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The Boho-Maxi Dress Tutorial and Pattern

Summer’s almost here!  Use this free Boho Maxi Dress Pattern and tutorial to make your daughter a maxi dress she will love.

girls maxi dress pattern

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

Boho Maxi Dress for Girls

My little missy has been requesting a maxi dress for a while.  Of course, she doesn’t call it a maxi dress, she just says she wants a dress “down to here” and points to her ankles.

I came across this gorgeous tie-dyed paisley cotton fabric a few weeks ago at Hancock Fabrics and knew it would make a perfect summer maxi dress. (So perfect, that I am thinking about picking up a few more yards and making myself one, lol.)

Update: Hancock Fabrics is now out of business, but Fabric.com has an incredible selection of batik fabric, here ==> Batik Fabric

Free Maxi Dress Sewing Pattern

The design of this maxi dress is very simple and you should be able to make it in just a few hours.  

how to sew a girls maxi dress

Boho Maxi Dress Details

The Boho Maxi Dress Pattern is a very simple design that consists of a lined bodice with halter neck straps and an open, elasticized back.

The skirt has one long tier and a shorter “ruffle tier”. I had originally intended to do a three-tiered skirt, but I’m glad I went with only 2 tiers for the final design.  Saves a lot of time and makes for a much simpler construction.

PLEASE NOTE, the Girls Maxi Dress Pattern is currently only for the bodice only in sizes 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 . You will need your own measurements to create a skirt in the appropriate length.  The tutorial also includes instructions to create different sizes.

(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)

free maxi dress pattern

Girl’s Love Maxi Dresses!

I finished the dress right before she got home from school and immediately had her try it on. I took her to see how she looked in my full-length mirror.  Oh my, what a reaction!  She was in love and immediately started blowing kisses to herself in the mirror.

Girls Maxi Dress Tutorial

The first thing my missy asked me, could she take the dress to Port Aransas this weekend? (Port Aransas is a barrier island off the coast of Texas and she has a planned trip there to visit her Nana, Papa, and cousins…)  

She then asked if she could wear the dress to the beach, I told her I didn’t think it was a very good dress for the beach, it was so long, she would get it wet and sandy. She followed up with, “what if she took it off when she got there and folded it up nicely?”  I said that would be ok.

(I’m not too worried though, I doubt Nana will let her wear the dress down to the beach…  haha.)

girls maxi dress pattern

Ready to make a version of this Boho Maxi Dress for your Little Miss? 

Visit my Shop (here) and add the free maxi dress pattern to your cart and check out.  Keep reading for sewing Instructions.

In this tutorial, I have included a pattern for the Maxi Dress Bodice in sizes 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8, but you will need to measure your child so you can adjust the length of the dress to what works for you…  (If you need a different size dress, I will show you how easy it is to make your own bodice pattern for this maxi dress in step 1.)

Boho Maxi Dress Pattern Tips

When printing the pattern, first download the pattern to your pc, then open in adobe reader choose auto/landscape, and print at actual size.)

Seam allowances are included and are .25 inches unless otherwise specified.

 

The Boho Maxi Dress Tutorial:

Materials needed:

  • 2 yards of fabric (sizes 8 and under) (If your fabric has a pattern repeat that can’t turn sideways, you will need an additional 3/4 yard of fabric)
  • 12-inch piece of 3/4 inch elastic
  • pattern (or a well-fitting tee to make your own) (Do not print directly from the google pdf reader. For the pattern to print properly, you must download it to your pc and print from adobe reader.)
  • measuring tape, rulers, iron and other basic sewing supplies

Products used and recommended in this Girl’s Dress project:

  1. My favorite fabric shops are: Etsy Funkalicious FabricsFabric.com and Girl Charlee.
  2. My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist, my coverstitch: Janome Cover Pro 1000cpx
  3. My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
  4. Rotary Cutter
  5. I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start of with a smaller Cutting set
  6. Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
  7. Cordless Iron
  8. Interfacing
  9. Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!

