First-Day Dress

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.

UPDATE:  You can now purchase the FIRST DAY DRESS Pattern HERE.

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.

  1. 1) Lisa

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

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

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

  4. 6) Jen

    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.

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

  6. 8) Regina Roza

    absolutely adorable!!

  7. 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! 🙂

  8. 10) Sue

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

  9. 11) mirela

    This is adorable! I would like to have one too 🙂

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

  11. 14) Kristin

    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!

  12. 15) Kathryn

    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 🙂

  13. can you include instructions about how to enlarge it… to adult size? 🙂

  14. 17) Chelsea

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

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

  16. 20) bleu

    Love the dress, where can I get that fabric?

  17. 21) netty

    ADORABLE! I hope thisbecomes a pattern someday! 🙂

  18. So stinking cute!!!! The girl AND the dress, that is. 🙂

  19. 23) Danielle

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

  20. 24) Julie H.

    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!

  21. 25) katie

    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).

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

  23. 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!

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

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

  26. 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!!

  27. 31) Kathleen

    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.

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

  29. I love that – so beautiful!!!!!

  30. 35) Emilie

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

  31. 36) Leah B

    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.

  32. 37) jodie

    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)

  33. 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.

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

  35. Love everything about this dress! Makes me want one in my size! 🙂

  36. 41) Maureen

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

  37. 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. 🙂

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

  39. Yes, “being a kids is the life”.

    Adorable dress.

  40. 45) Susan

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

  41. 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.

  42. 47) Kelly

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

  43. 48) RebeccaB

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

  44. What a gorgeous dress! I want one in my size. 🙂

  45. What a beautiful dress! I looove the fabric Lucy picked

  46. Wonderful !!! Looks like a comfy dress too !

  47. 52) Marnie Peck

    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??

  48. 53) Debbie B

    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.

  49. Need. This. Dress.

    For me and my girls.

  50. 55) Amy

    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

      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….

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

    Happy second grade to Lucy!

  52. 58) lena

    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.

  53. 59) Melanie M.

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

  54. 61) Anya

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

  55. 62) Carolyn Thornley

    She looks very cute in that dress. Love it!

  56. 63) Ashley S.

    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!!!

  57. 64) Danita Courtney

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

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

  59. 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.

  60. 67) Eli

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

  61. 68) Sarah

    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

      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!

  62. 70) Nanci Fitschen

    Just darling!!!

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

    • 72) Dana

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

  64. 73) KatieP

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

  65. 74) Teressa

    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.

  66. 75) Colleen

    And how fun would that dress look with a yellow lining? 🙂

  67. 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.

  68. 77) Meagan

    VERY cute dress!

  69. 78) Laura

    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!

  70. 79) Kathryn

    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.

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

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

    • 82) Dana

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

  73. 83) eithne

    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

  74. 84) Corrine

    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!

  75. 85) iHeartQuilting

    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.

  76. 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.

  77. 88) Tiffany

    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.

  78. 89) Becky W

    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!


  79. 90) melissa

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

  80. 92) brett

    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.

  81. 93) Janel

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

  82. 94) Margie K

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

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


  84. So adorable! Love the fabric and the button!

  85. 97) Evelyn

    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 😀

  86. 98) Debbie

    I would love the pattern for the headband!

  87. 100) Giovanna Hammond

    Absolutely lovely! Cannot wait for the pattern!

  88. 101) Janine

    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.

  89. 103) Ronica

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

  90. 104) Jo Hirst

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

  91. 105) Beckyw

    Still hoping to be able to purchase this pattern soon. Any updates??? 🙂

    • 106) Dana

      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!

  92. 107) Paula

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

    • 108) Dana

      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 🙂

  93. 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!

  94. 111) Roxann

    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!

  95. 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!

  96. 113) Nina

    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!

  97. 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). 🙂

  98. 115) Karen Gibson

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

  99. 116) Jennifer

    What a perfect post, Dana. Coming back to our loves after a little break is like a rebirth or new start; sewing a “new start” dress for the first day of school was a great way to kick it off. Your words and little twirler are darling.

  100. 117) Nicky

    Bought the pattern sunday and by today I made the dress 3 time. Love it ad granddaughter loves it too! Fantastic pattern!

  101. I ordered the first day of school dress pdf yesterday , September 25, 2015, and haven’t received the email yet. I paid with pay pal. I checked the spam folder also. Thank you. Look forward to hearing from you. Val

  102. 119) Debby

    I love you sweet lady! You are an answer to my prayers literally. I was about to start my first lined dress that I am creating for my granddtr who is 15 mths. I had no idea how to line it! I loved your dress pic and began to see if you included a free pattern;) you included so much more…. A beautiful explaination on how and why to line! Thank you so much. My sewing will never be the same. And my sewing room will never be organized! 😉

    • 120) Dana

      Oh that makes me so happy to hear!
      Thanks for sharing that Debby. And have fun sewing!

  103. 121) Amy

    Hi, I totally love tutoirals! they are so easy to understand, even a novice like me made a circle skirt for my neice using your tutoiral!
    You have some great looking patterns, my only problem is they dont come big enough for my neice (shes a size bigger), hopefully you’ll make some for older children (fingers crossed)

    Thanks so much for your hard work
    Amy x

  104. 122) Sarah

    Love this dress! Could it be made with sateen or more formal fabric for a fancy occasion?

  105. 123) Kathleen Miller

    I’m curious as to why you did not use a whole half-circle… that triangle seems a waste!
    thank you for the inspiration!

  106. 124) Debbie


    can I have the pattern of this lovely dress?


  107. 125) naturalagn1

    Can I make the circle skirt longer?

  108. 126) Pam

    I’ve made this dress five rimes now. Absolutely love it. The only advice I need,,,,,,two of my granddaughters have big heads! Beautiful heads but big heads. It’s a bit hard for them to pull on the dress. Any suggestions for altering any part of the dress to make it easier. It’s not the heck opening, it’s the waist. Maybe make the waist a bit bigger for them? Suggestions please?

  109. 127) Cinds

    hello. I’ve been looking for a free dress pattern. your link does not work. is this something you can still pass onto me? thanks in advance

Leave a Comment