Free Pattern The Brooklyn Empire Dress

As much as I am dreading it, we are starting to say goodbye to summer. With my 3 year old still refusing to wear anything but dresses and skirts, I decided to draft this 3/4 sleeve empire waist dress pattern so she can still wear dresses in the colder months ahead. The pattern is a simple front button closure, high waist, knee length dress with long sleeves. I will show you how to draft your own pattern in an upcoming post or you can use the one I provide here. The pattern comes in 2T t0 5T sizes because I am new at pattern grading and I actually had to measure a child in each age group to get the individual patterns. I couldn’t find anyone older than 6 so the pattern stops at 5T.  The pattern comes with an optional pocket pattern which adds a nice girly touch to the dress. The pattern is super easy to create, so you can do one in any size. The dress is completely lined which makes it thick/heavy for colder weather. I did two different patterns; one for knit fabrics and one for woven fabrics. The knit pattern is bit smaller than the woven pattern and does not require lining. I am planning on sewing up a dress using the knit pattern this week.  I am also planning on doing some baby sizes in this pattern in the months ahead so stay tuned! Thanks for visiting and enjoy the pattern!

Brooklyn Dress

This is Brooklyn, my neighbor’s 5 year old who agreed to be my model for the pattern. My 3 year old refused to cooperate so I paid Brooklyn with a free dress to model for me:-). This fabric is from Joann’s and its called Faine Sterling from Keepsake Calico. It is accented with a Kona Cotton red cotton on the sleeves and some big bright red buttons on the front.

I added two small pockets on the side. Brooklyn loved the pockets so I think it was a good idea.


Here she is from the back. I love how cute the red bows are with the dress!



I got my 3 year old to stand for 2 minutes to take a picture for me in her dress. For her dress, I used a polka dot red silk for the main fabric and red Kona cotton for the lining. The sleeves are shorter than Brooklyn’s dress.

Brooklyn 4

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Many thanks to Brooklyn for modeling for me. She is a natural and the dress looks so cute on her!

Brooklyn 3

Your Supplies

Note: The pattern DOES NOT account for seam allowance (sorry, I am still learning how to do this in my software). You will need to cut the pattern 1/2″ extra all around the pattern except on the lines where it says “Cut on Fold” to account for the seam allowance. All raw edges of fabric were serged to prevent fraying. You can print your cotton pattern HERE and your knit pattern HERE.

Bottom Measurement (2 main pieces and 2 lining pieces)

Width- around the underarm

Length- underarm to middle of knee

Lining length -underarm to middle of knee then subtract 2″.

Brooklyn’s waist was 20″ and her measurement from arm to middle of knee was 18″. So, her 2 main pieces were 20″x 18″ and her 2 lining pieces were 20″ x16″.


Step 1- The bodice

When you cut out the pattern for the bodice, you will have 2 back bodice (1 main, 1 lining), 4 front bodice ( 2 main, 2 lining), and 2 sleeves

First take your two front bodice and sew them together to the back right sides together a the arm.


Repeat for the lining.


Place the lining on the main bodice right sides together and sew following the black lines.


Turn the bodice inside out and iron.


Now, take the shoulders of the main fabric and sew right sides together.


Repeat for the lining.


Turn inside out and top stitch following the black line.


Step 2- The sleeves

If you want to add a border at the bottom of the sleeves, cut a 2″ strip the width of the bottom of the sleeve. Fold in half and sew it to the bottom the sleeves right sides together.

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Fold the sleeve in half and sew down.


Pin the right side of the sleeve to the right side of the arm hole. Make small gathers at the top to make the sleeve fit the arm hole.

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Repeat the process for the other sleeve.

Step 3- Finish up the top

Take a marker and mark where you need your 3 button holes to be. Make the button holes using your button hole foot on your machine. I am horrible at doing button holes so forgive the messy sewing job:-). Luckily my model couldn’t notice.

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Bring the two sides of the front bodice together and pin the bottom. Set the top aside.


Step 4- Optional- Pockets

Skip this step if you are not putting in pockets. If you are putting pockets, cut 4 pieces of your pocket pattern.

To do the pockets, I actually watched this video. I am planning on taking some pictures on putting on pockets which I will share this weekend. Stay tuned and I hope the video works. You essentially put the pockets on the main skirt, then fit your lining inside. Sewmccool has a simple tutorial on how to add pockets.

Step 5- Finishing the bottom

Sew the main bottom pieces right sides together..

Sew a 1″ hem on the bottom of the  main piece. Serge the bottom of the lining or sew a 1/2″ hem.


Fit the lining into the main bottom piece as shown below.


Sew a gather stitch (longest stitch on the machine) on top of the skirt about 1″ from the top. Pull the thread so that the skirt fits the top.


Fit the top into the skirt, right sides together. Pin and sew all the way around.

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Put on the buttons on the top and you are done!

Brooklyn 2

Brooklyn Empire Dress Pattern

Thanks for visiting and Happy Sewing!



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