Gumdrop Dress

I'm so excited to share my first dress pattern! This pattern was inspired by a dress my friend asked me to reproduce and affectionately termed the "apple dress." Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any cute apple material but found this adorable "gumdrop" knit fabric.

Since Christmas is approaching, and I have a ton of Christmas sewing still left to do, I was only able to draft a size 4/5 at this time. After the holidays are over, I plan to grade this pattern to other sizes, if there is enough interest. Although it is a size 4/5, the loose knit version actually fits my 7 year old!

This dress was originally drafted for a woven material because I think it's a little easier and cheaper to find cute prints in this type of fabric. Since I didn't want to waste my good fabric on my first draft of this dress, I decided to try it first on... my kids' shower curtain. Yep, you heard me. A shower curtain. It was still in pretty good shape after I washed it and it has a cute Princess print, which I knew my little one would love. The first version went well. I just made a boo boo on the circle skirt and it became a scalloped circle skirt instead, which in retrospect went really well with the Princess curtain dress. I just accented the hem by trimming the bottom with some ric rac... something I learned from the Retro Glam skirt pattern.

The back bodice has a button closure and a sash is included for a tighter fit.

And you totally can't see the dress in the next photo --  I just wanted to include a picture of how most of the photo shoot went. 

After I drafted this first version, I decided that it would not be that much more work to include a knit version as well. It was a little more difficult that I originally thought but in the end, I think it works out great to include both versions. In addition to the two different fabric versions, I have included the circle skirt or gathered skirt option and a straight or a gathered sleeve hem option. The sash is optional and can be included for either knit or woven versions. Below are some examples of the different options.

Please note: If you are using a directional print, it is best to make the gathered skirt option.Below is the Gumdrop Dress version. I didn't really like working with knits until I worked with this fabric. I think my love/hate relationship with knits has to do with the quality of the fabric. The thin knits roll up at the ends and are super annoying to work with. This thick knit has made me understand why so many people love sewing with knits.

For the holiday season, I made the following Christmas version:

I made the following knit "Monkey Doodle" version for my little monkey.

She was pretty much done with the photo session after this picture...

And her big sister was pretty sad that the little one got four new dresses... so I let her try on the Monkey Doodle dress and guess what.. it fits!

Gumdrop Dress Free Pattern and Tutorial

~1.5 yards of woven (any apparel fabric that stretches on the bias) or knit (medium to heavy) fabric
(sorry, I didn't measure the yardage -- but 1 yard is definitely not enough, especially if using knit that shrinks)
buttons (optional)
Finished chest size = 26"
Finished waist size = 26"

1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted
RST = Right Sides Together

1. Knit Bodice
2. Woven Bodice with Button Closure (Optional Sash)
3. Circle Skirt
4. Gathered Skirt
1-2AFront Bodice Lining (Woven)Cut 1 Main or Contrast
3CFront V NecklineCut 1 Contrast for Woven
Cut 2 Contrast for Knit
4-5BBack BodiceCut 4 Main on Solid Line (no fold) for Woven (reverse 2)
Cut 1 Main on Dotted Line (fold) for Knit 
2,5EBack Bodice Interfacing (Knit)Cut 1 Main
6DFront BodiceCut 2 Main (Reverse 1 side)
7-8FSleeveCut 2 Main (Cut on dotted line for gathered sleeve hem)
8-9GFront WaistbandCut 1 Contrast  
8-9 HSleeve CuffCut 2 Contrast 
9n/aOther MeasurementsFor Optional Sash and Gathered Skirt
10-17ICircle SkirtCut 1 Main 


Step 1: Place the one Front V Neckline (C) on top of the other one (RST), pin and sew together as shown.
Step 2: Clip the edges as shown. It is very important to alternate the clips between the two layers so that you get a nice clean seamline when you turn it inside out.
Step 3: Turn the V neckline inside out and iron flat. Sew a stay stitch 1/8" from the edges as shown.
Step 4: Take the Front Bodice (D), measure 2" from the edge of the curved part, sew a stay stitch 1/8"from the edge between the two marks and clip as shown. Repeat for the other piece.
Step 5: Pin the front bodice to one side of the V neckline (RST). Make sure the orientation is correct. Pin the two ends first, then stretch the front bodice at the clips to fit the V neckline. Sew together as shown. Repeat for the other side.
Step 6: Turn over and iron down the seams.
Step 7: Place the Front Waistband (G) on top of the Front Bodice (RST), pin and sew together as shown. Serge or zip zag to finish raw edges (optional). Iron seam down toward the bottom edge. (Note: If you want to attach a sash to the knit dress, do so now after you complete Step 7. See Optional Sash in the Woven Bodice instructions, Step 2).
Step 8: Place the Back Bodice Neck Interfacing (E) on the Back Bodice (B) piece (RST). Pin and sew together as shown.
Step 9: Alternate the clips between the two layers as shown in A. Press the seam towards the edge of the interfacing as shown in B. Understitch 1/8" from the seam ditch on the interfacing side so that the interfacing lays towards the back as shown in C. Iron in place as shown in D.
Step 10: Place the Front and Back Bodice pieces together (RST) and attach at the shoulder seam as shown in A. Serge or zig zag raw edge (optional). Turn the seam to the back bodice side, and understitch as shown in B.
Step 11: Open up the bodice and pin one sleeve to the sleeve opening on one side of the bodice (RST). Pin the two ends together first and ease the rest of the sleeve into the opening. Sew as shown. Repeat for the other side.
Step 12: Sleeve Cuff attachment. Fold the cuff (H) in half and iron. For the gathered cuff, sew a gathering line 1/8" from the bottom sleeve (F) edge 1.5" from each side and pull the thread to gather to the length of the sleeve cuff as shown in A. For the gathered and straight cuff attachment, line the edge of the cuff to the bottom edge of the sleeve, pin and sew 2" from the edges as shown in B. Take the cuff with right sides together, pin and a sew together as shown in C. Fold the sleeve in half to line up the seams, pin and sew as shown in D. Serge or zig zag to finish the raw edge (optional). Open up the cuff seam and line it up with the sleeve seam as shown in E. Pin and attach the remainder of the cuff to the sleeve as shown in F. Serge or zig zag to finish the raw edge (optional). Repeat on the other side.


