ric rac dress tutorial

Here’s how I transformed the Rachel wrap pattern into this retro ric rac dress!

You’ll need:

fabric (I used about 1.5 yards for my 2 year old, with leftovers. You need a lot of yardage for the pleats)
ric rac (I used under 2 yards)
1/4″ elastic (or smaller, I used a scrap)

Rachel wrap pattern

Printable version of this tutorial

First, I altered my Rachel wrap pattern-I traced the back and front together-and cut it off about 2-3 inches below the armpits.

Then I cut the pieces-two for the front (cut them right sides facing) and one of the back.ย  I do wish I’d cut a lining because it’s a tiny bit see through, oh well.

Then I pinned them right sides together at the shoulder seams, and sewed them there, then serged the edges. (or zig zag stitch)

Then I cut a loong piece of bias tape 1″ wide-you can piece it together obviously, just make sure it’s long enough to go around the neck.

Then I pinned the bias tape lined up with the front piece like so, sandwiching the ric rac in between.

Continue around the whole neckline, pinning every little bump of ric rac. Annoying, but necessary.

Then, sew around where you pinned, making sure your seam is right in the middle of the ric rac.

Next, on the inside, I folded it over once like so..

and over again to conceal the raw edges.

Then I pinned it down…

and sewed along the inside edge.

Next, the sleeves. I did them just like the Charlotte dress sleeves, only I sandwiched some ric rac in between the sleeve and the binding as well.

then I cut a piece of 1/4″ elastic to 2″ (depends on your button, mine was rather large), and pinned it to the inside of one of my side seams. Just make sure it’s the side you want to be buttoning on the inside. (make sense?) Then sew the sides together and finish your seams.

Next for the skirt. I measured around the bottom of the bodice and got a measurement of 34″.

I measured around and figured I would do pleats every 3 inches. That meant 11 pleats for my length. I needed 2 extra inches for every pleat so I added 22 ” to my 34″=56″+1 inch for the side hem.

It didn’t quite work out perfectly, but it worked out. More on that later. First, I serged around the whole thing (and the bottom of the bodice), and ironed over the sides 1/2″ and hemmed them, and the bottom 1″ and hemmed that.

Then starting from the edge which would be in the front of the dress, I measured 3 inches and made a mark. (pretend that’s the edge in the pic above) Then I made marks an inch away on both sides.

Then I pulled over one mark to the center, and then the other, and pinned well.

I did this all around, and then checked the measurement. It was too short. So I let out two pleats, and it measured perfectly. It wasn’t a big deal since this was the part wrapping around and behind the front part of the skirt.

Then I basted along the top of the skirt.

I wanted to sew down to keep the pleats in place a little, so I measured down 1.5″ (though I wish I’d done 1″), and put a pin in on each side at that measurement.

Repeated for all the pleats.

Then I sewed down to the pin mark, and then back stitched a little bit, for each pleat.

This is what it looked like after that step-then I simply pinned the bodice and skirt right sides together and sewed it up!

I also sewed on the button on the inside of the dress, and placed my buttons and button holes on the front side. Voila!


  1. Gorgeous! Now to find the extra time to make one…

  2. Ahhhhhh! Sew the ric rac dead center–THAT’s been my problem.

  3. So cute! I can’t wait to make this dress! Thanks for the tutorial! You are so good Jess!

  4. Amazing!!!

  5. Hmmm…so if I do lining in the front, I don’t need the bias tape around the neck, right? Just sandwich the ric rac between lining and main fabric?

    Thanks for these great tutorials! Totally going through the charlotte dress sew along this week by the way.

  6. So cute!! I love your tutorials. I need to crack down and make more of them!! Maybe then I would actually get somewhat good at clothes!! Thanks!!

  7. Love it! Love it!!

  8. This is incredibly cute!

  9. I love this dress so much, Jess. It’s just so cute and vintage looking. You’re so darn talented!

  10. I must say I have been reading your blog for some time now, and beside the fact that you are making the sweetest dresses You are such a kind sharing person!!
    Thank you =)

  11. I foundsome ric rac yesterday I didnt know I had! Can’t wait to make one!!!

  12. This is such a sweet dress! I’m loving the ric rac and the three little buttons! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  13. This may be the wrong thing to say but, I’ve never liked ric-rac, or so I thought. I’ve never seen it with just the bumps showing like that. I LOVE the way it turned out. The buttons are perfect! This dress is soo cute!

  14. Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve been looking for a way to use ric rac in a dress and this was perfect! It was quick and I sewed a version for my daughter here: http://handmadeintentions.blogspot.com/2011/05/ric-rac-dress.html Thanks for the great tutorial and for letting me blog stalk you! Your oldest daughter is just older than mine, so your blog is the perfect inspiration for me.

  15. Please explain the 2″ of elastic in the side seam! Thanks.

  16. @ Anonymous-I sewed in the elastic to the side seam-for the inside wrap, and then sewed on a button for it to wrap around, this is all on the inside of the dress. Hope this helps.

  17. Great tutorial, thank you.This dress is beautiful. Learning to sew and appreciated the detail you gave, and pictures, to sewing the ric-rac and pleats.

  18. If you take the Childrens Corner Mary De pattern and turn it around you’ll have your pattern minus the pleats which would be so easy to do!

  19. trop MIGNONNE !! cette robe et son ti manequin!!!
    merci pour les explications !!

  20. Hello from Singapore! I love this adorable dress! Where did you get the cloth from? ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the cloth pattern!

  21. I love it! I must make one for a two year old grandchild!

  22. Hi. I like ur tutorials very much. They r so detailed n nicely explained
    i learned to sew with ur tutorials. Thank u so much.

Speak Your Mind