Summer already feels like it has arrived.
What is more summery than a simple sundress made from ribbons and bandanas?
This is a wonderful beginner project.  
Easy straight line sewing and no finishing of seams.
Plus, it can be made for around $5.
Make one for all of the summer birthday girls in your life.
It will fit sizes 12 months- 5 years as a dress.
5 years and up as a long top.
The sizing is custom to the chest measurement of your child.

Two bandanas
3 yards of 1 1/2 inch ribbon
3/4 inch non-roll elastic
Coordinating thread
(I purchased all of my supplies at Walmart.)

Line the bandanas up,
right sides together.  
Mine weren't the exact same size, so I just made 
sure that the bottom seam matched.

If yours has printing on it, make sure that it is at the top so it won't show.
Sew along the right and left sides backstitching at the beginning and end.

Fold down the top 1 inch.
If you are fancy feel free to iron.
I'm too lazy.

Sew as close to the bottom as possible.  
Leave a three inch gap so you can insert the elastic.

I usually cut a piece of elastic a few inches less than the chest measurement.
Attach a safety pin to one side and thread through.

When the elastic is all of the way through, overlap and pin it together.

Sew a little box on the overlapped pieces.
Trim any excess.
Sew closed the opening, matching up with the original stitches.

Now you have what looks like (and could be...) a skirt.
On to the straps.

Cut two 40 inch pieces.
Seal the ends with a lighter.
Pin them a few inches in from each side seam.
I just eyeball it.

Stretch the elastic and sew the ribbon to your original stitching.
I like to make sort of an inverted T to keep the elastic in place.
Totally optional.

Cut an 8 inch piece of ribbon and heat seal edges.
Fold and pin it to look like an awareness ribbon.

Pin it to the middle back inside seam.
Sew along the original stitches.

The long pieces of ribbon will thread through this loop 
in a V shape between the collarbones.
A fun big bow will keep the dress in place.

Clip all stray thread, turn it inside out and you are done!!!

My models are still sleeping (love naptime crafts!) so here is the 
Minnie Mouse version that Halley wore last summer on the Disney cruise.

Happy sewing!


  1. okay so this is super cute but I think I am a lil slow...the awarness ribbon thingy goes on the back and then do you loop the ribbons through and then tie it? I am little confused it though thanks for sharing...of to Wal-Mart :)


  2. superdy duper! LOVE it, especially the part about how it only costs about $5
    I have everything except for the bandannas!

  3. This is so cute! I love your tutorials! thanks!

  4. How cute!! I'm all OVER this tutorial plus the fact that it's frugal and easy! A+++ :)r.

  5. this is on my to do list since I'm a complete beginner!! Thanks!

  6. How big of a little girl can you put these in? Just toddler age?

  7. As usual, this is a great tutorial for a super cute dress!

    Thank you for the bag, I just love it! Is it weird to want to carry it even while I do dishes, and laundry and diapers, just because I feel cuter when I have it on my arm? Thank you again, it was a generous giveaway and I appreciate it!

  8. wow...very very cute....I will have to admire only b/c I can barely sew a button.
    sandy toe

  9. I ADORE THIS! I'm getting a baby girl in August (adoption) and am heading to WalMart *today* to get some bandanas! I am loving all over your blog - it's a new find thanks to a link on Also, your Etsy is Faaaaabulous!

  10. That is the cutest thing ever (next to a pillowcase dress which are my fave). I'm all over this. Hobby Lobby has bandanas on sale this week! Could you tell me about what size these will fit? I'm assuming dress one year and tunic the next? Can they wear shirts underneath or is the elastic too tight?

  11. I love this!!! My little girl is a 3T or 4T. Do you think that will work??

  12. I actually think I might be able to do this, so do all of the moms at your kids school marvel at all or your homemade outfits and bows, I bet they are a little bit jealous, my Mom always made my stuff too! IT's the best thing ever!

  13. Okay, that is too cute!! I have seen pillowcase style dresses made from bandanas, but not this way. So cute!! Would be a cute shirt for someone skinnier than I.

  14. What a great idea with the way the ribbon works! I love it and am going to make one this weekend. I don't know where everyone gets their ideas...but one day i am going to think up something wonderful on my own and share it with all of you! :) Thanks!

  15. That is so cute! I wonder how my boys would look in a dress like that :). I am about to tackle a tutu onesie (for a friend not my boys). Wish me luck!

  16. Thanks for sharing! I might be able to make this:)

  17. I went to Wal-Mart this morning to get the supplies. Too bad they didn't have any cute polka dot bandannas like you used. What a fun, easy naptime project.

  18. That tutorial is awesome. I'm definitely a novice, when it comes to sewing, but I'm pretty sure I could make this dress thanks to your simple step-by-step instructions.

