Tiny Triangle Dress

When I tell other parents that I’m expecting a baby in June, they always tell me what a great time of year that is to have a baby. You can get outside and enjoy the weather with your new little one, and then down the road you can have fun outdoor birthday parties. This all sounds nice, but I’ve got to say, I’m not convinced.

As a native northern Californian I have never gotten used to New York City summers (or winters either, but that’s another story.)  The classic East Coast heat and humidity combo is both totally foreign and totally unbearable to me, and I’m worried that I’m going to have an equally uncomfortable kid.

This super simple Tiny Triangle Dress is an attempt to help my daughter-to-be beat the NYC summer heat! It’s inspired by a traditional pillowcase dress and made out of Liberty of London Tana Lawn, which is just about the coolest and breeziest fabric ever made. The pattern is such a snap to sew that I’m planning to make a bunch of them in my favorite Liberty prints. So even if my baby’s hot, she’ll still look cute! --Molly



To fit a 3 month old



Cut two rectangles 18-inches wide by 14-inches tall from the Tana Lawn.

Fold one of the panels in half lengthwise wrong side together. This will result in a rectanlge 9-inches wide and 14-inches tall. Orient it as shown above, with the fold on the left.

Measure 4-inches to the right of the fold at the top edge. Cut from this point diagonally down to the bottom right corner thus cutting off the right side of the folded rectangle.

Unfold the piece and press it flat.

Repeat the proceeding steps on the second rectangle to make two identical triangle-ish cut pieces.


Press the diagonal sides of each piece 1/4-inch towards the wrong side twice.

Pin the pieces together along their diagonal sides, right sides together, stop pinning 5-inches from the top as shown above.

Sew the pieces together along the pinned sides with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam. The top 5-inches will remain unsewn as shown above. You will not be catching the 1/4-inch folds in this seam.

Press the dress in the opposite direction so the seams are on top of one another. Press the 1/4-inch folds down flat once again and pin them into place along the entire side, including the unsewn top sections.

Edgestitch the 1/4-inch folds down.

Press the dress back into its original orientation, with the diagonal sides at the right and left.

Press the top raw edge 1/4-inch of the top panel towards the wrong side.

Then press it again 1-inch towards the wrong side and pin it down.

Edge stitch this fold down.

Repeat this for the second top raw edge.

This creates the channel at the top where the ribbon will be threaded through.


Turn the dress wrong sides out.

Snip off the extra fabric at the bottom side seams.

Press the bottom raw edge of the dress 1/4-inch towards the wrong side twice and pin it in place. Be careful to keep it neat around the side seam area.

Starting at a side seam, edgestitch this hem down all the way around the bottom edge, backstitching at the beginning and end of this seam.

Adding the Ribbon

Cut two 24-inch lengths of ribbon.

Thread one length through the front top channel.

Thread the second one thrrough the back top channel.

Tie the ribbons together at each side in bows and you're all done!

29 Responses to Tiny Triangle Dress

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  1. purl bee says:

    HI Amy-

    We don't have plans to make this into an adult pattern at the moment but if you check out my response to "everyone asking about different sizes" above you might be able to figure it out on your own.

    Thanks for your question!


  2. purl bee says:

    Hi Selma-

    To top stitch the side seams down you press the seams open and then only sew through one side of the dress at a time. It may sound confusing but once you actually do it it might become more clear.

    Please let me know if you need any more help, and thank you for your question!


  3. Dokra says:

    Thanks for posting this lovely pattern! Is there a chart for larger sizes? For a 3 and 5 year olds?

  4. Beth says:

    That is the sweetest dress ever.

  5. Lyn says:

    This is adorable. I'm already scaling it up in my head to make tunics and dresses for my toddler. Of course, being in England, they will mostly be worn over long-sleeved vests but a girl can dream…

  6. Maureen Cracknell Handmade says:

    This is the sweetest little dress! I love it!!

  7. Haley J. says:

    How length and width do you recommend adding to the two initial rectangles to go up a size?

  8. Joanna says:

    This is precious! I would love to make a collection for my 5 year old daughter for this summer (hot US South!), but I'm not very good at scaling. How would you recommend modifying these measurements for a larger child?

  9. canadianjane says:

    Since I am perfectly terrible at math,I am jealous of Beth who is scaling the adorable dress in her head. Is it possible to provide measurements for a toddler or 4 yr old?

    Thanks so much. Despite my lack of math skills I am definitely inspired! :o)

  10. purl bee says:

    Hello to everyone asking about different sizes!

    Thank you so much for your enthusiasm about this pattern. We don't have a chart available but it should be pretty simple to adjust the pattern to any size you'd like. Here's how I'd do it:

    Figure out how long you'd like the dress to be. You can either measure your child or a garment that fits your child to figure this out. This is the length.

    Measure the bottom of skirt that fits your child. This is the bottom width.

    Measure your child across the chest above the armpits, where you would like the top of the dress to sit. Add a few inches to this measurement for the gathering (I'd try 2 inches for a baby, 3 or 4 inches for a larger child.) This is the top width.

    Cut two rectangles that measure the length + 1 3/4-inches by the bottom width + 2-inches.

