Sincerest Form of Flattery guest: Erin from Sutton Grace

Meet Erin, from Sutton Grace, if you don’t know her already!
If you don’t, you should! This talented lady has many wonderful projects, sewing and crafting alike. Plus she is super nice and has some great home decor sense and has some of the coolest furniture I’ve seen. Basically I wish my house looked like hers! Anyways, some of my favorite projects of hers are her fabulous mod dollhouse she made her daughter for Christmas, her art notebook tutorial, her ruffle collar tee refashion (I made one way back when), and her puppet theater in a bag. Rad! (can I say rad? whatevs)
Here we go! Hey Erin!

Hi Craftiness is not Optional readers! I’m Erin and I blog at Sutton Grace. I have been following Jess’s blog for over a year now and she is a constant source of inspiration! I was so excited when she asked me to be part of her Sincerest Form of Flattery Series. I had my fourth baby three months ago and haven’t sewn a lot since. Being part of this series gave me the motivation I needed to spend some quality time with my sewing machine again!

I have had this mini Boden dress hanging on my inspiration board for awhile. My four year old daughter Sutton loves to wear dresses. She also loves to play. No tea parties for her, she loves playing outside with her brothers. She needs dresses that are comfortable and durable.

While $40 isn’t a huge amount of money it’s more than I would spend on a little girls dress especially one could easily make myself. I knew this dress would be easy to make since it is basically two pieces, front and back, with some ruffles and shirring. I bought 1-1/2 yards of 58″ wide jersey which cost $6.99/yard at Hobby Lobby. With a 40% off coupon the total was about $7. Plus, I had almost a half a yard left over. I had all the other supplies on hand.

In this dress Sutton can run and jump and dance and explore and look adorable while doing it!

Get the full tutorial after the jump!

-Approximately 1 yard (more or less depending on your size) of jersey knit.
-Elastic thread
-Rotary cutter and straight edge (not required but very helpful)
-Water soluble fabric marking pen

1. Make your pattern. Choose a dress that has a loose, flow-y fit and no sleeves (or tuck the sleeves inside like I did). Turn the dress inside out and fold in half. Lay on pattern paper and trace around dress adding a little extra for seam allowance, about a 1/2″ or 5/8″, whatever you are comfortable with. You can see that I added about 1-1/2″-2″ extension to the shoulder for the sleeves and some width and length. Fold the dress in half the other way and repeat the above instructions to make the back pattern piece.

You could trace your dress directly onto the fabric but I prefer to make a paper pattern, it makes sewing the next dress a snap! I already have another one in the works that is tunic length to wear with leggings.

2. Cut out your pattern pieces and lay them on your fabric with the straight sides on the fold. Pin and cut.

3. Cut a 2-1/2″ slit in the center back neckline. It’s easy to find the center when the fabric is still folded in half.

4. Jersey can be intimidating to sew with, but it’s really quite easy! Use the right needle, a ball point 9 or 11, and the right stitch, a slanted zigzag (I am sure that’s not the technical term for the stitch but that’s what I call it!). The slanted zigzag stitch allows the fabric to still stretch which means the seams will not break when the garment is being put on or taken off.

Sew your two pieces together, right sides facing, at the shoulder and the side.

5. Cut some bias strips. Fold one selvage end to the adjacent side, cut on the fold. Using a rotary cutter and a straightedge, cut 1-1/2″ strips parallel to the previously cut folded edge. You will need one strip 24″ long and two strips 12″ long for the neck and sleeve binding. You will also need three strips for the ruffles; 22″, 20″ and 18″.

6. Slightly gather the neckline.

7a. Using a regular straight stitch sew the 24″ strip to the neckline, right sides facing.

7b. Over lap the ends about a 1/2″. Cut off excess strip.

8a. Press the seams towards the strip and fold the strip over the seams, press again. (Pin if needed)

8b. With the right side up sew close to the seam. Cut off excess strip on the inside.

9. Mark the waistline. I put the dress on my daughter and measured from the center neckline to where her natural waist is. Her measurement was 7″ (the blue mark). With a straight edge mark across the dress on the front and back (purple mark).

