the Madison dress

So I gotta share a bit of craziness we had last night with you guys real quick and then we’ll get onto the sewing stuff! So last night the girls are literally on their way to their beds, and Charlotte fell (while getting “hugged” by Sadie…she gives enthusiastic hugs to her sister) into the corner of the wall and split her forehead open on the molding. It was bleeding like crazy but we got it to stop and then called in reinforcements (aka Mom) and took her to the ER. She had to get three stitches but was a trooper (more so than me), and she’s doing pretty good now. When we got back my mom had cleaned up all the blood from the carpet and done all our dishes! Thanks Momma! Anyways…it was crazy. Not the first time we’ve been to the ER for a head boo boo but definitely the worst. OK, moving on!

I’ve really had bows on my mind lately.

So I made this A-line dress and plopped an enormous bow with long bow-tentacles on the front.

Yep, I pretty much love it. Hopefully Charlotte does too. Oh who am I kidding? She doesn’t care a bit about what she wears. Except clippies and hats. There must always be a clippy or hat on her head. At least at home. Ok I lied. She’s very particular about what she wears, now that I think about it.

I also adore the house/quatrefoil/floral fabric! (which is Grey Damask by Riley Blake-from my sponsor Ribbon Retreat!)

So here’s how I made it…It’s not quite a full tutorial, but I’ll do my best to have it make sense!
Click below for the tutorial!

 First I created a simple A-line dress pattern, or you could use a store bought pattern as well. I made my pattern by tracing a tee and then sketching out the shape I wanted. (you can use a similar dress or measure for the length.) Then I cut 2 pieces out of the main dress on the fold, and cut the front neckline lower than the back. I also cut out 2 sleeve pieces (helpful tips here) I also cut out some bias tape strips-enough to go around the neckline, and bottom of the sleeves.
Ok so I didn’t take pictures of this part, but I was sewing in the button closure to the back of the dress, then sewed the shoulder seams right sides together, and then I sewed on the bias tape to the neckline.

Then I cut two pieces of bias tape 8″ long (or your kiddos arm measurement+ seam allowance), and ironed it in half lengthwise.

Then I gathered the bottom to fit the bias tape piece, and pinned them together, raw edges matching up. Then finish the seam and press. Repeat for other sleeve.

 Then gather the top of your sleeve and fit it into the armhole, sew in and finish seams.

Next I used a measuring tape to figure out how long to cut my bow fabric. I think mine was about 40″ long. I cut two strips that long by 3.5″. ‘

Then I lined up the edges and trimmed them off at an angle.

Then I serged (you could also sew no biggie!) all around the edges, right sides together. Do not leave any spots open…you’ll see why!

Then cut a small slit in the very center of the strip like so. Then turn the strip right side out using a chopstick or turning tool, through that hole. Press all around the edges with your iron.

Next I cut a piece of fabric 5″ wide and tall, and sewed one side up like so, right sides together.

Then move the seam to the back and press with your iron. This is the middle of your bow!

Next at the center (right where that slit is) use a hand needle and thread to make small folds in the fabric to create the center of the bow. Sew around a few times, but sew it together loosely.

Then I sewed on the bow middle. (similar to this but with a needle and thread)

Next arrange the bow how you like it and pin down.

Then I used an invisible stitch to sew it to the dress. I only sewed on where it folds over, and on the bottom and top of the bow middle. 
Then sew the sides together and hem the bottom. Done!


  1. Amazing!!!

  2. Oh this is so cute. I love it. The bow is fabulous.
    Greetings from Germany

  3. It is beautiful!!!!! I hope you are all more relax today and your little one feels better, poor thing!.

  4. LOVE the bow. This dress is adorable. Sorry to hear about your late night emergency – what a stress. But glad everything is fine and your dishes were done! Mums are amazing.