Pattern info: Seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.

Step 1: Print (or create) the Bodice Pattern 

Print the front/back bodice pattern and cut out the size needed.

*Size you need not available?  (Follow the directions below to make your own – click the images to make them bigger.)

 

Lay your bodice pattern on the fold of your fabric and cut out the front bodice piece, bodice lining and back bodice piece.

Step 2: Get measurements and cut out the rest of the maxi dress pieces.

Hold the front bodice piece up to your child and measure from the bottom of the fabric to where you want the skirt to end.

(Our measurement was 28.)

The top tier should be approximately two times as tall at the bottom tier.  Take your measurement and divide by 3.  That number is your bottom tier and double it to get the top tier.  (Technically this would make my tiers 18.6 and 9.3, but I just rounded the number to 19 and 9 – just make sure when they are added together it equals your original measurements.)

To accommodate seam allowances and hem, add 1/2 inch to the height of the top tier and 3/4 inch to the bottom tier.

Cut these pieces for the skirt:

Top tier: your height measurement (height) by 45 inches (width).

Bottom tier: your height measurement (height by 67 (width) inches.

If the pattern repeat on your fabric can be cut in any direction, you can cut the tiers in 1 piece. If not, you will need to cut the tiers in 2 pieces. (22.75 wide for the top tier and 33.75 for the bottom tier.)  Tip: For sizes larger than a girls size 12, I recommend adding at least 10 inches to the width of each tier.

Straps: Cut two strips, 3 inches wide by 20 inches long.

You will have:

Step 3: Assembling the bodice.

Right sides together fold the strap piece in half and sew down the long side and one short side.  Turn the strap right side out and press flat.

Layout the front bodice piece right side up.  Measure over 3/8 inch from the arm edge and pin the straps in place as shown below.

Place the bodice lining on top, right side down, pinning in place.  Sew along the top and as shown below.

Trim the corner and clip a few notches in the arm curve on both sides.

maxi dress pattern

Turn the bodice front right side out and press.

Reopen the bodice.  Iron both side edges over, 1/4 inch.

To make the casing on the back bottom piece, fold the fabric in half right side facing out, and iron flat. Mark 3/8 inch from the top and draw a line side to side. Make another mark 1 inch down from the 1st mark and draw a 2nd line.  Sew along these lines.

Use a safety pin and thread the elastic through the casing.  Pin the elastic in place on both sides, but sew it in place on one side only.

free girls maxi dress pattern

Open the front bodice piece and fold over the side of the back bodice piece and sew along the edge. as shown below.

To determine how long the elastic piece needs to be, try the bodice piece on your daughter.

Adjust the elastic and casing so you have a snug fit around her chest. (You can also just guesstimate based on her chest measurement and subtract 3/4 inch.) Pin the other side of the bodice in place, trimming off any excess elastic. Sew along the edge where the two pieces meet up. (Like you did on the other side.)

Step 4: Attaching the skirt.

Fold the two skirt/tiers right sides together and sew along the sides.  Finish these seams with pinking shears, zigzag on the sewing machine or serger.

Sew a basting stitch along the top edge of the top tier and gather it up so it is the same width as the bottom of the bodice. (Width of the bodice stretched out.) (If you would like to see a more in-depth description of gathering and attaching a skirt, visit my sweet spring sundress tutorial.)

Right sides together, pin the skirt/top tier to the bodice.

Sew along the pinned edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

how to sew a dress

Gather the bottom tier until it is the same width as the top tier and right sides together, pin the top tier to the bottom tier and sew together.

Finish the edges of these seams with pinking shears, zigzag on the sewing machine or serger.

Press the seams of the tiers flat, with the finished edges facing up.  You can choose to topstitch along the top and bottom tier if you want, though I skipped this step…

Before hemming the bottom, it would be a good idea to have your little one try the dress on again and confirm the length. (Make any adjustments as needed.)  Hem the bottom edge by folding over 1/4 inch, press and fold over another 1/4 inch. Press again and sew along the edge.

