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Little Girl Romper {“What Would You Make” Challenge}


I was contacted by Ashley from Lil Blue Boo several weeks ago to participate in her What Would You Make Challenge.  Ashley sent me, along with 3 other bloggers, some beautiful fabric…….and told us to have at it.  There were no rules really, just freedom to create whatever we wanted.  And oh, how I don’t like to be confined when I sew.  So it was perfect.



**Even though Ashley and I share a name, we certainly don’t share the same penmanship.  My goodness, her handwriting is flawless!



(Read about the other bloggers involved and the first project already completed, here

Keep scrolling to read all of the entries.)



Once I got my first peek of this great fabric print that arrived in the mail (thanks Ashley!), I kept thinking a summery outfit.  I don’t know, something about the color, the tone, the print.  (Who’s with me?)  However, I couldn’t decide between dress and romper, dress and romper……but finally chose romper.  And am so glad I did.  I love the sturdiness of the fabric and of course, my gosh, that print.




The romper is perfect for August.  You know…….hot-and-sticky-and-full-of-sun, August. 

So something nice and cool is perfect.



The elastic at the waist pulls the fabric in, giving the romper some shape. 

And the bit of elastic in the back keeps the top snug and in place.



And yep, great for playing…….because my little 4 1/2 year old can still hop, skip, and jump.





And you know, my favorite part may be those little pleats at the top.   They just make me smile.



Anyway, the fabric hollered at me to finally make a romper, so thanks Ashley (from Lil Blue Boo) for the inspirational fabric.  Loved it!


And I can’t wait to see what the other 2 bloggers will create tomorrow and the next day.  Keep updated here.


Want to make your own little romper?



First of all, you can adjust this tutorial to make whatever size romper you’d like. 


But here’s what I did for my little girl who wears around a 4T-5T.


I started by grabbing a pair of shorts that fit my little girl.




Then I turned them inside out and used them to make a pattern shapes for the front and back pieces for the shorts (like I’ve done here).


 **Also, I knew I didn’t need them as long, so my pattern is shorter than these Bermuda style shorts.



Next, I measured my little girls waist….which was 20 inches.  I wanted the main shape of the romper to be about 1 and a 1/2 times the measurement around her.  So that would make it 30 inches around. 


Shorts are made out of 4 pieces so if I divide 30 inches by the 4 pieces, I would need each piece to be about 7.5 inches.  But I added a 1/4 inch to each side for a seam allowance, so that added 2 inches.  So then I changed my number to 32 and divided that by 4……..and came up with 8 inches.  So I knew each of the 4 parts to the shorts needed to be 8 inches wide.


So, I measured the width of one of my pattern pieces, which was about 6 inches…….and extended the straight side of the piece to 8 inches wide.




I did the same with the “back” pattern piece and cut both out.  So now, here’s a front piece and a back piece……both 8 inches wide at the top near the waist.  (Make sure you have added a 1/2 inch to the top and about an inch to the bottom for a seam allowance.)



Then I cut out 2 front pieces and 2 back pieces out of the fabric.



Then I sewed those little pieces together to create a basic shorts shape (again, like the tutorial here).  Then set aside.



Now for the top part of the romper. 


I wanted the top part to be the same measurement around as the shorts section: 30 inches.  So I measured my daughter from the waist up to where I wanted it to hit her on the chest (about 9 inches) and then added about 2 inches so that the top part would billow out a bit.  (You could add more or less to this….depending on preference and also the size of your model.)  But I then subtracted 1.5 inches because of the pleated detail at the top.  (If you make your pleated section any taller or shorter, make the necessary adjustments.)  Then I added a 1/2 inch to the top and bottom for a seam allowance.   So I knew I needed a height of 10.5 inches.


And then since the top section has a front and a back piece, I needed a seam allowance for the sides, so I added a 1/4 inch to each side, just like I did with the shorts.  That way, they will match up when sewing the top to the shorts.


So I ended up cutting 2 pieces that were 10.5 x 15.5 inches.



For the front piece, I needed to add a bit of a scoop for the armhole section.  So at the upper corners of one of the pieces, I measured in about 1 1/4 inches from the side and 1 3/4 inches from the top.  I made a mark at each of those measurements and then created a little curved line. 



I cut out the curve and made the exact same curved line on the other upper corner.



Then, I grabbed my other main piece (the one for the back) and cut an inch off the height measurement.  This is because the romper back is lower than the romper front and after folding it down and creating an elastic casing (in later steps), you want the back piece to be as tall as the bottom of the curved slope on those upper corners of the front piece… that they will match up when you sew the front and back pieces together.