  5. This is SOOOO cute! I am wondering whether I have the shops to pull it off for my little Miss M…. Hmmmmm…

    I’m sorry about the head boo boo and glad she was such a trooper. Those bleed! My now 4 yo was jumping in the bed and fell into a bookcase with similar results… a few stitches. Difference was his mama had to call for dad to come running because she (err me) saw the blood and had to put her head between her knees so as not to pass out adding to the injury list.

  6. super cute again. I’m so impressed by your creativity. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  7. Just when I though I’d seen it all you’ve outdone yourself again. The dress is simply stunning.

  8. Oh this is darling!

  9. Oh, how adorable! I love this!

  10. I love the dress, great job. I hope Charlotte is doing well.

  11. I love this dress! The bow is FABULOUS! :0)

  12. What a cute idea, Jess! The bow would be really cute on a dress from the simple little Sweet Dress pattern that has been around for a while. You have the best ideas.

  13. Beautiful dress! and I’m sorry for the kid drama, mine are rather accident prone too. Gotta love that moms know how to get blood out of the carpet.

    jess @

  14. Oh I just luuurve this dress! Thanks for the tutorial. Ps? My little brother got stitches the very same way 23 years ago.

  15. Amazing dress! Glad your little gal is on the mend – so sad when they hurt 🙁

  16. So adorable! I love the big bow on the front, it really makes the dress!

  17. Oh my goodness! This is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I so love the fabric and the big bow! I have had bows on my mind a lot lately, I blamed it on my daughters obsession with hello kitty and minnie mouse, so she too is obsessed with bows, but I love them and I love this!

  18. I have a dress just like this pinned on pinterest! Thanks for working out how to make it!! Gorgeous!

  19. Adorable! The fabric and the bow are darling.

  20. This one is adorable! That bow is killing me with cuteness.

  21. I found your blog at google. Wow! You make so many cute dresses for your girls. I think I have looked at all your tutorials:) You have done a great job! Thanks for sharing. I’ll be back 😉

    Frieblonder (from Norway)

  22. Seriously cute cute cute!!! Thank you for sharing. I love this.

  23. Ooooh, if I had a little enough girl I’d be looking for fabric and the right dress pattern! Love the fabric you used, and the bow!

    Aren’t those bleeding bumps to the head awful? We had one late night trip to the er (little boys who should have been asleep but were bouncing on the bed instead) that I swear scarred me for life. I thought he was dying and saw his little life flash before my eyes, but it only took one stitch.

  24. It’s so beautiful, fantastic. I love the bow!

  25. ADORABLE! love the fabric! And the bow in front is super cute.


    My little guy hit the corner of the entertainment center. It didn’t split the skin but he had an awesome dent that left a scar. An old guy once commented “he must lead with his forehead” which was so very true because he’s hit that spot several times since. I hope Charlotte is feeling better quickly.

  27. Lovely lovely lovely! I have been dreaming of bows lately too. Maybe I’ll give ’em a go!

  28. SUPER cute! Don’t know where/how you find the time to crank out so many darling clothes. Amazing!

  29. this goes straigth to my sewing list this month, is absolutely adorable, and because i also got bittenb by the bigbowbug is perfect to cure the urge for girly-girly stuff!!

  30. So cute!! I love that big bow, and the simplicity of the dress itself is perfect for it.

    So glad Charlotte (and you!) made it out ok. So stressful. But hey, now she and Lincoln can have matching scars! 🙂

  31. LOVE the dress style, bow, colors, fabric. Love.

  32. Poor Charlotte! My oldest got five stitches over her left eyebrow when she was 15 months old… I hated it! I think it’s worse for mom than it is for them 🙂

    The dress is so sweet. That fabric is fantastic!

  33. Oh my goodness. I am so not good with kid injuries…I totally freak out. I’m freaking out just reading about it. (Honestly I am such a sissy with kids and getting hurt.) I’m so sorry your poor little girl.

    Your dress today is so cute and so you. I just love it. I really do.

