Sincerest Form of Flattery guest: Vanessa from Little Big Girl Studio

Today’s guest poster is Vanessa, from Little Big Girl Studio!
 Her blog is chock full of gorgeous projects and beautiful photos of her super cute daughter. She has excellent taste in fabric and her attention to detail is fantastic! Her sewing is impeccable as well! Some of my favorite projects of hers are her Camera strap w/ lens pocket tutorial (I’ve made one, it’s a great tute), a toddler backpack (love that fabric!),  this super cute dress made with vintage fabric, and her awesome potholder which won her a new sewing machine! She also has an Etsy store full of adorable things, so make sure to check that out!
Take it away, Vanessa!

Hello everyone! I’m Vanessa, the blogger behind Little Big Girl Studio and I’m super excited to stopping by today to share a sewing project with you. Like a lot of you, I took up sewing after becoming a stay at home mom. I googled ‘free sewing patterns’ one day during her nap time and discovered tons of amazing sewing/craft blogs {like Jess’s blog!} full of helpful tutorials. I decided then and there that I needed a sewing machine and have been sewing like a mad woman since.

When Jess asked if I wanted to join in the ‘knock off’ fun, I knew I had to try my hand at the sweet little mini Boden dress below {left}. It looked simple enough and I loved the details of the dress, particularly the pockets! I was a bit nervous about it since I was doing this all from a small photo but I’m happy with the dress I ended up with {right}. Best part. . .I saved $39 making the dress myself!

miniBoden dress $40 / my knock-off version $1

I dug through my fabric stash and found a set of 2 vintage pillowcases I thrifted a few months ago for 30 cents each. The dress I made is a size 2T and I had a good bit of fabric left over. While I originally planned to use elastic in the neck and waist casings, I decided to use elastic thread instead. I love the way shirring looks and I think it’s quicker than trying to pull elastic through a casing. You can use any peasant dress pattern or tutorial to make this dress {you’ll find a great tutorial here}. I’ll show you below how to create the easy pockets and have also included a link where you can download the pattern pieces and pocket template I created to make my dress.

Here are a few photos of my kiddo in her miniBoden knock off:

Get the full tutorial after the jump!

elastic thread or 1/4 inch elastic
fabric marking pen
hem gauge
Step 1
First you’ll need to determine the width/length of your skirt panels and cut them. You’ll want your skirt panels {front and back} to be as wide as your dress bodice. Mine measured 16.25″ wide and about 13″ long. If you’re using your own peasant dress pattern/tutorial, decide where you want the waist line of your dress to be and cut your pattern in two, so you have separate pieces for the bodice and skirt. Keep in mind you’ll want to add a seam allowance where you cut. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance for my dress.
Step 2
Take one of the skirt panels and fold it in half width-wise, with the open edges to the right. You’ll want to place the pocket template in the upper right hand corner like the photo below. Trace the curve with your fabric marking pen. Make sure to keep both layers of fabric even and cut along the curve. This will be your front skirt panel. Set aside for now.
Step 3
Cut 4 rectangles of fabric to create your pockets. I cut rectangles sized 5.5″ wide by 6.5″ tall. Take 2 of the rectangles and place them wrong sides touching. Place the pocket template on top as in photo below, trace the curve with your pen, and cut along the curve.
Step 4
Take your front skirt panel and place right side up. Grab the two curved pocket pieces and place them right side down on your skirt panel. Match the curves of the pocket pieces with the curves of the skirt panel and pin in place. Sew along the curves using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Clip the curves, flip them to the wrong side of the skirt, and press in place. Top stitch along the edges of the curves.
Step 5
Place your skirt panel right side down. Take the other two rectangles you cut {without curves} and place them right side down on top of your pockets. You’ll want to make sure they line up with the top and sides of your skirt panel and the bottom of your pockets. Pin the rectangles to the pockets along the inner and bottom edges. The pins should not go through the skirt, just the pocket pieces. Next, sew along the edges you pinned and finish those seams with a serger or zig zag stitch. You can also baste the tops and outer edges of the pockets to the skirt to keep them in place.
Step 6
At this point, sew your skirt pieces to your bodice pieces. You can then sew the sleeves onto your bodice pieces and then sew up the sides of your dress. Finish all raw seams as you go along. Hem the sleeves – I folded the fabric 1/4″ and then another 1/4″. Hem the skirt. As I mentioned, I originally planned to do an elastic casing at the neck so my pattern piece reflects that. I folded the neck casing down 1/4″ and then again 3/4″. I stitched close to the edge of the casing. If you want to use elastic, sew another line of stitching about 1/2″ from the edge of the casing, creating a channel for the elastic. This will give the neckline a bit of a ruffled edge. If you want to use elastic thread like I did, sew 3 evenly spaced lines of shirring along the neck line instead. I also did 3 lines of shirring at the waist, above the seam. I left my threads long and used a hand sewing needle to pull the top threads to the wrong side of the dress. I then tied all the loose threads together in small knots and trimmed them.
Thanks so much for having me and I hope you enjoy making your own dress! I plan to make a few more. . . maybe one using a solid fabric for the bodice and a print for the skirt. Sounds cute, right?! Make sure to stop by my blog, Little Big Girl Studio, and say hello 🙂

