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Quick Little Ruffle Top Dress or Romper (our 4th of July outfits)


Whew, just in time.  Little outfits for the 4th.


I know, totally not necessary.  Or necessarily worth staying up late to finish.  Who says you have to have something new/patriotic to wear for the 4th?  No one.  But I sure love it! :)  There’s something about wearing all of that red, white, and blue that feels satisfying on the 4th.  If you’re with me, please try and explain this to my husband. ;)


And because I was short on time, I made outfits for my girls that were relatively simple.  No arm holes, no bias tape around arm holes, no lining, no interfacing, etc.  Just a few simple seams, some ties at the top, and that’s it.  However, if you want to add an extra ruffle to the bottom of the dress or make a romper, it will take just a tad more time.  But only a tad. ;)




And just think, you could make these in any color.  They’re not just 4th of July outfits.  Just dress/romper designs that I’m using for the 4th.



I was going to make little Chloe a dress at first, but changed my mind and made a romper instead.  Snaps and all. (Snaps aren’t scary. Promise.  Go here.)




Ahhhh, little rompers.  They stay nice and in place, keep diapers covered, and they don’t get tripped over like dresses do sometimes by early walkers/crawlers.




But Elli wanted a dress.  There was no convincing her to wear shorts and a new little shirt.  I tried! ;)




I could have made the dress plain and straight at the bottom…..but I couldn’t help but add a little ruffle to the bottom.  Because this girl likes movement in her dresses/skirts.  Perfect.




I’d say we’re all ready to celebrate.  (Except for Connor.  His shirt will have to be a late night project tonight. ;) Maybe a flag shirt?)





Would you like to make your own Ruffle Dress or Romper?

It doesn’t have to be 4th of July themed. 

Use any ‘ol color.  There is plenty of summer left to need one or two.




Since I made this outfit as a dress and a romper, I’ll explain how I made both.  First of all, the main piece of the dress can be one full piece of fabric, with a seam down the back.  However, to make the romper, I made a front and back piece, so that there would be no seam going through the snaps at the crotch, only seams along the sides.  Make sense?


Okay, here’s a little illustration to show you the pieces and sizes that I used to make my girls’ outfits.  Elli is 5 years old and wears a size 5, sometimes a size 6 in clothing.  Chloe is 16 months old and wears 18 month clothing, sometimes a 24 month size.  So, if your child wears something similar, my measurements may be helpful.  Otherwise, you can adjust this concept however you need, to best fit your subject.





Let’s make the ROMPER first.  Here are my pieces below.


Place the two Main Bodice pieces together, with right sides together.  Sew along both sides (17 inch sides), using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Also, fold the Ruffle Strip in half and sew the ends together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance as well.


Then, turn the Ruffle Piece right side out and press the seam flat.  Then fold the bottom edge up a 1/4 inch, another 1/4 inch, and then sew in place.


Then, turn the Main Bodice section right side out and iron those seams flat too.  Then slide the Ruffle Piece over the Main Bodice section, both pieces right side out, and match up the upper edges.  Serge (or zig-zag) the two edges together.


Then fold that upper serged (or zig-zagged) edge over 5/8 of an inch, towards the inside of the fabric (which is 2 layers of fabric being folded over).  Then sew that flap of fabric down as close to the bottom edge as you can, creating an elastic casing along the upper edge of the Main Bodice/Ruffle.  Be sure to leave about an inch opening.  Thread some 1/4 inch elastic through that opening.


Knot the end of the elastic and then allow the elastic to tuck back into the casing.  Sew the casing closed.


Next, fold each of your 4 strips in half lengthwise and then iron flat.  Then open up and fold both edges into that ironed crease, then iron flat.  This creates a “bias-tape” type fold.  (Bias tape tutorial here for more visual.)  Then sew each strip closed.


Now, determine where each of your four straps will go and then sew each strip to the inside of the dress, making sure to tuck under each end towards the dress.  (Trying the dress on your subject may help with strap placement.)


