The Flip Flop Dress: Variations

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.

Peter Pan collar and three quarter length sleeves on the Flip Flop Dress by Whipstitch

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.

The Flip Flop Dress: optional cuffed sleeve

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.

The Flip Flop Dress: optional unlined bodice with rounded neckline

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!

Velcro closure on the Flip Flop Dress sewing pattern

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.

unlined bodice on the Flip Flop Dress sewing pattern from Whipstitch

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.

Great look for little girls--the Flip Flop Dress sewing pattern from Whipstitch

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.

optional three quarter length cuffed sleeve for Flip Flop Dress by Whipstitch

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.

Classic girls dress sewing pattern

The shape of the sleeve makes me all fuzzy inside, with the slight bell shaping at the cuff.

three quarter length sleeve on the Flip Flop Dress sewing pattern

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.

alternate pointed collar on the Flip Flop Dress sewing pattern

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.

Classic dress for girls to sew

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!


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  • Samina
    July 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Is the striped one (your daughter’s favorite) is my favorite one too. I love the way that fabric & stripe works with the dress. I’ve got to get my hands on some of that fabric too. I think an adult version of that dress would be gorgeous & so summery.

    • Samina
      July 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Sorry – typo. Kill that “is” at the beginning!

  • The Flip Flop Dress Pattern NOW AVAILABLE! | Whipstitch
    September 1, 2015 at 11:56 am

    […] For more details about what makes the Flip Flop Dress special, see this post.  For more about the basic pattern and the two views it includes, see this post.  For more about variations on the pattern, and upcoming blog specials (like additional pattern pieces and techniques specific to this pattern), see this post. […]

  • Friday Fiver: Flip Flop Dress!
    September 11, 2015 at 6:00 am

    […] one will even notice it’s the same pattern. And – this is my personal favorite – this post shows variations including velcro for the closure and I love love love how that […]