Toddler’s spotty tunic

So I’ve been perusing the little girls section of the clothes shops and there seems to be a lot of these little tunics about. They’re very sweet and importantly – they’re practical.

My little girl has just started walking but is still falling over lots and dresses are causing her issues. I’m dressing her more and more in tops and trousers so I wanted to make her something pretty that would stop her looking like a street urchin.


I’ve gone free-hand for this one. Here is how I drew my pattern.


    1. Take a t-shirt that fits your little one
    2. Draw round the top half onto paper – I used cheap Christmas wrapping paper.
    3. Mark off the area on the chest adding seam allowances


    1. Cut out pattern – this piece will become the ‘Bodice Front’
    2. Fold it in half then fold over at least 1 inch


    1. Undo the pattern piece and fold along the 2nd fold line – this piece will become the ‘Bodice back’.


    1. From your fabric cut out 1 bodice front and 2 bodice back pieces.
    2. For the tunic bottom, cut two pieces of fabric using these measurements. Measure the bottom of the t-shirt. Add 6 inches and multiple by 2.
    3. Cut these pieces in 2.
  1. Draw along the top-most edge of your bodice piece and draw 2cm down into the pattern. This will become your front neck and back neck facings. Hopefully this picture will make more sense than my description!


If you want to add a cap sleeve now is the time to cut one. There are some brilliant descriptions online of how to do a cap sleeve. I ignored all these descriptions and winged it. Probably not a good suggestion!


Assembling your tunic

  1. Serge the bottom edge of the Bodice Front and Bodice Back pieces. I didn’t because I’m lazy.


  1. Fold over 1.5cm of the centre back edge of the Bodice Back piece and pin.


  1. Fold over 1cm of the tunic bottom’s top edge and pin.


  1. Put pleats in the centre of the piece like the photo shows. Alternatively you could use a gathering stitch if you can’t be bothered with the faff of pleats.
  2. Repeat for the top edge of back pieces of the tunic bottom – i.e. fold over 1cm and make simple pleats in the middle.


  1. Pin the tunic bottom front piece to the bodice front piece with wrong side to right side. The idea is to have a frilly seam along the bodice front.
  2. Pin the tunic bottom back piece to the bodice back pieces. Make sure you have enough fabric to fold over the centre back edge of the Bodice Back piece.
  3. Sew along the bodice back with a neat running stitch about 1-2cm down from the top edge. You bodice pieces should now be attached to the tunic bottom.

Now I quite like a princess seam on childrens clothes. For one its neater but it also makes the seam much much stronger. Given how much tumbling about my toddler does I think this is pretty important.

Princess seam

  1. Pin tunic front to tunic back – wrong sides together.
  2. Stitch down sides and shoulders using a neat running stitch.
  3. Trim seams down, turn inside out and stitch along the same seams again.
  4. Et voila – princess seams!

Cap sleeves

  1. Sew a 1/2cm seam on the outer edge of the cap sleeve.
  2. Turn bodice inside out and pin the cap sleeve to it marking the centre points.
  3. Stitch neatly.
  4. Turn cap sleeve to the outside. I like to do a top stitch all the way around as it looks neater, makes the sleeve stronger and tidies up the underarm fabric area.

IMG_4540 IMG_4541


Buttonholes and buttons

I decided to do buttons all down the back as I like the look. It also makes stripping a truly disgustingly dirty toddler easier.

I marked out 6 buttons and buttonholes and my lovely fancy machine did most of the work.

Final product

All I can say is kudos to Boden for taking photos of small children for their catalogues. In my experience trying to get a decent photo is a flipping nightmare as young Ms Lily King will show you here!

IMG_4574 IMG_4579 IMG_4578 IMG_4615

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