First-Day Dress

by Dana on August 27, 2013

The good news about not sewing all summer is that my sewing room has stayed spotless!
I’ve loved walking in there and breathing that fresh, clean, organized scent.
The bad news, however, is that I’ve missed it.

And it only takes one project to remind you how fulfilling it is to take a 2-dimensional piece of fabric and create it into something wearable, and cute!

News flash: sewing is amazing.
Okay maybe that was more of a reminder.  But it’s good to have those…like the previous post….you know, being away from your kids for a weekend (or your machine for the summer) so that you’re extra happy to reunite?

Well with a new school year coming up I did what I do every year:  freak out that I waited till the last minute to sew a new outfit and started rummaging through fabric.  I showed Lucy a few fabric options, she picked her favorite (which I think is from Joanns?), and I sewed it up:

My dainty little 2nd grader.

The pattern is a spin on the KITE dress I’ve been working on for a while now.  And when I say spin, it really spins!  I used the bodice from the kite dress pattern and added an almost circle skirt to the bottom (creating it from 2 “semi” circles)

Lucy totally loved it.
I wanna spin like that!

Some of the added details….

The dress has a full lining (because honestly, that’s the easiest way to sew a dress, rather than creating facings and heming sleeves, etc.  Plus it looks pretty)

I popped a MADE tag in the side.

Lucy picked a yellow button for the back closure (which was my pick too!  I love it when we’re on the same design page.  It’s funny how often that happens)

And I went back and forth on the hem…should I attach the lining to the dress hem, keep them separate?  Make the lining hem longer so it shows?  So many options.  I decided to keep them separate which seems to make the skirt a bit fuller (and twirlier?)

And if I pull the dress inside out, you can see how fun it would be to leave the lining a bit longer than the dress so it pokes out a bit.  Maybe on the next dress.

We pulled it all together with a few accessories,

…and some hidden accessories for those kind of moments (yay KID Shorts!)

And just like that, my baby is ready for another year of learning and excitement.
Do you ever drop your kids off at school and wish you could be them?
Being a kid is the life.

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{ 115 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa August 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

awesome! I wish my mom would’ve been able to create like you do. What fun as a kid!! :-)


2 oon August 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Too cute.
It looks like she’s grown so much.


3 rachael {imagine gnats} August 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

love the spin!!!


4 Lindsay Wilkes - The Cottage Mama August 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Really beautiful, Dana! She looks like she loves her dress…….which is the best part :).


5 Melanie August 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

SO cute, I love this one. Truly, the bigger the twirl, the happier the girl!


6 Jen August 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

That is one pretty dress, might have to try that!

I just finished up some of your circle skirts, 2 of my 4 go to school in the building I teach in so it will be fun to see them leave for their classrooms and then a few seconds later welcome into my open arms all my new preschoolers.


7 Teresa August 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Oooh…I love, love, love it! You always use finishing details that make your creations pop. I love the yellow!


8 Regina Roza August 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

absolutely adorable!!


9 Deborah August 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Darling. And M just lost her upper incisor, too! Might be time to get our families together–am sure I can convince hubs to take a trip to Austin w the kids…

Happy First Day of School! It’s like Christmas, but hotter! :)


10 Sue August 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I love it!!! Are you making this a pattern?


11 mirela August 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

This is adorable! I would like to have one too :)


12 LucyL August 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm

so cute,,, SO CUTE! :))


13 Bego August 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Beautiful dress! It will certainly make the first day of school a bit more special ^_^


14 Kristin August 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Cute dress!!!

I too waited till the last minute and made a quick simple skirt at 9pm the night before school started. DD wanted to help but had to go to bed.

For her “getting to know me” homework assignment she asked for a scrap of fabric to show her class because she likes to sew with me! Love that Lucy enjoys participating in the process with you too!