Step 1: Skip Steps 1-3 in the instructions for the knit bodice above. Assemble the front bodice as described in Steps 4-7 above. The back of the front bodice should look like the photo shown. Serge or zig zag the raw edges (optional).
Step 2: Optional Sash Fold the two sash pieces in half (RST) and iron. Measure 3.5" from one end and draw a diagonal line. Sew together as shown in A. Use your favorite turning tool to turn the two sash pieces inside out and press with an iron as shown in B. Line the two sashes with the top of the waistband (RST) and attach with a 1/8" seam allowance as shown in C. (Note: When attaching the bodice pieces together in the following steps, be sure to keep the sashes tucked in where the right sides are facing each other.)
Step 3: Place two Back Bodice (B) pieces on top of the Front Bodice (RST) and attach at the shoulder seam. The right side of the attached bodice pieces should look like the photo shown.
Step 4: Place the other two Back Bodice (B) pieces on top of the Front Bodice Lining (A) and attach at the shoulder seam. The right side of the attached bodice pieces should look like the photo shown.
Step 5: Place the two bodice pieces together (RST), pin and sew along the inner back and collar as shown. Mark a point 1/4" down from the end of the V to help you know when to turn at the corner.
Step 6: Clip around the collar, alternating between the two layers. Clip as close as possible to the bottom of the V.
Step 7: Pin the outer front bodice to the outer back bodice (RST) and sew as shown. Pin the inner front bodice to the inner back bodice (RST) and sew together. Repeat for the other side. If you added an optional sash, make sure the sash is facing the inside of the bodice.
Step 8: Serge or sew the two sleeve openings together as shown.
Step 9: Prepare the gathered or straight sleeve cuff as described in Step 12 for the knit bodice. Then fold the sleeve in half and sew together as shown in A. Attach remaining sleeve hem to sleeve as shown in B. Repeat for the other sleeve.
Step 10: Align the sleeve seam to the side seam on one side (RST), pin and attach as shown. Repeat for the other side. Serge or zig zag the raw edges (optional).
Step 11: Sew on buttons and buttonholes to the back bodice. I like to use my sewing gauge to position the buttonholes as shown in A. I also put a little tear away stabilizer on the back of the buttonhole and tear it away after I sew on the buttonhole to make sewing on buttonholes less nerve-wracking. See B.


Step 1: If you are attaching the circle skirt to the woven bodice, button up the bodice and sew a line 1/8" from the bottom to close the bodice and attach both the inside and outside bodice pieces as shown.
Step 2: Fold your fabric in half twice and and lay down your circle skirt pattern piece (I) as shown. Dana has a great tutorial on how to fold your fabric to cut out a circle skirt here.
Step 3: Pin the circle skirt (I) to the bodice (RST) and sew together as shown. Serge or zig zig to finish the raw edges (optional). (Note: if attaching the circle skirt to the knit bodice, be sure not to stretch either piece as you are sewing. Carefully guide both pieces into the needle as you are attaching the skirt to the bodice.)
Step 4: Hem the skirt by pressing 1/4", then another 1/4", and sew the hemline. (Note: You may also want to use fusible thread to sew the hemline after pressing up the first 1/4", then press up another 1/4"and sew with regular thread. This will help hold the shape of the circle hemline better.)


Step 1: Cut out the gathered skirt pieces as described in the free pattern. Place one piece on top of the other piece (RST) and sew together as shown.
Step 2: Hem the skirt by pressing 1/4", then another 1/4", and sew the hemline.
Step 3: Add an optional placket to the skirt if attaching to the woven bodice. Since there is a great tutorial on this, I decided not to include it in the instructions. The placket can be added to the circle skirt, too. See tutorial here.
Step 4: Serge or zig zag the top edge to prevent fraying while gathering. Sew two gathering lines 1/8" and 1/4" from the top hemline on each half of the skirt. Pin the gathered skirt to the side seams (RST) and pull the threads to gather each side of the skirt. Gathering in this way helps to keep the gathers even. Sew the two pieces together as shown and serge or zig zag the raw edges to finish.
(Note: If you are attaching the skirt to the woven bodice, be sure to pin the opening of the placket to the open of the back bodice.)

That's it -- you're done!! I really love feedback, so if you have any questions or comments about this tutorial, please feel free to leave me a comment below or email me your feedback.

Please also let me know if you are interested in different sizes in this pattern. I may be able to grade different sizes after all my Christmas sewing is done. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. What a darling dress. Would love to have the pattern in a larger size when you get the chance.

    1. Thanks, Joyce! I will definitely work on some larger sizes after the holidays. Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely compliment.

  2. I just made the knit version with the gather skirt and I love it. Thanks for such a great pattern!

    1. Thanks, Karen! I can't wait to see how it looks on your little cutie pie.

  3. I love this pattern! I can't wait to try it out on my little ones.





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