You’re done!  Now have your little princess try on the dress and take a few pictures…  Be sure to come back and show off your creations on my facebook page or tag me on Instagram using the #scatteredmompatters.

free maxi dress

Easy Girls Sewing Projects you might like:

Here are a few more tutorials you may enjoy (plus you can find a lot more tutorials and patterns in the dropdown menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Make a Flutter Sleeve
Peasant Top plus Pattern
Cascading Ruffles Peasant Top
Cascading Ruffles
Peasant Top
Peasant Dress pattern
Peasant Dress w/ Free
Pattern
Apron Top Pattern and Tutorial
Apron Top Pattern
and Tutorial
Simple Summer Sundress
Simple Summer
Sundress

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51 Comments

  1. Can you redo the “make it bigger” pictures? They won’t get bigger on click and they’re too fuzzy to read as they are too small. Looks like a great pattern, looking forward to making it….

    1. Sorry about that, a setting had gotten changed a while back and I did not realize it affected these images. Should be good now.

  2. Wow! The dress looks amazing! I’d like to make one for my daughter, but I need a bigger size. I know you’ve explained how to do it at step one, but the images are so small and I can’t click on them to make them bigger… So I can’t read what’s written on them. Is it possible to get the images in bigger size? It’s the first time I do this. I don’t have so much experience in sewing.

    Thanks again. I can’t wait to make this dress!!!

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful pattern and tutorial! I hadn’t sewn anything in years and quarantine had me itching to make something. My daughter has been requesting a long dress and I used left over fabric from her nursery (she’s now 5). It turned out perfect and she loves it!!

  4. Hey,I love this pattern.I am new to making this type dress though.The straps on top,,are those also fastened on the back or do you tie them in place every time she puts the dress on?

  5. I loveeee this maxi! How adorable it is! Thank you for sharing! That pattern is absolutely beautiful! Gonna find a boho fabric to sew this dress for my kids.
    And the photos are very gorgeous, Your little lady is so cute, “a dress โ€œdown to hereโ€” aww <3

  6. Thank you, thank you! This pattern is simply amazing! My daughter fell in love with the material, but the link provided isn’t working. Can you update the link by chance?

    Again, thank you!
    -Nikki

  7. I made this for my daughter for xmas with a vintage sheet. I’m a beginner sew-er and found this so easy to follow. Thank you! You’ve given me the confidence to try another!

  8. I am making this in purple for my 5 year old. The step by step is so easy! You don't happen to know exactly what the name of this fabric is would you? I know you have the link to hancock fabric, but I can't find this print. It is probably gone by now, but just thought I'd ask! THanks!

    1. It has been a few years, I don't remember the name, but I think it is considered a batik print.
      Good luck!

  9. Just finished making this dress and my daughter loves it! Thank you for sharing this, your instructions we're ray easy to follow and the pictures were a great help!

  10. One more question, if you don't mind:-). What was the equation you used to figure out the bottom tier with? I think I'm going to do the top tier at about 50-60".

  11. Hi,

    First of all love your blog and patterns. I am currently in the process of making the little girl's maxi dress and I have a few questions. First for the tiers you are cutting the top tier times 2 right? I should have 2 pieces of 20 3/4 x 45 right (and 4 if lining)? Second on the bottom tier if it's times 67, I'll have to cute 2 seperate pieces to get there but wouldn't it really be 4? Because of a front skirt back skirt? I am newer to sewing and normally just figure it out through trial and error but I thought I'd ask in case.

  12. Hi,

    First of all love your blog and patterns. I am currently in the process of making the little girl's maxi dress and I have a few questions. First for the tiers you are cutting the top tier times 2 right? I should have 2 pieces of 20 3/4 x 45 right (and 4 if lining)? Second on the bottom tier if it's times 67, I'll have to cute 2 seperate pieces to get there but wouldn't it really be 4? Because of a front skirt back skirt? I am newer to sewing and normally just figure it out through trial and error but I thought I'd ask in case.