15 Kathryn August 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Love it! This is exactly what I’m hoping to rustle up for my 5 y/o’s first day of kindergarten, but I can’t find a good pattern. (HINT) She has at least half a dozen Simple Skirts in her closet, because her clothes “have to twirl”. I could always make another of those. But I sure would rather make this dress. (HINT) She doesn’t start school until Sept 9. (HINT HINT)

Lucy looks lovely :)


16 kandyce August 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

can you include instructions about how to enlarge it… to adult size? :)


17 Chelsea August 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Can you make me that dress?? That is adorable.


18 Holly August 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

You’re awesome, Dana!


19 palak August 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

gasp! she looks so grown up! Where has the time gone? Fabulous dress :) I love how you did the sleeves.


20 bleu August 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Love the dress, where can I get that fabric?


21 netty August 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

ADORABLE! I hope thisbecomes a pattern someday! :)


22 Niki August 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm

So stinking cute!!!! The girl AND the dress, that is. :)


23 Danielle August 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm

SO ADORABLE! Please say you will be making a pattern/tutorial to share. I LOVE this sweet little dress.


24 Julie H. August 27, 2013 at 6:20 pm

So darling, I love it! I haven’t sewing anything this summer either other than some burp and wash cloths for a baby shower! I am sure once fall comes and I am down 2 kids to school I will have more time to sew things up!

Great job!


25 katie August 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm

i’m in love with that dress! I want to make one for each of my daughters (3rd and 1st). Love the pattern (which I would never have picked).


26 gail August 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

that’s a fabulous dress! i want to make one!!


27 Max August 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Such a beautiful dress! The twirl factor rocks! I love that up skirt pic on the wall, to show the fullness of the skirt, just love it!


28 Eva August 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

So cute!!!!! Only you could wait until the last minute and pull something off that’s so adorable!


29 Kristin August 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

it’s super adorable – the twirly skirt is always a winner according to my little gal, too!


30 Miren August 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I do want to spin like that too!! Can we wear this kind of special dress on our first day back to work after the holidays? That would make it funnier indeed.
I am in for the pattern, by the way, ;). It is a pretty, simple and elegant dress that shows the fabric very well. Congratulations!!


31 Kathleen August 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm

The dress is fabulous! I so miss making first-day-of-school dresses. My oldest is a freshman in college and her sister is a junior in high school. I still make them dresses, but it’s not quite the same.


32 Jane @ Handiworking August 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Completely adorable! My mom sewed most of our clothes growing up. My sisters and I would have loved that twirly dress. Lucky girl!


33 Carin August 27, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I love that – so beautiful!!!!!


34 handmadebyjaia August 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm

It’s adorable and perfect for spinning! I love it!


35 Emilie August 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Can’t WAIT until this pattern is available for purchase….please?


36 Leah B August 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I love this fabric and the dress both are so cute. I may have to head to joann’s to find it and make my own.


37 jodie August 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

yay! your back! have missed your fun blogs and totally understand the blah of getting back into things, looks like you had a fun holiday with your sisters and cousins, america looks ace! Lucy’s dress is superdooper, cant wait for that pattern.
have a good crazy start of the school year week….cheers jodie :O)


38 Willit August 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Very cute. I love the spinniness of the skirt.

In Australia, most schools have a uniform that is to be worn daily, so no “first day dresses” to make here, but I love the shorts as an accessary. I used to do that all the time for my girl, but have mostly gotten out of the habit recently. That is until I saw her playing in the playground in her school dress the other day. Yeah, those shorts are kind of necessary if they want to have fun without flashing.


39 Mikea August 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm

The one thing cuter than that dress is that missing tooth! Too cute! Hope she has a great first day


40 Kara August 27, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Love everything about this dress! Makes me want one in my size! :)


41 Maureen August 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I am dying to make this for my 3rd grader! Will this be a pattern? I’d love to buy it!!


42 Anneliese August 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Such a cute dress and a cute girl! Yeah, being a kid is the life! Good work, Mom! You pulled off another great one for the first day of school. :-)


43 hannah elise August 28, 2013 at 12:01 am

cutest dress ever!!!! gah, I just love this and how you photographed it. #eyecandy :) you rock, Dana!


