Project Design Team Wednesday~Knot Dress Tutorial

Posted by administrator on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Hi there! I'm Lindsay from The Cottage Mama and I'm excited to be back sharing my project design team tutorial for the Easy Knot Dress.
I love an easy sundress, don't you? It's still pretty cold and snowy around here in Chicago, but I'm already dreaming about spring. The minute I saw the Little Matroyshka fabric in the Riley Blake Designs catalog, I knew I must use this fabric for my girls. I love the little nesting dolls and the different coordinating prints. Savannah, my oldest, is becoming quite picky about her clothing loved this line too so I was happy to be able to use it to make her a dress for our upcoming (hopefully soon) warmer weather. But until then, she can still wear it layered with a long sleeved shirt and tights or leggings.

This Easy Knot Dress tutorial is an adaptation of my free pattern, the 'Summer Picnic Dress'. This dress comes together in an afternoon and is age appropriate for itty bitty girls and a little bit older girls as well. The free pattern is offered in size 12m - Size 4, but can easily be sized up or down by adjusting the chest width and dress length.

Pattern Adjustment (sizing up): I sized the dress up from a size 4 to a size 6 by simply adding 1" to the yoke and facing pattern pieces to the side that says 'fold', 2 inches to the length of the main dress and an additional 1" to the longer ruffle. By adding 1" to the yoke and facing pieces, that gave me an additional 2" across the chest because the piece is cut on the fold. Another great option when drafting a sewing pattern up or down, is to use a piece of clothing your child already owns and you know fits well and use that to compare to your pattern to make sure your adjustments are accurate.

Easy Knot Dress
A Free Pattern from The Cottage Mama for Riley Blake Designs
1 - 1.5 yards of fabric (cotton, seersucker, linen, lined eyelet, denim, ect).
1/2 yard - 3/4 yard rickrack or other trim 
Baby cording (if adding piping)
Double Sided Fusible Interfacing (i.e. Steam-A-Seam Lite 2)
Basic Sewing Supplies 
For the Easy Knot Dress print theSummer Picnic Dress Pattern (print HERE).
For the easy knot dress you will need to print the Summer Picnic Dress Pattern (print HERE).  Cut out the appropriate size and tape together the main dress piece.  There are four pieces for the main dress that need to be put together.  Overlap the pattern pieces at the solid lines to form the main dress pattern piece. See the final page of the printable pattern for a diagram.

If you have any trouble printing the pattern, please check your printer settings.  I have printed it out many times on my own home printer, so it should print properly. Make sure your printer is set to NO scaling.
Cut all pieces according to pattern.  You should have the following pieces cut using the pattern:
2 - Main Dress
2 - Yoke Pieces
2 - Facings 

For the pocket, cut two squares according to these measurements:
Size 12 Month & 2T: 4" x 4"
Size 3T and up: 5" x 5" 
For the straps, cut 2 rectangles according to these measurements:
Size 12 Month & 2T: 15" x 4.5"
Size  3T & 4T: 17" x 5"
*If you would prefer a shorter strap, by all means, just reduce the length measurement.

For the bottom ruffles, cut 2 ON THE FOLD* of each of the following:
Size 12 Month & 2T: 3"x 18" and 4" x 18"
Size 3T & 4T (also used for size 6, if sizing up): 4" x 22" and 5" x 22"

*The measurements for the ruffles given above are the measurement on the fold, not the long finished piece measurement. Again, cut 2 of each on the fold of the measurements given. You will end up with four pieces for the double ruffle.


For the pocket, cut your two squares. Find an item in your home with a rounded edge and use that as your template for cutting the two rounded corners. Round two of the corners on both pocket pieces.

Add the doll to the pocket. Apply double sided fusible interfacing (I like Steam-A-Seam Lite 2) to the back of a piece of the nesting doll fabric. Once you have applied one side of the interfacing, cut out the doll. Remove the paper backing, position on pocket and press to fuse the doll to the pocket. Using a satin stitch or your favorite applique stitch, sew all the way around the doll with embroidery thread.

Insert the rick rack into the pocket. This is completely optional as you can definitely skip this step if you would like. Line up the rick rack with the edge of the pocket and hold in place by using Wash Away Wonder Tape or pins. If you are using pins, baste stitch the rick rack in place before adding the other side of the pocket. But if you use the wonder tape, no basting is necessary.

