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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
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Ashley Johnston

Owner 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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  1. Rhetta says:

    Thank you so much. Perfect size for what I needed. I love it. My version is here:

  2. Josie says:

    I love this romper an am anxious to make one or my grand daughter! I’m curious as to why you sewed the waistband casing on the outside. Any special reason?

  3. Tarny S Vanase DuBois says:

    Oh my goodness, that is adorable! And while yes, it is perfect for a little girl, I want one my size too!!! You just have no idea, how hard it is to find a romper, in a women’s size, that is not made out of the most god awful looking fabric! I literally could live in these things! I start searching for rompers online in January every year, and if I actually find one cute print by summer, it’s a miracle! And I would so sit down and make myself one, but my family can’t even give me enough time to go to the bathroom by myself in peace, let alone to make a whole entire romper! Anyway, this is just so cute, I had to leave a note to tell you so! I’m also just beside myself, that I have actually found another mom, that waits till the last minute to do everything, but still comes through in the clutch! I am definitely a “do everything the night before” kind of mom and even though it drives my husband insane, I L-O-V-E it! My brain just works so much better under the pressure and that’s always when I do my best everything! Also, love the piggy costume! A few years ago, i was trying to figure out what to dress my son up as for Halloween, so I just ripped the fleece blankets off the back of my couch, and poof…he was Max from Where The Wild Thing Are! Love your blog, and thanks for all of the wonderful ideas and tutorials you post!

  4. Monique says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I made one of these for my niece but I changed the top slightly. Instead of the panel with the pleats (which I do love, but I wanted to make it quickly) and the ties I made a pillowcase style top with the tie threaded through a casing in the front and back of the top. I am going to try making one with the pleats next time as they are cute!

  5. Kizi says:

    You should take part in a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the internet.
    I will highly recommend this site!

  6. Tina says:

    this romper is so adorable I was looking for the right pattern to make one for my girls and I’m glad I found this tutorial…I looked through the rest of your tutorials and I love every single one of them :) Thanks so much for all the awesome tutorials looking forward to seeing more…Had a question, I noticed you made your own label, how do you do that?

  7. fatiha says:

    am from morocco… i really loved what you make. thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. tara says:

    i’ve made this romper twice and i love it! i posted about the most recent one on my blog if you care to see more of your handy work!


  9. Amanda says:

    Completely adorable! I just made a pair of these from some vintage pillowcases for my twins and they are just too cute! I modified the shorts section to include a snap closure…so much easier when it’s time for a diaper change/potty break!

    Here is my version and a tutorial for adding the snaps!

  10. Vicky says:

    I have been looking all over for a cute romper pattern for my daughter! Thank you so much for posting this! I love it. I will be making one of these!

    1. Vicky says:

      I just finished my little girl’s romper! I wasn’t able to find as cute as the fabric you used but I found some cute quilting fabric. I did opt to put the elastic casing on the inside though. Now that I have your super easy tutorial I am on to making a matcing one for my daughter’s American girl doll. I am so proud of how this turned out! Thanks so much!

  11. Viji says:

    Thanks to you Ashley, I made this romper for my 2 1/2 yr old girl and it came out wonderful. The pleating idea is amazing and I tucked and sewed matching 1/2inch ribbon in between the alternate pleats. Your blog is my goto place when I have a question about sewing…..Thanks again…

  12. Annie says:

    This romper is SOOOOOO cute! I knew I had to try making one for my two year old! It came out great and she loves it and so did everyone else! Thank you so much for this tutorial! If anyone wants to see how it came out, I posted it on Pinterest….

  13. Amy says:

    I’ve had rompers on the brain all day since I took my daughter (also 5T) to the mall and noticed that they’re very “in” right now. And very expensive. I’ve been thinking it over, trying to figure out how to make one of my own. Your design is pretty much what I was thinking but I LOVE the pleats. Thanks for the idea.

