Simple tunic or dress pattern

striped tunic dress
Floral tunic with free patternDSC_1364 A whole year after I drew this pattern for a simpletunicdresspattern I’ve finally got round to digitizing it and writing a tutorial. (Mental note: never put your intention to do something in writing if you’re not then going to get round to it for ages). At the moment it is available in two sizes, to fit approximately 18mths-2yrs and to fit 2-3yrs. There are tunic and dress options for both sizes with buttons (or poppers) to close at the back. The pattern is for light to mid-weight wovens. Good choices would be cotton shirting or lawn. The bodice is lined but it would be easy to add a lining to the skirt section as well.  I haven’t drawn pieces for the collar which I added to the Liberty print tunic version below, but there are some great tutorials out there for drafting your own (I promise it’s not that tricky). This tutorial by Monica of Adirondack Inspired shows a great method. toddler tunic in liberty print The pattern can be downloaded here*. There are 9 pages which fit together as shown in the image below. Make sure your printer does not resize the pages before printing. Unless stated otherwise the seam allowance is 1cm. Please remember this pattern is for personal use only.

*Please note I managed to get the key wrong so the Skirt pieces are incorrectly labelled. I can’t change this easily as the file was created on an old computer so just make sure your cut the right size skirt!

*tunic pattern layout simple tunic or dress tutorial


139 thoughts on “Simple tunic or dress pattern

  1. I love this pattern, but would like to have the buttons in the front. At a glance the front and back pattern pieces look pretty similar. Could I just turn the dress around?

    1. Yes the pieces are simple and very similar, that said I wouldn’t just wear it back to front as I think the neckline is cut higher at the back – so might be too high for the front. I would suggest redrawing the neckline so it is lower before turning around.

    1. Yikes! I really don’t remember but am certain 1 yard is definitely enough. Perhaps you could print and layout the pattern to check? Sorry not to be more helpful, I’m away from home at the moment so can’t check myself.

  2. What seam allowance did you use? Most commercial patterns use 5/8″ but it hard to tell if you used it or 1/4″

    1. Hi rosemary, most commercial patterns do use 5/8 but I find it easier and more appropriate to use 3/8 or 1cm for children’s wear.

  3. Hi,
    I am a total newbie to sewing! My 3 year old will only wear dresses that twirl! could i add width to the skirt and gather it to make this a twirly dress ? 🙂

    1. Hi, yes increasing the width of the skirt and gathering more would be the easiest way to add more twirl so I think it’s a good idea. You may find you need to add side seams so you can get enough width and also picking a fabric that is not too thick or stiff would be helpful too. Good luck – I think its great to practise you skills while your little one is small – less fabric and hopefully less pickiness!

  4. I would really love to make this pattern, but I’m confused by the two solid and two dotted lines for the skirt pieces. Which line am I supposed to cut on if I want to sew the 2-3 T size? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Amy – Yes sorry the fact that I got the key the wrong way round is not helpful at all! For the skirt section you will need to pick one pieces with the dotted line. If you want a tunic length garment pick the grey dotted line and if you would like the dress length pick the black dotted line. Hope that clears things up a bit…

      1. I’m confused to. On the skirt part, if I want to do the dress length for the smaller size, 18 months, I follow the black full line?

        And smallest size but tunic length is grey full line?

        But on the bodice instead I follow the dotted line to get the smaller size of 18 months?

      2. Yes – sorry the skirt parts have the colours the wrong way round! I’m so sorry about this but can’t cahnge it easily as I made this years ago on a different computer so I can’t access the files to change them. Your reasoning is perfect though the full black line is for the smaller size dress.

  5. Hi , I couldn’t work out from the tutorial what to do with the placket at the end. Should the two sides of the skirt join at the top? Thanks.

    1. Hi Steph, sorry you’re having trouble. The top of the skirt will not be joined. The skirt will be joined but that line of sewing that joins the skirt at the back should stop about 10 cm (very approx) from the top just where the piece sticks out a bit. The bodice can then be neatly lined and finished to the open ends of the skirt. Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Toya,
        Not sure if I’ve done it exactly right, but its all neat and tidy at least and looks good! Thanks for this pattern!

      2. Does this mean that you will put buttons on the skirt part as well? I just couldn’t figure that part out with the (is it called placket, the little part that sticks out? English is not my native language). When and how to put that last bit together?

      3. Hi Mika, no there will be no buttons on the skirt part. The ‘placket’ is just designed so there’s a bit of overlap rather than just a gap, but there shouldn’t be any need to put buttons on that part.

  6. Hi, in step 10 it says to pull the lining out of the way. How can I do that at the closing, where the fabric and the lining are attached?

    1. Hi Emma, even though they are attached at one end you should still be able to pull the lining enough out of the way to sew along the waistline up to the point the main fabric and lining meet. I’m sorry I can’t take a photo of this as I haven’t made one of these for a long time!

  7. Hi I am new to this! How can I get this pattern? If I want to make it? Is there a way to measure it from this tiny picture to real measurements?

    1. There is a hyperlink embedded in the text, so when it says the pattern can be downloaded here if you click here you should get it. You may need to change your browser setting or try a different browser. If you still have trouble let me know.

  8. I just finished making this outfit for a friend’s daughter in a Christmas print and it turned out very nice. How do I post a pic of it? Are you on IG? Please let me know. Thanks again.

  9. Hi’
    If I want to do this in size 86 (12-18 months) can I make it a tiny bit smaller all around or does it have to be made smaller “unevenly”?

    I’m very new to this so I’m not sure about the proportions. Baby’s are a bit different than grownups:)

    1. Hi – technically you do need to make things bigger and smaller “unevenly’ like you say, but for only a small adjustment you should be okay just making it a bit smaller – you could try printing at 95% and measuring against something you know fits?

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