44 Shannon August 28, 2013 at 12:10 am

Yes, “being a kids is the life”.

Adorable dress.


45 Susan August 28, 2013 at 12:27 am

Great Dress!! Will we be able to buy a pattern soon???


46 Marianne August 28, 2013 at 1:17 am

We’re living in Germany rut now and Oktoberfest is around the corner. I really want to sew a dirndl-like dress for my 3 year old girl. I think this would be the pattern! What fun! It’s adorable (but really, everything on Lucy is.) any chance of making this a pattern? Thanks for the inspiration.


47 Kelly August 28, 2013 at 1:22 am

This dress is so pretty! Do a pattern please!!!! Will definitely purchase it!
And maybe… a tutorial too on how to include lining dresses? =)


48 RebeccaB August 28, 2013 at 1:34 am

Yes!yes! A pattern, please:) My little lady is in LOVE with this dress! Continue being amazing, Dana.


49 Emily August 28, 2013 at 1:45 am

What a gorgeous dress! I want one in my size. :)


50 By Night August 28, 2013 at 4:06 am

What a beautiful dress! I looove the fabric Lucy picked


51 Jelle August 28, 2013 at 6:08 am

Wonderful !!! Looks like a comfy dress too !


52 Marnie Peck August 28, 2013 at 7:33 am

Love this!! Speaking of Kite Dress, I can’t wait for that! Love the simple style and can’t wait to sew a few up! Do you have an ETA for it??


53 Debbie B August 28, 2013 at 7:59 am

This is so cute! I will have to try this for my granddaughter and for my cousin’s little girl. She wants to wear dresses only! Great fun dress and I love your ideas for the lining.


54 Miggy August 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

Need. This. Dress.

For me and my girls.


55 Amy August 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

You know, I’ve never put into words why I love to sew so much but when Dana said “sewing is amazing” and then talked about taking a 2 dimensional piece of fabric and making into a 3 dimensional piece it totally made my heart swell. I know that sounds corny but I LOVE TO SEW! I look at this wonderful site daily and have made many of the crafts and sewing projects. Thank you, Dana, for sharing your ideas with us.


56 Dana August 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

oh what a sweet comment! Thanks Amy :). And I’m so happy sewing makes your heart swell. That’s the best feeling!…and best way to describe it. Have a great day! Hopefully you can get some sewing in….


57 Delia August 28, 2013 at 11:07 am

Darling first day dress! Love it. And love that you got to remember why you enjoy sewing so much.

Happy second grade to Lucy!


58 lena August 28, 2013 at 11:34 am

I hope, hope, hope you’re going to have this pattern for sale on the the blog. With a cute little collar, this would be perfect for my daughter’s school uniform dress.


59 Melanie M. August 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…make this pattern available! My little one would absolutely adore this


60 Slavica Vucinic August 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm



61 Anya August 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

So adorable! I need to make one for my daughter. She loves to twirl!


62 Carolyn Thornley August 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm

She looks very cute in that dress. Love it!


63 Ashley S. August 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

This is simply darling :) I love how quaint it is and I must check out your other KITE dress tutorial and see what I can whip up for my little :)
Thanks alot Dana!!!


64 Danita Courtney August 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm

It’s lovely! And the spin on it is amazing! You go mom!!! Happy little girls all around!


65 Zuzana August 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm

oh, they are sweet, the dress and the girl – both!


66 Melissa Shultz August 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!!!! I love that dress and Lucy looks fabulous in her new twirly dress.

I’ve been having fun making different purses and bags and I am finding it to be very addictive. I totally agree with your description. Sewing is extremely satisfying for me.


67 Eli August 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hi, I was wondering how you could expand it for an adult?


68 Sarah August 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Ohhh I hope you come out with a pattern! I want to make one! so cute! Also curious what you do to wash it? does it wrinkle and you just iron?