  19. I absolutely love this dress... i am making this dress for sure... no joke... i even have a bunch of bandanas to do this... :D... and the kids are super cute too!

    <3 Andrea

  20. Super cute! I just bought two bandanas a few months ago with the hopes of turning them into a dress and I really think I can do that with this post, so thanks!

  21. LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea! Thinking about heading to get the supplies RIGHT NOW! Love the blog! Definately going to have to follow you to see what other fun things you do! My 17 month old will have a collection of 'hanky' dresses soon! Thanks!!!

  22. Thank you so much for posting this! I am the definition of a beginner but I tried it out and it looks super cute! I posted pics of the finished product on my blog:

  23. Great tute! I love this style dress! I linked to it at

  24. What a cute dress!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing blog:

  25. I just bought a bunch of bandanas, and I've been looking for some cute dress ideas to use them. Thanks!

  26. These are so cute! I wish I could wear one... I tried to make one for myself, but as I pieced together everything to see if it would look half decent, I realized that I'm a little too voluptuous and I look more like a large green sack instead...

  27. This is very cute! I'll have to try these for my bigger girls as shirts.

  28. This is so cute! I can't wait to make it for my daughter!

  29. I think I'll get the supplies and make one today. And maybe another one for the 4th of July!

  30. Oh how great thanks for posting this! I have three girls and this is such a great idea!

  31. LOVE this! Super cute--thanks for sharing!

  32. Just made one! It was so easy, so fast, it is so cute and now I can't get my 2 yr. old to take it off! Thank you!

  33. I stumbled over this dress in SMS's handmade christmas list and i really liked the way the straps close. The little ones are growing so fast out of everything, but with this closure the dress can really be worn a long time. Ingenious!
    I blogged abut it here:

  34. I, too, "found" this through the Sew Mama Sew Homemade Holidays links. My not-quite-3 year old needs clothing badly, and this bandanna dress with a long sleeved T and tights under would be an easy wardrobe builder.

    Anyway, I have a question about the ties. Am I understanding correctly that they simply both feed into the loop on the back and then tie a bow? Wouldn't the bow pull out of the loop? I may be overthinking this, since no one else seems to have had a question about it. My email address is Thank you for this fabulous tutorial.

  35. I have the same question as the last commenter, wouldn't the bow just slip out of the loop? This looks super cute and I can't wait to try it!


  36. I LOVE this little dress. It was so easy and is so cute. Thanks for sharing. I couldn't find any cute bandanas so I just ended up picking my own fabric. You can see my finished product here:

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

  37. Made a cute Valentine bandanna dress for my little girl and a skirt for my older daughter following your tutorial this weekend. Super cute and simple. Thanks for the tutorial.

  38. I don't have a sewing machine & am anything but crafty! Do you sell these?!?!

    -Erin =)

  39. thanks so much for the tutorial! i did a little spin of it using fabric instead of bandanas and even ended up sewing straps from coordinating fabric. my little girl loves her new dresses!

  40. A friend recently me this link. I love it! My mom made several for my daughter. Here's the first one she wore...

    and the back...

  41. Thanks for the tute! Made a couple so easy! Here is my little girl in hers.

  42. This is fabulous! Thanks for the tutorial. I will be linking to this great project!

  43. I love this! I saw this a week or so ago...linked from another blog... and I started following you then!

    Tonight, I bought some bandanas at the store, and I could not for the life of me remember which blog I saw this on.... then when I went to this post was the THIRD in the list of posts about bandana dresses. I saw the name and came back here!

    Thanks for posting this!

  44. Just made this dress for my 2 yr. old with bandanas I got on clearance and supplies I had on hand. Too cute and super easy!! TY!!/photo.php?pid=294959&id=1708831903

  45. This is an adorable dress, and of course when my 5 year old was looking over my shoulder, she told me I had to make one in pink too! Well all I had was blue bandana's from the dollar store, and since my doll is 5 we had to do the skirt, which is perfect at her knees. However my bandana's had writing on the tops and bottoms!!! So I had to do a hem, but love your idea and love this skirt!!

  46. Thank you so much! I shall now be experimenting with bandanas (sometimes called neckerchiefs here in the UK) to make things for my 2 girls. I have just finished my 1st dress and its beautiful. Cant wait till my daughter wakes up now so I can try it on her!!

  47. This is so cute! I love your tutorials! thanks!

  48. I have made these for my 5 year old. The dress comes to her hipbone. And if you add an inch when you measure her around her chest you can put a shirt under it when its cold outside. For newborns it seems a little big but you could always roll it and add a few stiches until she is bigger. My 2nd daughter is 17 months and they fit great the dress comes between her feet and knees

  49. Too cute! I'm so glad someone chose to pin this tutorial and I stumbled upon it.

  50. wow,i love the sewing,you will see many flower girl dresses in

  51. What an adorable little dress! Thank you for the tutorial! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures