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Turn a Baby Dress into a Bubble Romper


I know some of you like to sew but get a little nervous when you have to cut out your own pattern pieces.  No worries, I totally get that.  So sometimes I try and think of things that don’t require as much pattern designing.  But still turn out cute.  (However, even though you’re nervous about making your own patterns from existing clothing……keep trying it.  You’ll get better at it.  Promise.  More clothing ideas here.)


So, while thinking of summer and then thinking of my baby girl………I knew there was an even easier way to make a baby romper.  (Even though this one is pretty simple.  Give it a try too.) But I wanted to show you a way to make a romper without having to design or cut out a bodice or neckline.  Because sometimes that’s the most difficult part.



So, this idea is to transform a dress you already have.





I know you probably have a whole slew of dresses for your baby/toddler.  Hand-me-down dresses, baby gifts dresses, a MUST BUY dress you saw at the store……..yeah, we have lots too.  So, altering just one of them isn’t going to decrease your dress supply by much. 




But, oh my word, what’s more delicious than a bubbled romper?  Not much.




Dresses are sweet on little girls.  But darn, they sure make it a little harder to get around and tend to get twisted or tripped on during play time.  Rompers stay right in place…..and keep baby/toddler covered.





And there’s nothing too tough about this transformation.  The whole structure is the same.  I’ve just added snaps to the bottom (for diapering or potty), along with a little elastic around each leg.  Nice and comfy. 

(Do snaps scare you?  Don’t worry……I have a tutorial for those.  They’re easy easy easy.)






Rompers are perfect for warmer weather.  And aren’t too fussy or restrictive. 


And could possibly be the cutest thing to put on baby (or toddler) while she plays.





Would you like to turn a dress into a romper?  Great…’s how:


Before you get scared away by the snaps on this romper…….here’s a tutorial on how to attach them.  Without purchasing any extra snap tools.  They really are very simple.  Whew, okay, take a breath.  Let’s move on.


First of all, you need a dress.  BE SURE that you find one that comes down to at least the middle of the knee (or longer) when you try it on your subject.  If it’s any shorter, it won’t be long enough to tuck under the bum and meet together with snaps.  (While the dress is on, tuck the front and back under the diaper area, to see if the front and back meets, with a little bit of overlap.)  Also, to create the elastic casing for each leg, take a look at your dress and see if it has a hem that’s turned under.  My dress hem was turned under about an inch and was perfect for creating the little ruffle at the bottom of the elastic casing.  But if your hem is more narrow, don’t worry, it will just act as a casing without the little ruffle at the bottom.  If you dress doesn’t have a hem or the hem isn’t big enough for a casing, you’ll have to hem it up and create your own moving onto the next step.  (Just be sure that the dress is long enough AFTER you hem it.)


To get started, you will be making a slight curve in the center bottom of the dress (both front and back sides).  So find the exact center of the dress and then cut a slight curve out of the center front and back.  REMEMBER that you need to leave some fabric along this curve for a seam allowance so the size of the curve will decrease by about a 1/4 inch along the entire curve.  So don’t make it too big to begin with.  (Mine was about 3 inches across along the bottom.)


Then, cut out 2 curved strips of cotton fabric, that follow the bottom curve of the dress exactly.  Make the width of the curved strips about 1 3/4 inch across, which includes a seam allowance.  And also, let the bottom edge fall below the bottom edge of the dress by about a 1/4 inch (for a seam allowance). 


YOU WILL NEED 2 of these curved strips for the front dress curve and 2 strips for the back dress curve.



Grab two of the strips and sew them together along the outer curve and along the bottom.  I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the curve but then a 1/2 inch seam allowance along the bottom sides because I don’t want this lining piece to reach the very bottom of the dress and peek out from the front.


Then I trimmed off the extra seam allowance, trimmed off the 2 corners, then clipped the curve.  (Why do all that?  Go here.)


Then I turned it right side out, poked out the corners, then pressed the whole thing flat.  Do the same thing with the other 2 curved strips so that you have two of these lining pieces shown below.


Now, set those 2 lining pieces aside.


Next, you’re going to create a casing for the elastic at the bottom of the dress.  Since you cut a curve into the bottom of the dress, that will be your entrance for your casing.  So now, you need to sew a seam about 3/8 of an inch below the already existing hem of the dress.  The top red arrow is showing my already existing hem seam.  The bottom arrow is the new seam I sewed.  Just be sure to not where the curve of the crotch is. 

(Again, every dress hem is different.  If you don’t have a large hem, you may not need to add another seam.  Just use the hem as your casing.  Or if you have a large hem like I do [about an inch] but don’t want the ruffle like I have, you can use wider elastic and thread it through and be done with it.  I just wanted an elastic casing with a but of a ruffle below that.)


