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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

.:Tutorial Tuesday - Hi-Lo Knit Dress:.

I have to admit, I am kind of on a knit kick right now. I am loving coming up with fun things for my girls to wear that are going to be nice and comfortable for what is sure to be a summer of lots of playing. My latest creation? How about a cute little hi-lo knit dress?

hi-lo knit dress

These come together really easily; I whipped up three in no time at all.

Here’s what you need?

- knit material
- elastic (1/4”)
- sewing machine/accessories

Do you like the animal prints I got for my girls? Believe me when I say that they are wild things, and these dresses will be perfect!


You’re going to start off doing some measuring. Start with the bodice. I knew that I wanted these to be more empire waist-ish, so I measured from my girls’ chests down to where I wanted the empire waist to begin. This is the length. So for Harper (my one year old) I wanted the chest length to be about 4.5”. I cut my length to 6” to account for attaching the bodice to the skirt, as well as creating a casing for the elastic at the neckline.

Next, I measured her chest width. I measured from under each arm pit to the other armpit, and added on an inch extra to each side to account for seams, as well as putting the shirt on and taking it off. It ended up a tad big on her tiny little bod, so I probably could have gotten away with only adding on an extra half inch to each side. So her chest width was 10.5”, which meant I cut it to 12.5”.

Bodice for Harper (cut two): 6” x 12.5”

Are you still with me?

Now it’s time to measure for the skirt. I measured how long I wanted the longest part of the skirt to fall, which was about to her mid-calf. Then I measured how long I wanted the shortest part of the skirt to fall, which was about to her knees. I made the width a few inches wider than the bodice; I didn’t want a super gathered skirt, but you could certainly make yours more gathered if you like!

Skirt for Harper (cut one on the fold): 13” & 16” x 15.5”

Be sure to cut your skirt on the fold so that it is still connected as one piece! You’ll cut your skirt piece to your longest measurement by your width, which in my case was 16” x 15.5”.

Then it’s time to cut the hi-lo part of the skirt. With your fold at the top, position your ruler as many inches difference between your hi and lo measurements (for me, three inches) and angle it to the bottom of your skirt piece in a diagonal line.

Unfolded, your skirt piece looks like this.

hi-lo skirt

And I'm going to be super honest with you. I actually ended up going back and making the angle more severe and higher in the front. Easy to change if you need to!

So far, you should have two bodice pieces cut out and one skirt. Now you need sleeves. I’ll be honest. I cheat on sleeves. I love to use the sleeves in this Peasant Tops/Dresses pattern from Whimsy Couture. I love how flouncy and fluttery they are. You could easily figure out sleeves using an existing t-shirt, or you can use a favorite pattern’s sleeves (or just go buy this pattern, I use it a lot! And I am saying that all of my own accord!)

Cut the arm hole cut outs in your bodice pieces and sleeves. These have to match! Use a template from a pattern, or use an existing shirt to trace.

bodice and sleeves

Go ahead and hem up the bottom of the skirt, as well as the bottoms of the sleeves.

Now attach the sleeves to the bodice by matching up the armholes with the right sides facing together. It will all fit together like a neat little puzzle.

attaching sleeves to bodice

attaching sleeves to bodice

Here’s what your bodice will look like once you’ve attached the sleeves to the bodice, and then closed up the bottoms of the sleeves and the sides of the bodice.

bodice with sleeves attached

Take the skirt piece, and sew up the long side. This seam is going to be the back of your skirt, and also the longest part of your skirt.

hi-lo skirt

Run a gathering stitch along the top edge of the skirt, gather it and pin it to the bodice with right sides facing.

attaching bodice to skirt

Turn it out and top stitch all the way around.

top stitched bodice

The last step, which is not pictured, is to fold down the top of the bodice to the inside and create a casing for your neck elastic. Get the elastic in there, sew up your casing, and you are done!

hi-lo knit dress

Then attempt to take pictures of your baby who just learned how to walk and is super busy.

You won’t get any good ones.

But you will get a good laugh trying.

Are you going to make one?


  1. Cuuuute! I like how you cut the hem. Very clever!

  2. Such a sweet simple dress. Thank you for posting this tutorial.
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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love reading them! I try to reply to questions the best I can, but you can always email me at sumossweetstuff {at} gmail {dot} com.