  34. Love how you did that bow, Jess! I might need to incorporate this into my not-yet-planned easter dress for Em, somehow…

  35. I love love love the bow! Makes me want a girlie girl… I don’t think it would be quite the same on my son! 🙂 adorable!

  36. Oh I love all of your little girl dresses! This one is especially adorable. I would love for you to share it at my link party!

  37. I love this and will have to make one for my Charlotte! I hope you and your Charlotte are feeling much better.

  38. Super amazing I would kill for a dress pattern like this! I may have to buckle down and figure it out 😀 My daughter is pretty particular too…I love when I make her something gorgeous and she throws on a pair of sweatpants and missed matched gloves or something silly with it…thanks for sharing!

  39. Lady, you kill me! This one just… augh! I need to make it! I think for both my girls! Augh! But especially for little Olivia. But darnit if it wouldn’t be just darling as a spring dress for Nicole in a solid color like a sunny yellow perhaps, with the white bow yet…

  40. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

    I have a 3.5 year old little girl, Charlotte, that would love LOVE this dress! If you need a home for it please let me know if you put it in a give away of any sort! Thanks!

  41. I am soooo making this…. for all three of my girls!!!

  42. Love the perfect bow!

  43. LOVE this dress. That big bow is divine.

  44. Miss the darling model! 🙂

  45. This is such a cute dress. I love the bow detail and how it switchbacks down the dress. Very pretty!

  46. Oh my this is gorgeous! And since my little one is named Madison I just have to make this one for her! Also it would suit her to a tee!

  47. Love this dress. Its the second or third one I’ve tried from your blog. You have such a good eye for classic styling. I just posted my attempt on my blog, my bow didn’t turn our nearly as nice. Thank you for sharing all your great ideas.

  48. This is my first time to your cute blog…a friend sent me here to see your darling little dress.
    I love it!
    It really is sweet with the big bow:)
    It made me smile to see that you chose to make it in my fabric:)

  49. I love the dress. The bow really accentuates it 🙂

  50. This dress is darling I am thinking I need to whip one up for an easter dress for my little girl. Thanks for sharing.

  51. love it

  52. Ok, I’ve got to ask because I’ve seen them in several other tutorial photos and I can’t figure out what they are! What are those circles on the dress with the tape measure in the 7th picture from the top????

  53. Anonymous says

    Thank so much for sharing. I can’t wait to make one for my little sweetie!

  54. You know something is amazing when you have 54 comments for it!

    Thanks so much for sharing it with SewSet, I have featured it as one of today’s top patterns!

    Thank you again, and hope you are having a great day!

    – Jess,

  55. I saw a dress like this on the Hucklebones website, and I was going to try to recreate it, but then I stumbled on this post. Thanks for showing me how!

  56. Absolutely darling! I have an excuse to run to the fabric store and buy some more fabric now!

  57. I love the Madison Dress, my granddaughters name is Madison, I would love to make this dress, how can I get that pattern? or where can I order it.

  58. Love this!!

  59. Just came across this dress. I love it!

  60. What is an invisible stich? Do you just stitch it on the under side of the bow?

  61. Kelli Lawson says

    Did you add any – wow my mind just went completely blank as to what its called UGH- stiffener to the back of the bow fabric?

  62. Christine Hadley says

    Very cute, hopefully I can pull it off.


  1. […] The Madison Dress – Big bows seem to be pretty big in little girl’s clothing it seems. […]

  2. […] Jess from CINO shared this dress I was instantly in LOVE! I love big bows and I knew I had to make that! I decided to put it on […]

  3. […] be fun to make a project that included one of the projects from one of my favorite blogs. When Jess from CINO shared this dress I was instantly in LOVE! I love big bows and I knew I had to make that! I decided to put it on […]

  4. […] be fun to make a project that included one of the projects from one of my favorite blogs. When Jess from CINO shared this dress I was instantly in LOVE! I love big bows and I knew I had to make that! I decided to put it on […]

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