Free sewing pattern alert: Be sure to grab a copy of this Bell Sleeve T-Shirt Dress! The free pdf pattern comes in sizes 3 to 12 and makes the perfect addition to any little girls wardrobe.
Bell Sleeve T-Shirt Dress Sewing Pattern for Girl’s (sz 3 to 12)
My missy has had a little t-shirt dress with bell sleeves that she loves and has been begging me for several months to make another for her. I finally had a few free minute to sit down and work on the pattern. (It’s really just a mish-mash of my t-shirt pattern and bell sleeve swing top, with a skirt added.)
We are both thrilled how the dress turned out! She wore it to school on Friday; after she got home, she immediately took the dress off and asked if I thought it was clean enough to wear to a party we have on Saturday or did I need to wash it. (The dress still looks pretty good- yea black!)
I absolutely love this floral fabric! Nothing screams spring like a bright, pretty floral print. I’ve had this fabric in my stash for at least a year, if not two, so I can’t remember where it came from, but I did do a quick little fabric search on Etsy (here) and found tons of gorgeous floral options.
With the right fabric or print, this little t-shirt dress can be dressed up or down and would be perfect for your spring photos or holiday parties. (I can picture it in a hunter green or poinsettia red stretch velvet for Christmas parties.)
Recommended Fabric for the Bell Sleeve T-Shirt Dress Pattern
The dress pattern is designed to be sewn with knits and comes together very quickly. Of course, one of my favorite aspects of sewing with knits is that it’s not always necessary to hem the edges or finish the seams. (Though I do admit to often coming back and adding a hem after an item has been worn a time or two.)
And for those who will be emailing to ask if you can sew this with quilting cotton, lol, yes, you probably can if you split the back bodice down the middle and add an extra seam allowance and a button placket. You might also need to add a bit of width to the sleeve as well.
Pattern Fit Information: (Finished length = shoulder to skirt bottom)
- Size 3: Height- 38.5 inches, Weight- 32 lbs, Finished length: 21.5. Finished chest: 22.5 inches
- Size 4: Height- 41.5 inches, Weight- 36 lbs, Finished length: 23.5. Finished chest: 23.5
- Size 5: Height- 44.5 inches, Weight- 42 lbs, Finished length: 25.5. Finished chest: 24
- Size 6: Height- 46.5 inches, Weight- 48 lbs, Finished length: 27.5. Finished chest: 25.75
- Size 7: Height- 51 inches, Weight- 60 lbs, Finished length: 28.625. Finished chest:27
- Size 8: Height- 53 inches, Weight- 66 lbs, Finished length: 30. Finished chest: 28.75
- Size 10: Height- 55 inches, Weight- 74 lbs, Finished length: 31.25. Finished chest: 29.875
- Size 12: Height- 57.5 inches, Weight- 84 lbs, Finished length: 33. Finished chest: 31
To Make the Bell Sleeve T-Shirt Dress you need:
- Pattern (download found on here)
- Amount of fabric needed (2 yards needed of 58 inches wide knit fabric for the size 12.
- Ribbed binding (usually has 50 to 70% stretch) or other stretchy knit for the neckline (you don’t want to use anything with less than 30% stretch-see notes under pattern tips and tricks)
- Ballpoint/jersey needle
- spray starch/iron
- basic sewing supplies
Tips for Sewing with Knit Fabrics:
- Use a ballpoint/stretch needle
- Sew seams with either a serger, stretch stitch, narrow zig zag or a straight stitch with a longer stitch length and a slightly loosened tension. (Make a couple of practice stitches on your fabric to see what works best.) I also like to use this “lightning bolt” stretch stitch on seams that need strength but a little give. (For my project I used a combination of straight stitch and serger for seams and zig zag on the hems.)
- Use spray starch when pressing hems. Sew hems with a zig zag, twin ball point needle, narrow zig zag with a long stitch length or a straight stitch with a long stitch length and a slightly loosened tension or leave raw. (also helps to use a walking foot.)
- If you find your fabric keeps getting pulled inside the needle plate, place a small piece of tissue underneath the fabric so the feed dogs have something to grip.
Products used and recommended in this post:
- Floral knits on Etsy, another favorite fabric shop for knits: Funkalicious Fabrics.
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist, my coverstitch: Janome Cover Pro 1000cpx
- My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
- Rotary Cutter
- I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start of with a smaller Cutting set
- Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
- Ball Point needles
- Singer walking foot or universal walking foot (helps when sewing on very stretch fabric.)
- Cordless iron and spray starch
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
Ready to sew one of these dresses for your little princess?