Then knot the other end of each strip (or hem them).


Now, you could now just hem the bottom and just create a plain dress……..or you can go HERE and turn it into a romper.  (There are 4 rainbow shape cutouts below.  You just can’t see the ones behind very well.)


However, instead of threading elastic through the bottom casing, I serged the bottom edge (you could also zig-zag) and then just zig-zagged over a strip of elastic (zig-zag wider than the elastic).  Just start at one end of the elastic, tack it down in place, then stretch it out the width of the leg hole, and zig zag right over top of it.  Then tack down the other end.  (And to know how much elastic to use, measure around your subject’s little thigh.)


See the zig-zag?  This is just an easy way to add elastic to something.  Making a casing works too……it just takes longer.  Remember, I like short cuts. :)


Then, finish off the romper, just like the link shared above.


Here’s a hint for the top ruffle.  To keep it from laying flat against and just looking like a panel, it needs a little help to give that ruffle some fluff.  So, fold up the ruffle and lay it flat.  Then stem/iron it and create some creases.


Then fold it back down and steam/iron again.  Now your dress has its own creases and the ruffle has its own creases.  So they will now both lay differently and ruffle differently.




To create the DRESS:


Make everything exactly the same as the romper, except there is only one Main Bodice piece, instead of a front and a back.  Sew that one piece into a tube, the same as the Top Ruffle and then continue on like shown above.  Also, if you don’t want the ruffle at the bottom of the dress, make the Main Bodice section longer and just hem it up.  However, if you want the Bottom Ruffle, place both pieces together (which equal about twice the width as the bottom of the dress) and sew together, with right sides together.  Then hem the bottom edge under an inch (zig-zag/serge and then fold under an inch or fold over a 1/4 inch and then 3/4 of an inch) and sew in place.  Then gather the top raw edge and attach it to the bottom of the dress.  (If you need help with gathering or attaching a ruffle, go here.)



And that’s it.


A sweet little romper and a fun little dress.  Pick your favorite.



Happy 4th of July (for those who celebrate)!  Enjoy a slice or two of watermelon for me, would ya? :)






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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 my 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. Joanne says:

    I know this is an old post, but thought I should note that the size of the top ruffle on the romper appears to be wrong. It should be 37" long; not 32. Otherwise, you have to gather the romper top to make the ruffle fit and there's no mention of doing that in the tutorial. I ended up just taking-in the top of the romper by a couple inches (since it's plenty big) because I had already embroidered the ruffle.

  2. jaydi says:

    I have a question. what measurements should I use for a 6-12 month romper? and how many yards would I need.. I love this design and would love to make one for someone I know (:

  3. Cinderela Caetano says:

    Thank you so much! I wanted to do something for my little sisters and the ages are the exact same!
    I used an african print fabric in a purple pattern and it turned out beautiful! I had to guess the elastic sizes but I hope everything fits! :) thank you

  4. Amber says:

    I saw this on Pinterest and just had to make it! It was so easy, and it’s a great use for the fabric I have left over from other projects! I have pulled out enough fabric today to make at least five in different sizes. It’s will be so easy to adjust sizes for my friends tall baby girl as well as another friends chunky baby. Love it!

  5. Jodi says:

    I want to make this for my newborn niece and I’m still relatively new to sewing. Could you help me figure out how to alter the measurements for a 0-3mos romper?

    1. Katelyn says:

      Jodi, I’m in the same spot. Wanting to make it for 0-3 and trying to figure out measurements. I’ll comment again if I figure it out.

  6. nancy says:

    thank for this, i will do this for my little OCEANE.

  7. JessHeidi says:

    Oh my goodness how easy and cute may have to make a few for my little lady this summer.