Next, thread some 1/4 inch elastic (or whatever size you want) into one of the casings, by attaching a safety pin to one end.  Before pulling it all the way through, sew the one end of elastic in place.  Then pull the elastic to cinch it in.  (The amount of elastic depends on the size of your subject’s thigh.  But be sure to add another inch to the length for a seam allowance.)


I sew the elastic in place with 2 seams, to secure it.


Do the same things to the other side.  So now you have 2 cinched in legs.


Next, the snaps.


Grab one of your curved lining pieces and lay it along the front curve of the dress.  Center it and line up all the raw edges.  And my bottom edges aren’t as long as the dress on purpose, because I didn’t want them to peek out from the front.  Pin in place and sew along the curve.  Then clip the curve.


Then flip that lining over and under and press flat.  Then sew that pining piece in place.


Here’s a view from the back.  (ALTERNATE METHOD: before sewing this flap down you could attach your snaps to this piece and then sew it down so that the snaps are only going through the lining piece and won’t show from the front side of the romper.  I didn’t really think of that until too late.  But doing this also makes it a little harder to sew the lining piece down if the snaps are in the way.  You decide.)


Do the same thing to the back curve.  Sew the curve down in place and clip.


But, then zig-zag those raw edges because these edges won’t be enclosed.  Then flip it down and under and press flat, just like you did with the first one.  Then fold your flap back and add your snaps to this flap piece.  (You will have to match up your lining piece sections and place a pin where you want your snaps to go.  Then just add them on.)  YOU HAVE TO add the snaps to this flap piece ONLY and not through all of the layers because otherwise this crotch section will not lay flat while on baby. 


This may sound confusing but the front snaps can go through all the layers but the back snaps can only go through this little flap.  (Or vice versa if you want to the snaps to show from the back but not the front.)



Now, add your snaps to the front section, making sure they match up with the back section.


Here’s a view of both.  The top snaps go through all the layers…….but the bottom snaps are only through the white lining piece.



And that’s it.


A new little romper from an old dress.





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This post is sponsored by:


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. Carolyn says:

    sewed for a living for 50 odd years and now I sew for a charity group. Have to relearn some shortcuts. yours are fun. love them. Cheers

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is awesome. I’ve played with this idea and love the way you pulled it off. Can’t wait to make my little girl one.

  3. Jan Gue says:

    Brilliant idea, terrific tut. what more could you ask for!!
    Exactly fits the bill for a daughter’s request for a romper for Granddaughter!
    Thanks for the generous sharing of this and so many other great and practical ideas!

  4. Katie says:

    Now that my baby girl is crawling all those beautiful dresses in her closet were going to waster. Plus I LOVE rompers but pretty ones are expensive and hard to find. I just turned two amazing dresses into rompers and am so in love. Thankyou so much for this tutorial!! Found it on pinterest I think :)

  5. Karen says:

    Hi! Thanks for an awesome tutorial, it was very easy to follow and I love the result! I used it on a dress I purpose made, but I plan on doing the same to most of my baby’s other dresses – rompers are much more practical!

  6. Tabi S says:

    THANK YOU! What a great easy-to-follow tutorial. I didn’t even read any of the words just followed your pictures and it turned out perfect! ;)

  7. Shin eun kyung says:

    So cute baby & cute romper ~!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    awesome ,,,love it and goin to try it .Thanks.

  9. abby @ thingsforboys says:

    Great tutorial thanks! I just followed it to turn a dress pattern into a romper. Looks great!

  10. Calli says:

    Thank you so much!!!!! I wish I could hug you

  11. Moineau16 says:

    What an adorable idea, thanks for the great tutorial, I’ll definitely try this soon!

  12. Holly says:

    I made one for my little lady based on this tutorial. How can I share a pic?

  13. Jamy says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just got my very first sewing machine and I cannot wait to try this! Thanks for talking us readers through everything and making it sound doable. And is that your baby? She is adorable! Cute shoes!

  14. Chantelle says:

    I love this! I’m going to use some old skirts and turn them into rompers (I’ll add some straps with ribbon–like a jumper). This is brilliant; thanks for the great idea and tutorial!

  15. ines says:

    I love it !

  16. Melina says:

    I made one! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I will make many more…

  17. Lindsey says:

    Wow. You are so very crafty! I have a love for rompers! And a million to many dresses for my 15 month old. You just gave me such a great idea. Im sure it might not be as cute as yours but I am so excited to try. Thank you for sharing this :)

  18. Cheryl says:

    Oh my goodness!! This is going to come in so handy this summer!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  19. Judy says:

    This almost makes me want a daughter–well, a niece at least :) Oh, and to learn how to sew, lol. What a beautiful job on the romper! Judy @

  20. Sylvie says:

    Another adorable idea from you! I’ll definitely have to give it a shot! Thanks so much!

