In addition to the core Flip Flop Dress pattern, I’m also sharing some of the variations for the dress! Initially, ALL of these pieces and techniques were included in the full pattern, but my testers reported back to me that it made the pattern bulky and unwieldy to work with. I envisioned it as a choose your own adventure-type document, but there are just so many variations that it was a huge number of pages and hard to follow, particularly for folks who have less experience working with a sewing pattern.
I totally agree with them. Sometimes, I want more to be more. My goal, though, isn’t to make the end-all-be-all dress pattern for girls–it’s to design a pattern that’s a pleasure to sew and a joy to share. Reducing the overall scope of the core pattern was the best means to do that, and to create a pattern you’d love to work with.
All those other options were so great, though! Rather than leaving them on the sewing room floor, I’ve decided to offer each one on the blog as a FREE download. Some of these variations are additional pattern pieces, and others are alternate techniques that I’ll share through tutorials–and printable PDFs to add to your pattern file.
Making this dress with an unlined bodice wasn’t my first instinct–because generally, I prefer lining to almost any other finishing technique. (It’s so simple!) Once I started sewing samples, though, I desperately wanted to make a double-gauze version–this one is made with Cotton + Steel double gauze from Pink Castle Fabrics.
Making the dress unlined changes only that: the lining. All the other options and elements can still be included! This version even has a Velcro closure–even simpler than buttons, and great for teaching the littlest ones to dress themselves!
I’ve made the unlined version sleeveless, with the cap sleeves, and with the long sleeves. In most fabrics, I would still argue that the lined version is easier and cleaner–but with the double gauze, for example, lining the bodice didn’t make sense. Part of the point of double gauze is its soft breathability, and I felt like I would lose that by adding a lining. Making the dress unlined kept it light and summery and easy to wear. I suspect if you wanted to sew this dress as a school uniform from a particularly bulky fabric, you might be able to make it unlined for less weight.
It probably wouldn’t have killed me to iron this one, but it was straight out of the dryer–another dress that my girl wears every SINGLE time it’s clean. I can’t make the washer go fast enough for her. A full step-by-step tutorial here on the blog–complete with printable PDF–will show you how to replace the lining and make an unlined bodice, including a simpler finish for the waistline seam that can apply to any version of the dress you make.
My favorite of all the extras is the 3/4 length sleeve with cuff. Good night, how cute is this look!! I love the shape and the versatility of this sleeve.
With a sleeveless version, you have the option of wearing the dress over a tee shirt or blouse as a jumper, but with the longer sleeve with the cuff, the dress really stands out and is so dear.
The shape of the sleeve makes me all fuzzy inside, with the slight bell shaping at the cuff.
There are no buttons or closures on the cuff, so it’s a quick sew that makes a stand-0ut variation of this style. It has a flat (not puffed) sleeve cap so it’s clean and classic, even for girls who don’t love wearing dresses.
Finally, as I was working, I dreamed up an alternate collar, one that my mom liked to include in her collections when she was still manufacturing the earliest incarnation of this design. Instead of a Peter Pan, this one is a pointed collar that can work with either the button front or the button back versions of the dress. It feels a little more dress to me than the Peter Pan collar, and can be done in a contrasting fabric for a sweet pop of color.
Each of these extra little freebies will be available after the release of the basic pattern! I’m virtually ITCHING to see all the versions you come up with, and can’t wait to see photos of your finished projects. Believe it or not, back to school is nearly here–and this is such a fabulous design for making a good first impression!