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Smocked Toddler Dress Tutorial

A very simple smocked dress can easily be made by purchasing pre-smocked fabric.  The finished product is so cute, you’ll want to make several of them. 

Purchase the width of pre-smocked fabric that you’ll need for the child’s chest measurement plus 1″ for seam (1/2″ side seam) plus 1″ for growing room.

You’ll notice that the smocked fabric has a little ruffled edge that is finished and the bottom of  is the unfinished area for hemming.

How to make the straps:

I cut off the bottom of the smocked fabric just under the border print design.  The solid color at the bottom makes perfect straps.

Fold the strip just cut in half with right sides together.  Sew the long length, then turn right side out and press.

Sewing the dress:

With right sides together, pin and sew the dress seam.  There will be one seam, which I’ll use later as the center back seam.  Sew a shirt tail hem (double fold 1/4″ hem) along the bottom edge.  You can barely see the seam down the middle and the small hem at the bottom, but it’s there!

Attaching the straps:

Position the dress seam at the center back, then mark the center front with a pin.  Pin the straps so they’ll be 2-3″ away from the center on each side in the front.  Cross the straps and pin them 2-3″ on both sides of the center seam in the back.  Check the positions on the child before stitching them permanently.   The crossing of the straps in the back keeps the straps on the shoulders and not constantly falling off.


I’ve done a “double” of the smocked dresses for my 3 1/2 year old granddaughters (they are half of a set of quadruplets).  Now the little boys want me to make them “something” – they don’t care what – just make something!

Here are the little girls — Sarah on the left and Sienna on the right modeling the dresses.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


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