  8. Sarah @ Craft Quickies says:

    Ummmm YEAH!! Totally worth staying up late for!!!! I want to make the romper for my little girl and a matching one for her doll. Would it be ok with you if I shared dimensions for the doll romper on my blog but directed them here for all of the sewing instructions?

  9. delphine says:

    Thank you so much for this tut (and all of them, that’s a lot of work)! This romper is really cute, I made it just now and my girl looks adorable in it ((-;
    Merci beaucoup!

  10. Eveline says:

    Made it today and love it!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for the tutorial.

  11. Heidi says:

    Once again I love it So much. You’re so inspiring, thank you so much for running this blog and giving such great instructions!!

  12. Misty Spencer says:

    For the Romper is there a pattern piece for the “rainbows” that the snaps go on?

    Thanks so much! Love them!!

  13. Annie says:

    Love!! I have to make my little one a romper.

    Happy belated 4th of July!

  14. Aleta LeBlanc says:

    I’m a couple days late telling you this but i made 2 of the dresses for my girls to wear to the parade. I used blue jeans for the bodice and instead of straps I made a tank style top. Threw in some red and white in the ruffle at the bottom and also used it for a little ruffly mini sleeve. Anyway they were so cute I just had to tell you. thank you as always for the inspiration and the amazing tutorials that are so easy to follow :)

  15. Theresa at e diaper cakes says:

    Those outfits look really creative! I like how it matches.

  16. Julie Snow says:

    These are awesome!!!!!

  17. Barbara says:

    I love these outfits! In the back of my head I’ve been thinking of making my daughters (10 mo & 2.5 yrs) matching outfits for a bridal shower we’re attending in a few weeks, and VOILA! Thank you for making this tutorial, I’m so excited to try it out.

  18. Вика says:

    Я не слова не понимаю по-английски, но просматривая ваш блог, я стала вами восхищаться)))

    1. Anonymous says:

      Мы всегда может быть в состоянии преобразовывать то, что вы пишете использования перевода средств на Интернет или на этой странице.

  19. Reg says:

    Those outfits look wonderful on your darling girls. I love the fabric….it looks like Liberty of London. One question, when you measure the thigh, do you cut the elastic the same size as the thigh, or do you add or subtract from that measurement? Thanks for the help.

  20. Nedy Sandoval says:

    Your daughters are just TOO CUTE!

  21. Heather says:

    Cute and inspiring!

  22. Delia says:

    ADORABLE! …your girls and the outfits. I love me a good romper too. The ruffle on the top. Seriously. I am gushing. I really like the fabric you chose as well. Happy Fourth of July!

  23. Amanda says:

    Wow! I think your girls had a big growth spurt since the last time you posted pictures!

  24. Emma says:

    You’re amazing, I love little girls in matching outfits!

  25. Amanda says:

    I am so scared of snaps!

  26. jackie says:

    Very cute romper and dress to be worn again and again.

  27. Eva Scott says:

    So cute. Thanks so much. I have some fabric I bought before my daughter was born (she’s almost 1) and when I bought it, I specifically had the idea of making a romper. I’ll definitely be using it for this. Thanks!!

  28. fitri says:

    oh, so cute !! the fabrics are awesome… where you get the flower fabric is ?

  29. Anshu says:

    Love that grin from Chloe! Totally brightened my day!

  30. Pippa says:

    So cute! Thanks for this and all of your instruction : ) Best of all was the quilt binding how-to. It was so VERY helpful. Thank you so much!!

  31. Kim says:

    Cute! I might actually be able to sew that! I was mainly wondering where you got that cute floral fabric, I have a project that it would be perfect for. Thanks!

  32. sharon k says:

    These are way too cute!! I so love the bubble the best though!

  33. Shannon says:

    So, I have been DYING to make a romper for my lil for the first but I wanted to do shirring at that top. Same process? Kinda a newbie :)

  34. Jessie says:

    These are just adorable! I love love love the little romper :) Great tutorial too. I so wish that I had a little girl in the family to make one of these for.

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

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