  14. Maya says:

    I love your projects and your photos. I got this piece of fabric and a little girl who is not into dresses and skirts – this romper will be perfect! Thank you!

  15. yomna khairy says:

    perfect.. you inspired me
    thank you.

  16. harrysdesk says:

    Hi Ashley,
    I love this! How adorable for any little munchkin,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I have featured it on my blog.
    It’s a post about great tutorials for girls and boys . You can see it here……
    … if you like.
    Thanks for taking the time to put it together and sharing it.
    Ally on harrysdesk

  17. kim says:

    awsome!!! I could never make it!!! but it is awsome! good job!

  18. Jenny says:

    Nifty :) Let’s see if I can pull this off in MINI size :P

  19. Anne says:

    I’m sorry if I missed it, but I can’t seem to find out what fabric this is? I’d love to buy some.
    Thank you – your work is just beautiful!

    1. Ashley says:

      The fabric is Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Vintage Roses. Sorry about that!

  20. Rebekah says:

    Love it! Thanks for sharing! I made one for my daughter – beautiful! Looking forward to making more – super easy and a great tutorial with lots of detail and easy to follow… Also taught me a few new tricks! Thanks Ashley!

  21. Micael says:

    I made one of these for my youngest daughter today. And I am sooooo in love with it. It was a little more time consuming than I thought it would be, but totally worth all the effort. Thanks for putting this tutorial together. I’ve wanted to make her a romper all summer and just didn’t have the time to sit and figure out the logistics!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, good. Glad it worked out for you! :)

    2. Micael says:

      I posted a couple of pics on my mommies group fan page. You can take a look at what you helped me create.

      ((You’ve also created a new addiction for making these. Thank God I live in Florida where we still have at least 2-3 months of warm weather to wear them!!))

  22. Carly says:

    If I were to go out and buy fabric, approx how many yards would you recommend for this?

    1. Micael says:

      I made one today for my 2.5 year old and used less than 1 yard. So depending on the size you have to make I’d say get 1-2 yards. :)

    2. Carly says:

      Thanks! I love it.

    3. Ashley says:

      Yep, Micael, my advice exactly. Thank you! I used less than a yard to make the one for my 4 year old. Good luck!

    4. KaMarlowete says:

      I’m just learning to sew, I don’t own a machine yet. I’d love to do this, but sewing dresses are easier by hand than this one would be, I suspect, alas. Would this translate to a dress with much difficulty? I love and adore the pleats and the bias tape/straps so very much, and I really want to have a dress or romper like this one for my 16 month old, but am not clever at figuring out the steps to translate it to a dress instead.

  23. karen Cole says:

    Beautiful romper and such detailed instructions!

  24. Britta says:

    I love this little girl romper. I especially love the pleats. I’m making my girls their 1st day of school outfits right now including the patterns and this totally inspired me. I’m definately gonna be adding some pleats. Thanks!

  25. usha says:

    u r great. Really everything u stitched was superb!!! I am becoming a fan of uuuuuu…..

  26. Bernadette says:

    Love your blog! What amazing talent!

  27. isabella and ashley says:

    WOW! That romper is beautiful! And just too perfect for summer!
    Love it!

  28. RobyGiup says:

    Hi Ashley, I found your blog following the WWYM on LilBlueBoo: I like this romper so much!!! Yoy did a great job!

  29. jennie says:

    I so wish we were friends so I could have all your hand-me-downs….you make the best stuff!

  30. Melissa says:

    That is the cutest thing I’ve seen all summer!!! I love it, can wait to make some for my 3 little munchkins!!

  31. mich m says:

    thats perfect – i really wanted to make one for my little one for the summer and been looking for a pattern – thanks sooo much!

  32. Kelly says:

    Ashley— This is so cute I have been looking for a romper tutorial for my daughter all summer and I finally have the perfect one! I am going to have to get on this one for this summer.

  33. Deanna says:

    I love the pleats best of all! So stinking cute!

  34. Julie says:

    Adorable! I love the fabric and the romper!

