Pattern Review: Puff Sleeve Toddler Dress

Happy Autumn Everyone. It’s been a year since I did this puff sleeve pattern and it has become a favorite on the blog. Many of you have sent in your pictures of this dress and I am so happy the pattern is working for you. This pattern comes in 3 toddler sizes from 24M to 3T. It has a simple bodice top pattern and a layered empire waist bottom. The puff sleeve really makes the dress girly. By using a bright color for the sleeves, you can really make this dress stand out. The back is a button or zipper closure. This fabric comes from the Hipster line at Riley Blake Designs. It’s a bright color that works perfectly for the fall. Enjoy the pattern!


I did the sleeves and a bottom band in complimenting and coordinating bright orange. I think it really brought out the design of the orange dots.

The pattern is a simple bodice and bottom A-line dress that is gathered in the center. Super simple to make!

The puff sleeves are so simple to do and really makes the dress a bit more fun for a toddler. Usually I do elastic cuffs but this puff cuff (I am sure it has a real name) won it for me for this design.

I wanted to add a flower or do a waist band but I thought it would take away from the beauty of the fabric design so I just left it plain. I will do a pretty flower in Mila’s hair when she wears it.

I love how pretty it turned out. If you do yours please post it so I can see how it looks.

Here is what you need to make this dress
1 yard cotton
1 yard lining cotton
1/2 coordinating solid cotton
2 big buttons

Download the pattern HERE. There is a 12M, 2T and 3T pattern. If your child is normal for her size per age, you dont need to add seam allowance. 1/2″ seam allowance is built into the pattern. However, if you child is slightly large, you can 1/2″ seam allowance when you cut out the pattern.

After you cut all your pieces you should have the following:

2 front bodice (1 lining, 1 outer)
4 back bodice (2 lining, 2 outer)
2 sleeves
1 main bottom (Cut from pattern or measure 2X waist of child x desired length). Mine was 40″x 12
I bottom band (2X waist of child x 3″)
Optional: (2″x1″ strips for button hooks)

Lets get started:

Step 1- the bodice

Sew the lining and the outer pieces of your front and back pieces right sides together as illustrated by the red lines below (sorry the lines are so faint)

After you turn you pieces inside out and iron (iron with starch to get a clean look), they will look like:

Step 2- piecing the front and back bodice
To get a clean polished look on your bodice you want o sew it so that there are no exposed seams. To so that you need to sew the lining pieces to each other and the outer fabrics together, using the opening that you left on the upper arm. Sew together the tops of the bodice pieces. Don’t sew close the opening. When we sew the sleeves those will be sewn together. We will also do the underarm sides later.

Step 3- the sleeves
Double fold the bottom of the sleeves, iron and sew close ( sewed mine close at the end but I think its best to do it on this step). Serge or zig-zag the other end of the sleeves. Gather the middle part of the sleeve and with right sides together pin the curved part of your sleeves all around the arm of your bodice. Sew 1/4″ on your machine.

Step 4-make the puff on the sleeves
Take a long piece of 1/4″ elastic (about the length of your sleeve) and sew it on one end of the bottom of the sleeve on the beginning of the fold you did earlier. Sew back and forth a few times to make sure it is really secure. Then, stretch the elastic as far as you can with one hand and sew down stretching the elastic as you sew. It helps to go slow and guide the fabric with the other hand. Cut out the left over elastic when you reach the end.

Step 5-close the bodice and sleeve
Again, with right sides together, sew the lining pieces and outer pieces together. You can then sew the sleeves close by sewing right side pieces together.

Step 6- the bottom
Take your 3″ strip and fold both long sides in 1/4″. Iron down. Once that’s fold down, fold it in the center and iron down. Leave it aside. Take your main piece and double fold 1/2″. Sew both pieces together with the folded 3″ strip fitting under the main piece. I also top stitched the entire thing when I was done to give it a finish look.

Step 7-sew bottom to top
Serge or zig-zag the edges of the bodice and the bottom piece. With the largest stitch length, sew 2  stitches 1/4″from the top of your bottom piece and pull to gather. I like doing two pull stitches to get it more secure. After that, I pin the bottom piece to the bodice piece right sides together and sew close.

Step 8- finish up
Sew the sides of the bottom piece close and serge or zig-zag to prevent fraying. For a closure, you can do button holes of make loops. I made loops for mine. I did 2″x1″ fold each end in and then fold in the middle. I then top stitch close. Fold in half and sew about 2″ apart on the back. Sew on the buttons and you are done.


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