  13. Thanks so much! This was so easy and my girl loves (loves) it! She's worn it every day it's out of the laundry. You made our day…now if I could only size it for myself!

  14. This is stinking cute! I have twin girls who would ADORE a couple of these for next summer!

  15. I made this tonight! I made some silly mistakes, but it's just so forgiving. I'd like to thank you for such clear and simple instructions. It's my first time doing anything like this, and I loved it! I think I may make something similar to put in my operation christmas child box! Now that I know what I'm doing! THANKS THANKS THANKS! I mentioned you and your page on my blog. I hope that is okay. And I hope you get a tad more traffic because of it! ( http://pastorswifeslife.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/just-do-it/)

  16. I made this today (minus the tiers) for a "Dress a Girl Around the World" donation – it's a great pattern, I LOVE how it turned out! Thank you so much for sharing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sharing this tutorial! My daughter fell in love with this maxi dress we saw online –http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/girls-maxi-dress — but now maybe we can make it ourselves. Maybe. Let's hope I don't sew my fingers together!

  18. I am making this dress for the first time and I just have a question that I need clarification. On this part :

    Top tier: your height measurement X 45 inches.

    Bottom tier: your height measurement X 67 inches.
    If the pattern repeat on your fabric can be cut in any direction, you can cut the tiers in 1 piece. If not, you will need to cut the tiers in 2 pieces. (22.75 wide for the top tier and 33.75 for the bottom tier.)

    My top tier for my 18 month old is 10 inches and my bottom tier is 4 inches from the math we did right before.

    Do i take these numbers and times them x 46 and x67? Because if so, I need 246 inches of fabric for my 18 month old which is WAY more than a yard. Can you explain how you got your numbers?

    Thanks!

    1. Amanda, I think you are confused by my use of the "X" instead of the word "by". I will correct that in my tutorial so it it does not confuse anyone else…

      According to the instructions, your tiers should be: 10 inches tall by 45 inches wide and 4 inches tall by 67 inches wide.

      These measurements were designed with size 3 to 8 in mind. Since you are making a size 18 month, I think you might want to subtract a few inches from the width of the tiers. I would guess 4 to 5 inches at least from the top tier and around 6 from the bottom tier. (I have thrown away the scrap paper I used to figure out these numbers, but I think I multiplied the circumference of the bottom of the bodice by 1.75 to get the width of the top tier and multiplied the circumference of the middle tier by 1.5 to get the width of the bottom tier.

      I hope this helps more than it confuses. Feel free to message me to facebook if you need more help. (I would have emailed you directly with this answer, but your comment/email settings are set to no-reply.)
      ~Jamie

  19. Thank you for taking the time to make this awesome tutorial! Really! I can't wait to try one for each of my 3 girls!!

  20. This dress is gorgeous! Your directions are awesome too. I don't even sew but I bet I could make this dress with your directions.
    Thanks so much for linking this up to the Pinworthy Projects Party!

  21. She's too cute and the dress looks great!Thank You so much for sharing at A Bouquet of Talent this week! Happy Friday!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  22. Very cute dress!! I love how it looks with the little sweater to!

    Heidi

    handmadefrenzy.blogspot.com

  23. Really beautiful dress and tutorial! lovely!
    I'm an enthusiastic DIYer from Barcelona, would you like to follow each other on bloglovin'?
    Big kisses
    Marta

  24. Gorgeous dress and daughter! I have sewn for our American Girl Dolls plenty but haven't sewn for my daughters yet. I bet they would love this dress if I made it for them.
    KC

  25. OK seriously adorable and she is beautiful! You have some mad sewing skills! Thanks for sharing the pattern with us at MOnday Funday! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. Gorgeous!!! Everything! Thank you so much for sharing…have definitely pinned! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Beautiful Dress. I think I may have to make my Little miss one of these for the summer. Thanks you for sharing your tutorial. I know how much work they can be.
    Adrienne @ free Time frolics

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