10a. With elastic thread in the bobbin, sew all the way around the dress on your mark. I have found backstitching with elastic thread often jams my machine. To avoid that I just sew over the starting point by one to two inches.

10b. Using your presser foot and the previous stitch as a guide, sew multiple rows of shirring. I did five. Make sure you smooth out the gathers from the previous stitches but not so much that you stretch the fabric. Now you are done with the elastic thread.

Note: There are lots of opinions on how to do shirring. This is what works best for me:
-Slightly stretch the elastic while you hand wind it onto the bobbin.
-Set the tension slightly higher (7 on my machine which is usually set around 5)
-Don’t backstitch.
-Always, always test the shirring on a scrap piece. My drop in bobbin machine will often not catch the elastic in the bobbin correctly on the first try. Then there is lots of unpicking and fabric damage.

11. Gather the remaining strips. Use the longest stitch and turn the tension all the way up and the fabric comes out perfectly gathered, no pulling threads!

12. Pin the ruffles to the bodice. I ended up only using two. I felt that three was overwhelming for this size dress (5T). Using a regular stitch and regular tension, sew the ruffles to the dress.

13. Attention to detail- using a seam ripper remove the gathering stitch. The top ruffle’s gathering stitch was picked out and the bottom ruffle wasn’t. See how much cleaner the top ruffle is?

14. Hem the dress and add a hook and eye to the top of the slit on the back neckline and you’re done!!

Thanks Jess for having me here at Craftiness is not Optional! It’s been an honor to be part of your knock-off series!

Head over to Kojo Designs today to check out this gorgeous J Crew knock off (by Welcome to the gOOd Life) that is so easy but looks amazing!

And don’t forget to check out Knock Off Decor– the sponsor of this blog series! There are knock offs of great stuff from Urban Outfitters, Crate and Barrel, West Elm and more- go check it out!


  1. Such a cute dress…I love the polkadots! Thanks for featuring yet another of my favorite bloggers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Love it!!

  3. I love this!!!! think I could do it with cotton and it still fit over her noggin’?

  4. Another great one! Thanks for sharing your talents!

  5. I love this! I actually picked up that same fabric a few months ago when we were in New Mexico. I really need to give shirring another try. Love the pictures too!

  6. Adorable! The polka dots are perfect for this cute dress.

  7. I have this fabric already – and now I know what I’m going to do with it! I am wondering, though – is it a bit see through when worn? I always have that concern with white. Was thinking it could be lined with a white jersey knit. Any thoughts?

  8. this is awesome! i love getting the Boden catalogue …have never bought anything but love looking! ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually *just* bought knit fabric @ Hobby Lobby last week, so I may give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I love Boden for inspiration, but not the price tag ๐Ÿ™ This tutorial was simple, I’ve never seen that stitch before, the slanted zigzag and I just checked my machine, no go…Still wanna try it though.

  10. I love everything about this dress!! I need to be on the hunt for polka dot knit now. Or I might just get too impatient and make it with the stripes I have on hand ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Love this dress. It would be the most ambitious things I’ve tried to make, but I think I’m going to go for it. Thanks

  12. Great dress. I love the polka dots, and that the dress is totally wearable/playable.

  13. Wow! I am so glad I found this. Super awesome! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!!

  14. I love the dress! It looks cute on her.

  15. Love this! Great tutorial! New follower ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. We actually have the Boden dress and this looks just like it. Do you think it was be done with longer sleeves? Maybe almost to the elbow?

  17. The dress is so cute and suitable for the spring.
    I share this dress with readers
    Thank you.

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  19. hello, thanks for the tutorial. i have a question. did you use elastic thread in the bobbin for ruffling the strip? please clarify. thanks!

    • Sorry it’s not my own tutorial, but I’m guessing she just used regular thread for ruffling ๐Ÿ™‚

    • See 10b note: Now done with elastic thread. That would make it seem most likely that regular thread was used for the ruffling.


  1. […] This dress, inspired by miniBoden, is a perfect choice for summer and spring, and makes your girl more girly. LINK:ย Craftiness is not Optional – Erin from Sutton Grace […]

  2. […] Polka Dot Ruffle Dress by Sutton Grace for Craftiness is not optional […]

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