  21. Kara says:

    This is such a great idea Ashley! And that photo of those cute little chubby toes just makes me smile. :)

  22. Sydney says:

    This is brilliant. Thanks for the inspiration. Now I need to figure out a dress!

  23. Jen says:

    SOO going to try this! My little one is 15 mos., but really small, so we might actually have some of last years’ dresses that could work, as well as some hand-me-downs that we could use, too! Genius. And I agree, I am a lover of rompers–plus not having to buy them is even better! Thanks for sharing. I always love your ideas!

  24. Kat says:

    I totally concur about the “baby’s having a hard time getting around in dresses!”. I actually mentioned that vey thing in my blog post about drafting and making a hooded romper!
    I even made my baby a fancy romper for her first Easter outfit! This bubble romper is very cute! Always a fan of your site!

  25. Kristen says:

    We are pregnant with a girl this time and I am excited to take some of her hand-me-down outfits and add a little of my own taste to them just like this! Thanks for all the tutorials!

  26. RobyGiup says:

    What a cute idea! :)

  27. Sami says:

    You´re so clever, what a beautiful outfit for a baby!

  28. Jessica Stoker says:

    You are a genius and I do love a romper for summer. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  29. Whitney @ Grassroot Elegance says:

    Yay! I am so excited about this sweet tutorial. I am about 21 weeks pregnant, expecting a baby girl in August! I love this idea. This will be a great way to get a few more wears out of a dress that might be on the verge of being too small. Thanks for this great idea!

  30. Megan says:

    So cute! Thanks for the tutorial!

  31. kristin @ petal and thorn says:

    thank you for this! i bookmarked the romper tutorial from a little while back, and as easy as it seems, it’s still a little intimidating for a beginner like me. this one is PERFECT! bubble rompers are irresistible!

  32. Pam C says:

    What a cute and clever idea!

  33. Cerise says:

    That is insanely cute. I really wish there was a little girl in my house to dress up like that.

  34. Lynette says:

    What a fantastic idea. I love this. I will keep this in mind once I have a little girl to dress up! :)

  35. Suzanne says:

    SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!! What a CUTE IDEA!!!

  36. Jessica says:

    If only I had known how to do this when my girls were tiny :( dresses with crawling babies always seemed worthless and they just hung in the closet unused. This is truly brilliant.

  37. Michelle S. says:

    SUPER cute!

    I’m crossing my fingers that a baby boy romper is coming soon (hint, hint!)

    1. British American says:

      That would be great! I don’t suppose I can turn a dress into a romper for my son?! I’d have to find a non-girly dress!

  38. cucicucicoo says:

    oh my gosh, that is so sweet! i wish you’d written this a few years ago when i had a younger girl and way too many party dresses! i’m tempted to make one now for my 5 1/2 year old! lol! :) lisa

  39. Jessica @ Sunny Tuesday says:

    I LOVE this so much!

  40. CelestialsCreations says:

    I just went through my daughter’s clothes yesterday and thought I’d bought WAY too many dresses and not near enough clothes to play in. Perfect, thanks!

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my goodness! That is so genius!

  42. brittany says:

    you are such a genious! What a great idea!!!

  43. Lex Malla Books says:

    Genius! Why can’t I ever come up with these amazing ideas??

  44. Emily says:

    It’s as if you had read my mind! I was just telling my husband last week that I have a slew of dresses in our youngest daughter’s size for summer but no rompers which is really what she needs. I was also complaining about not having enough time to sew rompers for her but dreaded spending money when she has clothes in the closet. This will be perfect since it’s reusing what we have and a fast project.
    Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

  45. Maria says:

    It looks a lot cuter as a romper than as a dress! Thanks for the tutorial, I will surely make one!

  46. Conny's Cottage says:


    very lovely dress.I love it.

    greatings send you Conny

  47. Anna says:

    you are so smart! I wish my 6 year old could wear these! Id be revamping all those dresses that I made. Oh well.

  48. Rosie says:

    So cute… and did you make those little sandals? Cause I’m in love with them…

  49. kreativkäfer Andrea says:

    this is adorable ♥ too bad my daughters are to old for these!

  50. Christina says:

    So stinking cute and the perfect project for me!! I am one of your scardy cat free-hand pattern people!

  51. Deedra says:

    You continue to amaze me. This is awesome.

  52. Allison A says:


    1. Anonymous says:

      I totally agree

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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