    Fold the rectangles in half lengthwise. Orient them so the fold is on the left. At the top raw edge make a mark that is half of the top width + 1-inch to the right of the fold. Cut a diagonal line from this mark to the bottom right hand corner, thus cutting off much of the left side.

    Follow the directions for putting the dress together as detailed in the pattern, adjusting the depth of the separation of the two panels at the top to be a bit larger and cutting longer lengths of ribbon for the ties.

    I would do this in muslin or scrap fabric before embarking on the actual project. It is a very quick sew so it shouldn't take too long to mock up a sample beforehand and take note of any adjustments you'd like to make for the final pattern.

    Good luck everyone and let us know how it goes!

    Thank you!


  11. Nadya Crouch says:

    Congratz for the baby, I'm expecting a baby in June too! YEYYYY!!! and sew lots for her. Thank you for sharing this tutorial :D

  12. VickiT says:

    Thank you for this (and the sizing help in the comments to scale the pattern) adorable little dress. I may need to scale this pattern as well now that I think about it because my Granddaughter is already 3 months old and now closer to 4 month. Oh gosh, I guess I need to see if I can figure out how to do the size increase as well. Wish me luck since I'm still very new with clothing sewing after taking a lot of years off to raise three boys. Now I have cute little granddaughters to sew for and I'm going to have lots of fun. (OR at least I HOPE to have lots of fun. It may be a bit of bad words for awhile however knowing me and math. haha)

  13. MultiVroon says:

    Such a sweet little dress!! My “baby” has grown a bit ;) (19 months), but I really want to try to make this for her!

  14. purl bee says:

    Hi VickiT-

    If you have any problems or questions please let us know- and good luck!


  15. Carin says:

    Thanks for this! I already have the liberty of London print bought to do this very thing, from you guys, of course! I was seriously gonna throw together a makeshift pillowcase dress for my June any who'll be one this year… Btw, I'm on the East Coast, too. It's so nice to not have to deal with bundling right away, but get yourself a window aircon unit to aid in getting precious sleep!

  16. Marsha Gibbons says:

    Lovely!! Thank you so much for this precious pattern. I would love to see more baby sewing patterns. Cute patterns are hard to come by!!

  17. Spalva says:

    “adjusting the depth of the separation of the two panels at the top to be a bit larger”

    Ahem. Missed that. Any idea how to open up those sleeve holes? Hee hee.

    This was the perfect thing for a piece of Liberty I had waiting around for inspiration. I, too, was about to a sort of pillowcase top. I'm glad I saw this — just in the nick of time!

  18. purl bee says:

    Hi Spalva-

    Unfortunately if you've already sewn the sleeves to shallow you'll just have to rip out the seam and start again. Since this piece has so few seams it shouldn't take too long! Good luck!


  19. Shannon { A Mom's Year } says:

    So adorable. And three cheers for June birthdays! I have one, and I always loved it when I was little because I got a fresh set of clothes and toys just when the Christmas ones were wearing out!

  20. Joelle says:

    Oh this is so sweet and simple. Can't wait to make a couple for my daughter.

    Maybe it's just me being over cautious, but the long drawstring ribbon top looks a bit of a strangle hazard to me. I think I shall do the gathers with elastic and sew short ribbons fixed in place to tie up the straps.

  21. elvira gonzales says:

    I was looking for your pattern to crocht a bracelet on plastic canvas could not find it but I was so happy to find these other patterns you so gracely offer. Thank you. You are a blessing… Elvira Gonzales (VEE) nick name

  22. MultiVroon says:

    Love this dress! I finally made one, not for my daughter but for a tiny puppet… Not as lovely, but still pretty nice i think.
    See number seven here

  23. Frédérique says:

    I just finished to make this lovely little dress. I decided to make it in pale yellow linen with a flowered ribbon. So cute! Thanks for the pattern! :)

  24. gracenote says:

    Thank you for lovely clear instructions for this fab little dress! I am a complete beginner at sewing (and not showing much aptitude it has to be said), but have managed to create a rather professional-looking finished item – the only problem I had was with the hem which is a bit bunched up in one place – perhaps because I used thicker cotton than lawn? Perhaps didn't trim the ends of the seams off correctly? Apart from this one wobbly bit, it looks great – thank you again,

  25. Sophie says:

    I just did it (a very small version) for … my daughter's teddy bear and it looks just super cute! It is so easy and versatile! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Kat says:

    For a slightly heavier (and cute) version, for those that don't live out sweaty NYC summers, could you make this dress reversible?
    Two nice, complementary, (lightweight cotton) patterns, and all you have to do is turn it inside-out (or right side out) to make a different version of the same dress… a two-in-one!

    But I'm not sure how to do it. I'll have to test it first before having to pull out a bunch of stitches.

  27. Abbi says:

    I use this pattern to make dresses for the pillowcase dress appeal. It is so cute and much simpler when making the armholes. I also made a few as gifts last year. Thank you so much for sharing the very clear instructions.

  28. Selma Louise says:

    Hello, I do not quite understand how you are top stitching the side seams down to the body of the dress without sewing both sides of the dress together.

  29. Amy says:

    Could you make this in an adult size?

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