69 Dana September 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I washed it in a normal wash cycle then laid it flat (or you could hang it) to dry.
It wrinkled a bit (just that simple wrinkle that cotton does) but it was fine enough without ironing for her to wear again!


70 Nanci Fitschen August 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Just darling!!!


71 Lynet Witty August 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

i am absolutely in love! she is your greatest model! love the cut and fabric! welcome back to the sewing world Dana!


72 Dana August 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I just washed it on cold and hung it up to dry. It might need a bit of ironing but overall not too bad.


73 KatieP August 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Such a cute dress. And it definitely is spin-able.


74 Teressa August 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Lovely! And I totally agree… sewing is amazing and I’ll add quilting to that too! I’m taking next week off and have 3 whole days to myself to quilt. I’m so excited!! Your pics of Palm Springs were so cute.


75 Colleen August 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm

And how fun would that dress look with a yellow lining? :-)


76 Petra August 28, 2013 at 6:42 pm

The fabric is GORGEOUS and I love it with YELLOW!:-D Would look great on mum too!:-) The lining would look cool longer in a contrasting colour! My mum used to make dresses for me when I was in primary school but we never ever had the beautiful fabrics that are everywhere today.


77 Meagan August 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm

VERY cute dress!


78 Laura August 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm

This is SO CUTE! I’ve really been hoping you would post more dress ideas – I love making dresses for my girls (4 & 6), so I hope you post a tutorial of this soon. I think this is my favorite piece you’ve “made” on here :) I tell all my friends about your site – I love it!


79 Kathryn August 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

semi-related question – How have the Spoonflower knits that you worked with a while back held up? As I’m pinning this and other girls school dresses, a lot of them are knit-friendly, but 99% of the available knits are meh. Spoon is pricey, but if they wash well I would maybe splurge on one or two yards.


80 Stacy Wilson August 29, 2013 at 12:29 am

I LOVE this dress. My daughter (5) is obsessed with “twirly” dresses! This would be perfect for her!


81 Stacy Wilson August 29, 2013 at 12:32 am

Would also totally buy the pattern. Do you have a tutorial about lining a dress?


82 Dana September 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

This will be included in the pattern when it’s ready


83 eithne August 29, 2013 at 4:05 am

I adore this. Would be perfect for my lucy too. It is the perfect dress for this age I think. Any chance of a tutorial? It is divine


84 Corrine August 29, 2013 at 6:28 am

Simply amazing. My cc is waiting for the “buy now” button. Not to put on more pressure, but I can’t wait for the pattern!


85 iHeartQuilting August 29, 2013 at 8:56 am

Adorable! You are going to put out an adult pattern for this dress, too, right? (hint, hint). I would wear that, it is so fun.


86 Michelle August 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

Super cute!


87 Kaesey August 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

So cute! Linings always scare me, but the way you describe it here makes a lot of sense. And I love the button on the back.


88 Tiffany August 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I love this dress. I am desperately trying to find really cute dress patterns to sew for my twin girls. Will you be making this available in the near future? I would be among the first to give it a spin x 2! I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to make this dress! I love you style.


89 Becky W September 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Such a darling dress (and model!)
I would love to purchase this pattern if you decide to make one. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!



90 melissa September 1, 2013 at 11:06 pm

adorable!! you are so clever!! Did you make the headband too? If not where is it from?


91 Dana September 17, 2013 at 9:24 pm

it’s from Cali Katrina! I love her stuff


92 brett September 3, 2013 at 12:22 am

okay, i’m clearly not the first person to make this comment, but MAN i hope you make a pattern for this. please?

it’s such a refreshing dress for a GIRL — the tulip sleeve, the twirling skirt. so many kids clothes these days look like mini versions of grown up clothes, but this is just perfect.


93 Janel September 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I LOVE this dress!!! Please make a pattern!!!!!


94 Margie K September 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Love the finishing touches such as the yellow button. The accessories (necklace & shoes) really make the outfit pop as well! Very couture!


95 Rae September 5, 2013 at 10:30 am

oh good grief is that ever adorable!! LOVE IT!



