You can get the free flutter sleeve top and dress pattern in size 4T by clicking here. It’s a 3 page PDF. You’ll want to be sure the printer settings say actual size or 100%. I’ve included a box on the third page that should measure exactly 1 inch when printed.
Print out the pattern and tape it together as you can see below. Don’t trim anything from the paper; just butt the edges up against each other and tape. Then cut out the pattern. Please note that I made this pattern to my daughter’s measurements and she is 3.5 years old and wears a 4T in clothes from the store. However, she’s fairly petite for her age, so if the girl you are sewing for is tall you will want to add some length (once it’s finished you can use a shoulder to knee measurement to decide exactly where to hem). The pattern has 3/8 inch seam allowance built in.
If your little girls doesn’t wear 4T, you can draft your own pattern. Here’s how:
1 – I used a t-shirt that fits my daughter well and freezer paper to trace general shape I wanted from the dress, as you can see in the photo. The only thing I should have done differently is to not cut the arm opening quite so low (I moved the bottom of the armhole up almost 2 inches on the pattern, so if you’re drafting your own you may want to print the pattern for reference). I cut the pattern into two pieces – a bodice piece and a sleeve piece. The bodice piece will get cut on the fold, with the fold being down the center. The sleeve piece will also get cut on the fold, with the fold being over the shoulder.
2 – I retraced the bodice piece, adding an extra 2 inches at the fold.
3 – I retraced the sleeve piece, adding an extra 2 inches at the fold. That gives the dress and sleeves enough extra room to add gathers all around the neckline and shoulders for the “peasant dress” look.
Then I cut two of the bodice (on the fold) and two sleeves (on the fold).
Place bodice pieces RST together and sew down the sides.
Next, finish the bottom edge of the sleeve. You can just hem it, or add trim like I did.
Next I attached the sleeves to the bodice and finished the arm holes with single fold bias tape, as you see below.
I just made some single fold bias tape from the extra fabric for this, although it all gets folded to the inside so you don’t see it – so it doesn’t need to match. Repeat with the other sleeve/arm hole.
Nearly done! We just need to add a casing that goes all the way around the neckline/shoulders to hold some elastic. I used single fold bias tape to create the casing (store bought this time). Attach as shown:
Sew the bias tape to the outside of the neckline, turn and press to the inside, then stitch close to the edge of the tape to create a casing. Use a safety pin to thread elastic through it and gather until the neckline is as small as you’d like (it helps to try it on at this point). Sew the ends of your elastic together and finish the hemline as desired:
I tied a small bow with a little extra bias tape and hand stitched it to the front of the dress.
*TOP VERSION FOR 4T SIZE:
You’ll want to cut 2 sleeve pieces, both on the fold, and two dress pieces, again both on the fold.
Add the trim and finish the bottom edge of the sleeve:
The under arms and neckline are finished with 1/2 inch single fold bias tape. It’s called single fold, but there are actually two folds in it. It looks like this:
Attach the sleeves to the dress (I’ve used photos from both the dress and top to try to best show the steps):
These steps were a little hard to photograph, so I hope this makes sense. If you’ve never used bias tape before you may want to read this tutorial.
Make a casing for your elastic along the neckline:
When you topstitch (in photo #2 above), do it from the underside so you can sew as close to the edge of the bias tape as possible. Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through. If your daughter is on the short side, you might want to use 21 inches of elastic instead of 22.