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. What a lovely pattern! Came together so easily for my (large) almost 6 month old! I used the 2-3 tunic skirt and increased the bodice seam allowance for everything except the neck stitches. The (almost) final result is appx 9-12 mos size. I still have to topstitch and add buttons/holes, but SO CUTE! Thank you!

    1. Oh – but did you make the smaller bodice? I’d be surprised if the larger size came out at 9-12 months, only because my daughter has only just grown out of it at 4 and a half. If it was the smaller size then hopefully it will fit longer than 12 months too. Quite often babies seem to grow taller but not wider from that point so tunics seem to just get shorter but not stop fitting. Could there be a chance your printer printed at a smaller scale? I have to say I based the size on my younger daughter not any industry standards and although she is average in height she is more slender so sorry if I didn’t get it quite right for you.

  2. Love this pattern! I’m so confused about the placket on the skirt though. when do I sew that up? Thanks!

    1. Well you never sew the placket completely up – but in step 6 you hem the long edges before sewing the back seam and bottom edge of the placket only. If you prefer a bias bound slit fro your skirt you could always use that method (although I think this way is easier). Not sure how to explain it any better!

  3. Hi Tonya, I am planning to make this dress this weekend for my granddaughter and I am using a nice knit fabric. Do I still have to line it with the knit or do I just skip that part and turn the edges under. I can make a knit lining if I need to because it is light weight, but wasn’t sure about the bulk. Normally, I use cotton fabric, but my Daughter-in-law like knits on Caroline because they don’t need ironing.



    1. Hi Kathie, honestly I’m nervous to recommend making this design in knit at all as I worry that the extra ease might mean the pattern won’t fit or will hang wrong. I would suggest finding a style designed for knits, or using a t-shirt pattern and adding a gathered skirt?

      1. Hi Tonya,

        Well, I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained so I give it a try and I used a solid line green knit for the bodice and a multi-color floral knit of pinks and greens for the shirt portion and it came out fantastic. I did line the bodice with the same lime green knit and it really did stablize the bodice. The knits I used were fairly dense with low stretch, so that helped. I just have to add the snaps today and hem it. If tell me where I can attach a picture, I can send you one.

        I will definitely make more of these. It was so easy and what I like about the knits, I just tacked the inside bodice lining with stitch in the ditch from the front since the knits don’t unravel. No hand sewing at all.

        Thank you so much for sharing the pattern and have a great day,



      2. Oh I’m so pleased! Sorry not to recommend it when it worked out so well but as I hadn’t tried it I wasn’t sure..I’ll Pm you so you can send me a pic as I’d love to see.

  4. Hi Toya,

    This looks lovely, thank you for sharing. This is going to be my first proper sewing project 🙂 Silly question, but do you have to print borderless on A4 paper?



    1. Not a silly question at all. Borderless shoudln’t be required but you will have to make sure you set your printer to 100% size not scale to fit and auto-rotated and centre. The pattern is printed in rectangles smaller than A4 so the whole thing should print but you will need to trim to fit them together. If you’re not sure it is always worth printing just one page first to make sure.

  5. how many yerds of fabric would you say you’d need for the 2-3 year size? Also, how do you think a linen fabric would work?

    1. I think linen would be lovely as long as it wasn’t the really thick kind. Light to medium weight would work great. I’m sorry to say I never worked out the exact yardages and it is now a long time since I sewed it. I know that 1 yard would definitely be enough. Printing out the pattern first should give you a better idea. Hoep it works out well for you.

  6. I don’t think I did it right. I still have a visible seam in the back. I have never sewn a placket before and I’m assuming that’s where I messed up. I’m going to try it again. It’s still a pretty dress even with the seam in the back

    1. Hi Kayla,

      There should be a seam down the back of the dress, though all the seam allowance should be tucked neatly into the inside. Strictly speaking it isn’t a true placket just an extra flap so skin isn’t showing… perhaps you did it right already?

  7. Hi, I’m an absolute beginner and I’m confused about the skirt piece. Is the 18mos-2yr old pattern really bigger than the 2-3yrs one? Sorry if this is a silly question.

    1. Not a silly question at all – I labelled them wrong on the pattern and as it was on an old machine/program I can’t easily correct it! The bodice pieces are labelled right but the skirt ones are the wrong way round. SOrry to confuse you as you can see its not a professional pattern, just a template to share.

      1. Thanks for replying!

        Like I said, I’m an absolute noob so I try to follow directions as closely as I can. I can’t wait to start making the dress tonight!

      2. I’m glad I read the comments! I printed out the pattern and could not understand for the life of me why the smaller size had the larger skirt. I’m looking forward to making this for my daughter.

  8. This was my first real make after being given a sewing machine for Xmas. Really easy to follow and turned out lovely!! Thanks!

    1. Oh I feel honoured the dress was your first project – sounds like you did a great job! Such a satisfying feeling to make something hopefully it’s just the start of your sewing adventures.

  9. Hi, for the bodice back, do you cut all pieces the same way, or do you need to turn the patter over so you get a right and left?

    1. Hi Celeste – You’ll need to cut one the right way up and one mirro image with the pattern turned over for both the main fabric and the lining. I find the easiest way to do this is to cut 2 at the same time with the fabric folded in half.

  10. Hi. I am not a professional but made a thing or two in my life time. I love the tunic and would love to make it for my 3 granddaughters.
    This is my first time using a pattern downloaded onto 7 x 11 sheet of paper. How do i translate this to real time size?Thank you Draha

    1. Hi Draha – the pattern is already at scale so if you print (making sure your printer is set to print at 100%) not shrink to fit it should be the right size already when you tape together. Hope this makes sense.

  11. You have adorable bloomers pictured that I want to make, too…do you have a pattern and or tutorial for those?


    1. Hi Elle, There are two sizes for the bodice the stright line for the larger size and the dotted line for the smaller size. Confusingly (and because it was done on a program I now can’t access) on the skirt section the dotted lines are the larger size and the straight line is the smaller size – but in the skirt section there are 4 different lines -two sizes in a tunic and skirt option. Hope that helps!

  12. Loved this! Added both the tunic and dress bottom to make a double skirt and it turned out adorable!!

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