Place the other pocket piece on top with the right sides together and sew all the way around the pocket, leaving a slight opening on the side of the pocket. Check the size of your trim. If you are using a larger or smaller rick rack then you might need to adjust the placement so that your 1/2" seam allowance will have the little edge of the rick rack poking through. If you are using standard rick rack, it should work just perfectly.

Clip the corners and notch out the curves of the pocket. Turn the pocket right side out by pulling the fabric through the opening.

Once your pocket is turned right side out, press it so that it lays nice and flat. Make sure to press under the little opening in the side of the pocket.

Pin the pocket to the dress. The placement is entirely up to you. Just place it where you think it would look good. Sew the pocket to the dress, leaving the top edge open. Make sure to sew some reinforcement stitching to the top corners of the pocket (kids can be really hard on pockets). Once you have sewn around the pocket, the topstitching will have closed the little opening on the side.


You will need two straps for the knot dress. For the ends of the straps, cut them so that they make a point. Fold the strap in half, with the right sides together. Sew down the long side and to one of the points. Leave the short, straight edge open. Turn the strap right side out and press. Topstitch or Edge stitch around the strap. Do this for both strap pieces.

If you would like to add piping in the seam between the yoke and the main dress, you can check out my piping tutorials. For how to make your own piping, click HERE and for how to insert piping, click HERE. I actually did not cut this piping on the bias since I knew it would be inserted in a straight seam and I already liked the diagonal of the fabric. If you were planning to make a lot of piping and wanted to use it in future projects, I would not recommend doing it the way I did......go ahead and cut it on the bias.

So for the rest of the dress construction, you can refer to the instructions for the Summer Picnic Dress. To find those instructions, click HERE. Just remember, you are only inserting straps in the back part of the dress, you need to make two small, 3/4" buttonholes on the front yoke and if you are doing the double ruffle, just layer the two ruffles together before gathering.

This is such a simple dress that your little lady will love to wear day after day. The design is pretty forgiving, so she should also be able to continue to wear it as a top once she gets taller. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and as always, it so great being here as part of the Riley Blake Designs Project Design Team. To check out more free patterns, tutorials and lifestyle ideas, come on over and visit me at The Cottage Mama!

Category: Project Design Team Wednesday


  1. Lovely tutorial and thank you for all of the great sewing tips.
    by Mara
    February 20th, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.
  2. Great job as always! I have yet to try to sew clothing. With, soon to be, 5 grand daughters, I better try soon!
    by Christine Sherman
    February 20th, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
  3. I really must try this one for summer! Thanks for the great tute. The dress is stunning in the fabrics you chose and your model looks divine :)
    by WandaFish
    February 20th, 2013 at 3:41 p.m.
  4. I love everything about this dress...the design, fabric, and model. I will be making this for my two granddaughters for the summer. Thanks for sharing!
    by Lynn
    February 20th, 2013 at 3:46 p.m.
  5. LOVE!!!!! I am in Arizona so we can definitely use this soon!
    by Dena
    February 20th, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.
  6. This is so cute! I hope you will be getting more of the main fabric and dots in so I can place an order! They sold out way too fast!
    by Dana English
    February 20th, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
  7. What an adorable dress for your adorable girl. Thank you for generously including a pattern. I'm adding this to my spring/summer sewing list for my little miss!
    by Michaela
    February 20th, 2013 at 5:59 p.m.
  8. I just love this dress. In fact, I ran to the local quilt shop a couple of weeks ago upon knowing that this RB fabric arrived. I don't have a little girl any more. Although I am 55, I am figuring out how to sew a similar dress for me! It could be nice summery dress. Congrats on your creation. Your daughter is beautiful!
    by Cusy Pernas
    February 20th, 2013 at 9:56 p.m.
  9. Pretty dress! I featured it here:
    by Anshu
    April 23rd, 2013 at 7:39 a.m.
  10. I am making this dress and sizing up to a 6, however my ruffle pieces are way too short. Before I even gather them they are too narrow to fit around the bottom of the dress. What should the measurements be? I think I may have misunderstood the directions. Thanks for your help!
    by Erika
    May 09th, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.

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