Don’t forget to check out Kojo Designs for their guest today-Tasha from Creation Corner! She made an awesome Pottery Barn bag knock off!

And please do stop by Knock Off Decor– the sponsor of this blog series! Inspiration galore.


  1. Love this dress! Looks so easy. I’m on a roll of busting out a dress a day. Friends think I’m uber talented, little do they know the simplicity in all of these great designs! Thanks for sharing, and I’ll be sure to be bookmarking your blog too.

  2. Super cute!!! Love Vanessa, all of her ideas are fantastic!!!

  3. The pocket is my favorite detail. Darling, simple and fun.

  4. Those pockets are adorable. Vanessa is great!

  5. This is wonderful! So very cute. Thakns for sharing!

  6. This is divine… it’s my favourite sort of dress for little girls. Your daughter is gorgeous, too!

  7. I have so much I want to sew right now that it’s almost overwhelming. But, wow! I have to add this to my list. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Beautiful dress. I absolutely love LBG tutorials, they are always perfect and perfectly executed.

  9. I love this dress, I think I try to sew one for my daughter 🙂 Thanks!

  10. The only disappointing thing about this tutorial is that it is a little girl’s dress. I want one!!

  11. I love this!!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

  12. I love mini-boden. Your knock-off is adorable!

  13. Thank you everyone!!!

  14. I had trouble with this pattern. It say that your bodice pieces and skirt pieces should be the same width. My bodice ended up about 2.5ins smaller in the width? I followed your pattern exactly as my daughter is a 2T. too. I did print it at 100% and the test square came out right. Did anyone else have this problem. Thankfully I have enough fabric to cut out another bodice.

  15. Wow..this is so simple and really cute!! Thanks so much, and just in time for Easter 🙂

  16. What a great tutorial!! I have the exact same vintage pillow cases. They came from my grandmother’s house a few years ago.

  17. So sweet! I featured this today over at Today’s Top 20!


  18. OH ~ this is just perfect for me; thank-you!! This was one of the things I had decided I needed to copy from the mini-Boden catalog as my youngest has a deep love for pockets right now & I have am smitten with peasant tops…

  19. i have those same pillowcases. LOL i used one several years ago to make a pillowcase dress for my little girl when she was a toddler, she wears it as a top now.

    anyway, about the dress: the zooms of the original do not show any sleeve seams. this is actually a tunic with an integrated pocket and waistband. i like this design for little girls a lot and i think i’ll put this on the list.

  20. I *love* this. It’s so easy and so cute! Sorry for the self-promotion, but I just have to show this off–such a great tutorial!

  21. I bookmarked this back in April & finally had time to make it this week. I’m so pleased with how it turned out, I had to share:

    (My daughter is très heureuse as well!) xo

  22. I love this!What a great tutorial!I’m visiting from 101 summer sewing tutorials roundup. Have a great day!

  23. You say 2T-could you give finished measurements? I’m trying to have the dress fit a smaller size, but I’m not sure exactly what measurements a 2T is for you!
    It’s a lovely dress, and a lovely child!

  24. Hi! I am trying to make this for my daughter, but I am stuck and could use some help! I’m at the step where you sew the bodice pieces to the skirt pieces. I opted to use the 1/4″ elastic instead of the elastic thread. My problem is that I have only been sewing for a month and this is my first time sewing with elastic, so I don’t understand how to incorperate the elastic into this step. Any help would be really appreciated!

  25. Cute idea! Good for you to be creative and make things for your little girl. I really like the backpack. May you have many fun hours of creating cute baby girl outfits. ~

  26. I’m a new internet/self taught sewist. I’m so excited with this post as I’ve been looking for a simple dress to sew for my girls. I’ll do this dress before weekend. Thanks for sharing

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