96 Shannon September 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

So adorable! Love the fabric and the button!


97 Evelyn September 7, 2013 at 5:08 am

I’m so going to try to make an adult version…..well, after I delivered my 2nd babies next week, that is, then I’ll make her and mine together :D


98 Debbie September 7, 2013 at 5:16 am

I would love the pattern for the headband!


99 Dana September 17, 2013 at 9:24 pm

It’s from the shop Cali Katrina! Check out her cute stuff:


100 Giovanna Hammond September 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

Absolutely lovely! Cannot wait for the pattern!


101 Janine September 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm

What a lovely dress! I have learned a lot from your site as well as Ms. Rae, and have been able to sew lots of items for my first baby boy. I have a few nieces I would like to sew dresses for, but I am somehow feeling more intimidated by it, especially fully lined dresses with sleeves. I have scoured the Internet for a decent tutorial that focuses on how to attach a lined sleeve but have turned up pretty empty. Any insights, or book recommendations on sewing a dress with lined sleeves would be appreciated (I am a beginner and work better with visuals, as I am not too knowledgeable with actual seamstress terminology)! Thanks.


102 Bonnie February 12, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Try this one!
Great tute for drafting and attaching a fully lined cap sleeve!


103 Ronica September 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I just have to say, I love that crocheted head band! what a great idea, and so easy! :-)


104 Jo Hirst January 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous and my daughter thinks so too! I have to make one. Thank you


105 Beckyw February 1, 2014 at 12:05 am

Still hoping to be able to purchase this pattern soon. Any updates??? :-)


106 Dana February 5, 2014 at 10:33 am

Yes yes yes. I am still working on it. With the holidays I pushed it till Spring. But it is on my calendar for mid-March, so there’s time for people to sew it for Easter, spring, and summer.
Sorry for the delay. It’s just how life goes being a mom at the same time :)
Have a great day!


107 Paula February 12, 2014 at 8:38 am

is the First Day Dress pattern going to be available soon? Ill wait if so, I want to make Easter dresses…


108 Dana February 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

yes yes! My plan is to have it ready in March.
This month we’re moving houses. Next month I’m finishing the dress pattern. And April is Easter!
Sorry for the delay. Just the life of a mom :)


109 Bonnie February 12, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Great dress! Question though…How do you sew your bodice with a full lining without cutting it all the way down the back? I’m doing something similar and only want a keyhole opening like yours but if neck and arm holes are all sewn together to the lining, it’s impossible to flip! Does that make any sense at all?? :) thx!


110 Bonnie February 12, 2014 at 8:50 pm
111 Roxann March 9, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Totally looking forward to this tutorial and pattern! My little one starts kindergarten this fall and I would love to have your First Day Dress be her First Day Dress! Gives me plenty of time to find that perfect pink fabric for her – the girl is crazy about pink! P.S. Congratulations on your new home, it looks beautiful. You may have just changed my favorite color to gray!


112 Nicola March 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

Cannot wait for this pattern! My daughter always comments on this dress when I have my Pinterest board open! She loves twirly dresses, I’ve got to give in and make her one rather than tunic style dresses! No pressure, you are amazing with all you juggle!


113 Nina March 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

I absolutely love your site! I am knew at sewing and tried making your “simple skirt” for my daughter. The instructions and photo were very easy to understand and follow. I really enjoyed actually making something that my daughter and I both enjoyed.
I have been wanting to learn how to make a dress…but I haven’t found a tutorial on here. Is there one available? and if not can you recommend a site that would?
Thank you!


114 Jackie April 4, 2014 at 11:35 am

Woohoo!! I was reading through the comments and saw the updates for the pattern for this dress. I am so excited for its release. I know you have been busy with life, kids, new house, projects… I have fabric at the ready to make this dress for my daughter (not that she needs spring/summer clothes for this year). :)


115 Karen Gibson March 28, 2015 at 6:29 am

Love the dress. Thanks alot my grandaughter will love this dress.


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