  35. Kel in Oz says:

    I just adore this and everything you post! I can’t wait to start trying out some of your creations now that I’ve created a sewing/craft space all for ME!

    Keep creating Ashley – you’re freaking fantastic! xx

  36. Tracy says:

    It’s cute! I just love watching your daughter grow up, posing for the camera, and in general seeing her little personality emerge. She is beautiful!

  37. Laura says:

    Gorgeous! Its so cute!

  38. Carissa says:

    Can I just comment on how adorable your little girl is? The clothes you make are always cute, and she makes them look even cuter:)

  39. Irina says:

    Oh this romper is so summery and so lovely! I will be making it for next year. Thank you for the great tutorial!

  40. louise says:

    This is just beautiful! Great work!

  41. Tiffany says:


    I’ve actually been looking for a cute romper for awhile. Question, though: How long and how wide was the elastic used in the waistlie and back piece? My niece is pretty much exactly the same size as your little girl. Makes perfect measurements so much nicer for me! Here’s to hoping they continue to grow the same way!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh thanks……..I added that info into the tutorial. Let me know hot it goes for you! :)

  42. AshleyAnn says:

    I will now sink into the depression over my lack of sewing skills….
    SO SO SO CUTE!!!

    1. Lisa says:

      LOL! Ashley you are too funny! You are amazing! By the way, the MPIX Rocks Campaign ad is incredible! Congrats! xoxo, Lisa (Lil Blue Boo)

    2. Ashley says:

      Haha……..whatever Ashley!! Your project is fantastic. And yes, I second what Lisa said. That Campaign is seriously phenomenal. I kept laughing and laughing at all of those outtakes. Love them!

  43. Belinda says:

    Such a cute romper. My 21 yr old has been wanting one & now I have a clue how to go about drafting a pattern for her :)

    I’m curious though, why you opted to put the waist line casing on the outside of the garment instead of on the inside? For the added detail?

    I’m such an admirer of your work!

    1. Ashley says:

      Hey Belinda………great question. I added the casing to the outside to hide the seam where I joined the top of the romper the the shorts section. So it hides it and keeps things neat and clean. Let me know how it goes for you!

    2. Rebekah says:

      I love the way this looked and it was particularly helpful for me as I had a few messy bits that really needed hiding! :)

  44. Ashley says:

    Wow…….glad you’re all liking it!! Now let me know how it goes for you if you give it a try! :)

  45. Michelle says:

    Love it, so sweet, and I love the fabric as well :)

  46. melany says:

    love this ashley! this may be my favorite thing you’ve made. so adorable! you’re so talented.

  47. Emily says:

    Love the pleats and how the elastic gives it more shape. Gorgeous fabric!!

  48. Heather says:

    Squeal! This is too cute. I *have* to scrounge up some fabric for my little girls!

  49. Ashley says:

    Fabulous Ashley! Thank you so much for participating! Just a note…that was LISA’s handwriting haha. I don’t have the greatest penmanship either :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha, well good then…….it must be in the Ashley genes. Ashley’s can’t have such fantastic handwriting! Thanks again Ash, it was fun to participate! :)

  50. Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets says:

    This is so adorable–I can’t wait to make one for my Little Sweets! Off to Pin this now. =)

  51. Jesy says:

    Those are amazing and soooooooo cute!!! I will have to try this out with little Ms R!

  52. Amy ♥ says:

    That certainly was the perfect thing to make with that fabric! You did a great job, it looks beautiful!!!

  53. Jennnnn says:

    You make it look effortless! I love the pleats best, too. Great job!

  54. Meagan says:

    It’s perfect!!!!! and totally, that fabric is gorgeous!

  55. Rhianna says:

    Wow! You make it sound so easy and they look fantastic. Super inspiring

  56. Jūlija says:


  57. Brandy Layton says:

    I love this little girl romper! I have 2 boys, but I will have a girl someday! This is just darling!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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