Now, onto the pleated piece.  I knew I wanted a piece that was 7 inches across and 1.5 inches tall.  So I cut a piece of fabric that was about 8 inches wide and 6 inches tall.  Then I created four 1/4 inch pleats, that stretched across the width of the fabric.  (Need help making pleats?  Click here.)  Make sure to start your first pleat about 3/4 inch from the top and stop at least a 1/2 inch from the bottom.  Iron your pleats flat.



If you need to trim the bottom/top/sides to make the pleated section even and squared off at the corners, go ahead and do so.  I had to as well!


Next, cut out a rectangle piece of fabric that is the same size as your pleated rectangle piece.



Now, I wanted the top of my romper to angle in just a bit……but you can make yours straight up and squared off.  Either way works.  I just trimmed off the edges just a bit and gave it a tad of an angle.



Then I trimmed the back piece off the same way.



Now, it’s time to attach the pleats to the main romper front piece. 


So pin up the bottom layer of pleats………to keep it out of the way.  Then make a basting stitch along the top of the main piece and gather it in to the same width as your pleated piece.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here.)



Then place the pleated piece face down and pin the two edges together, making sure that the pleats are facing the right way.



Then sew it down, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  _But be sure to not sew on top of the bottom row of pleats.)



Then, lift up the pleated piece and lightly iron that seam upwards.



Next, grab that extra piece you cut out (that’s the same size as your pleated piece) and place it face down on top of the pleated section.  Sew along the very top, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  (Be sure to not sew over the top row of pleats.  There should be about a 1/4 inch up at the top, above the top row of pleats.)



Then fold that piece up and over to the back.  Iron the top seam flat. 


Then turn it over and fold under the bottom edge about a 1/2 inch, so that it lines up with the seam that joined the pleated section to the main piece.  Iron in place, then sew along the bottom edge, making sure to not catch the bottom pleat in your seam.  (You may have to pin that bottom row of pleats up again to help it stay out of the way.)



So, from the front view………..the seam should be hidden under that bottom row of pleats.




Next, create 4 long strips of bias tape.  (What’s bias tape?  Click here.)  I made mine by cutting out 4 long strips of fabric that were 2 x 20 inches.  Then I folded them in half and then folded the edges in towards that center fold and ironed them all again.



Then, I used two of the pieces of bias tape and sandwiched them along the curves of the armhole curves.  Start at the bottom of the armhole and sew upwards, making sure that you are catching the bottom of the bias tape, the curve of the armhole and then the top of the bias tape.  Sew slowly and adjust the bias tape as you go around the curve.  Then, continue along the bias tape, sewing it shut along the rest of the strip.



Then, I serged (or zig-zag) the top edge of the back main piece.  Then I folded it down about 5/8 of an inch (or however much you need to be sure that the back piece is as tall as the bottom of the curved armhole section of the main front piece).  I sewed the fold in place, creating a casing for the elastic.  I threaded some 3/8 inch wide elastic through the casing and then sewed along each end, holding the elastic in place.  (Note: You want the elastic to be a little less than half the chest measurement so that it will help the top of the romper fit a little snug.  My piece of elastic was about 10 inches long, which included a bit extra for a seam allowance.)



Then sew the front piece to the back piece, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Then zig-zag or serge the raw edges.



Then sew the other 2 pieces of bias tape shut and zig-zag one end. 


Then sew the zig-zagged end to the back inside of the romper.  Add a few rows of stitches to secure the straps in place.



Now, slide the shorts (right side out) into the inside of the romper top (inside out) and pin the 2 pieces together along the raw edges.  (Be sure that the front of the shorts is facing the front of the romper.)



Sew it in place, zig-zag (or serge) the raw edges, then turn right side out and iron flat. 


Then cut one last strip of fabric that is 1 3/4 inches wide and 31 inches long.  Iron the long edges of the strip under a 1/4 inch and then sew the ends of the strip together (1/2 inch seam allowance) and then attach this strip to the outside of the romper, right on top of the seam where you joined the top of the romper with the shorts section.  (Do this step just like the tutorial here…..but sew this casing on the outside of the romper.)  And I used about 21 inches (her waist measurement is 20 inches) of 1 inch wide elastic.



Now, hem under the bottom of the romper using a blind hem (found here) or by hand-stitching (found here) or just sew it like normal on the sewing machine.  Make the length just how you want it.


And that’s it.


Your new romper is complete.




Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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