ve just made this in a couple of hours – thanks for sharing, it’s so pretty and I have a delighted little girl!

  9. 22

    Segwyne says

    I loved making this! It took me an hour and a half (I do have lots of experience sewing clothes), and about a yard of fabric. I didn’t have the pom-pom trim, so I just serged the edges of the sleeves, turned them, and stitched them down. About half way through the first sleeve, I realized I had turned it the wrong direction, toward the right side instead of the wrong side for a hem. My daughter now has beautiful serged sleeve decoration. I decided I liked how it looked and continued instead of ripping it out and fixing it. It might be useful to add that for the neck bias tape, the ends should be folded over and butted instead of overlapped so you have an opening through which to thread the elastic.

    This was an awesome tutorial. Thank you very much.

  10. 24

    Debra says

    Just whipped this out tonight for my little girl since most of the school clothes we bought are for fall. Made a big boo boo and sewed the collar bias to the wrong side but it coordinates, so I didn’t even bother switching it. She loves it and it’s super cute! Thanks a bunch!

  11. 26

    Deb Watts says

    Very cute top and generous of you to provide pattern and tutorial. I would like to make a size 3. What would I need to do to amend the pattern – perhaps print it at a percentage less than 100%?


  12. 31

    beverley MILLER says

    Thank you so much for sharing this precious little pattern and tutorial. I know that I will be making many of them for all the precious little angles I know.

  13. 33


    Hi! Thanks so much for sharing this pattern! I’ve turned it into a rainbow tunic for St. Patty’s and am featuring your tutorial in my post tomorrow 🙂 Thanks again!

  14. 35


    I just whipped one of these up for my almost-4 daughter! It looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it on her tomorow. Thanks for a great pattern.

  15. 36

    Mehtaab says

    Hey there, really liked the pattern and the dress, i have already cut out the dress, now i need to build it, wow, its coming good….. Well dear your little one is just so cute…… I will send you the pic, when I finish the dress with my little one.
    Take care


  16. 37

    Alice says

    Thank a ZILLION…I sew for the under developed countries making drindle skirts for 3 to 14 years but using too much material and elastic and time. I have been looking for this pattern for two years, perfect for the warmer climates and at 81years old it will be less of a hassle and will enable me to keep going for another few have made my day…thanks again Alice R.

  17. 38

    Birgit says

    Dear Maria,

    I really love your little top and dress and would be happy to sew it for my daughter. Unfortunately I can’t download the pattern. The site simply doesn’t open. Is there another way to get it?

    Love to hear from you!

    Greetings from Germany

  18. 41

    ANNA says

  19. 46


    Thanks a lot for this adorable idea, the free pattern and the explanations! I made a top and I just love it! Unfortunately I have no daughter (she would wear nothing else this summer) so I have to find an other girl I can sew for 🙂
    I also like the explanation about how to adjust the pattern to an other size. To know things like that will be also useful for other patterns I think.
    Thank you so much for sharing …

  20. 47

    claudia says

    thank you sooooo much for sharing his pattern its beautiful, I’m very glad with the result, my daughter loves it!!! Kisses from Venezuela!

  21. 48

    hemlata says

    Dear autumn. Thanks for sharing this. I am new to sewing. I drafted the pattern using her some old dress. and it came out perfect except length was little shorter (my mistake). when I put elastic .so I made a bottom ( pajama type) with ruffle. and the complete dress looks awesome. Thanks.

  22. 51

    Molly says

    Thank you so much for the sweet pattern. I’ve been searching for something that is simple and has a whisper of a sleeve to make for the Little Dresses for Africa charity. This will be perfect!

  23. 54

    Amanda Armstrong says

    I’m dying to make this for my daughter, but I can’t find where I actually print the pattern. When I click on the link, it just refreshes the page. Please help!

  24. 55


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    and еҳϲᥱⅼⅼᥱnt stylе ɑnd dᥱsіɡn.

  25. 56

    Sally says

    What a gorgeous pattern!! I was trying to find another tutorial for a flutter sleeve dress and your page popped up in the Google search. This pattern is a lot nicer than the one I was looking for! A real find!! Thank you so much for sharing, modelled beautifully as well! I’ve signed up for email updates and look forward to hearing more about your makes. Thank you.

  26. 57

    Holly says


    I was wondering if this dress can be made without any binding? Can I just turn the edges under and sew them rather than using any binding tape? It’s a darling dress.


  27. 60

    Maca says

    Hi! Thanks a lot for this great patter! I have a question: my girl is almost 6, what would be a good way for me to translate your 4T pattern into a 6-6X? Adding X inches somewhere? Thanks!

  28. 61

    Tammy says

    So cute! Thank you so much for posting this tutorial and sharing the pattern. I can’t wait to make this dress for one of my grand daughters!

  29. 65

    Wendy Paull says

    Just one correction. The sleeves should get seen on WRONG sides together. The picture says right sides together, but shows the correct way to do it. Thanks for the pattern! Adorable fabric too!

  30. 66

    Albina says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful pattern, will definitely sew it. But unfortunately can’t download the PDF pattern. Where can I find it?

  31. 67

    Jenny says

    Thank you for this pattern! It was easy to follow and fun to make. I used 2 of my husbands old dress shirts as the material and LOVE how it turned out. I’ll be making more! I’d love to share a picture of my finished top.


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