Milk Maid Dress Tutorial



Hello I Heart Naptime readers. I am Vanessa from Our Thrifty Ideas. I am so excited to be over here sharing a fun sewing tutorial with you today. Summer is by far my favorite season, and it is also the perfect time for dresses. Both myself and my daughter could live in them during the hot months. But my daughter loves them for more than that, because they make her “beautiful”! She loves to twirl and dance in them and so we have to make sure that she has plenty to pick from each day. I have started to make her dresses whenever possible to save some money, because they definitely can get expensive at times.  Dress2

I have fallen in love with the look of these “milk maid” style dresses that you can also wear as a skirt. The tutorial is super easy, and you can whip it together in less than an hour. Oh, and did I mention it’s easy?! I’m not a trained sewer in any way, so if I can do it, pretty much anyone can!



around 1 yard of your fabric (more or less depending on the size you are making)

1 inch elastic

1/4 inch elastic

sewing machine

cutting mat & rotary cutter

iron & ironing board


Very first, make sure to wash your fabric. It could shrink the first time it’s washed, and you’d hate to have it do that AFTER you’ve made the dress! Then you will want to measure the person you are making it for. Get the Chest size, the width of the neck and the length from armpit to knee cap. Here are the measurements that I used for my 2 year old daughter. Chest – 20 inches Neck – 4 inches Length – 15 inches Using these measurements I cut my main dress piece to be 36 inches (approx. 1 1/2 times the chest size) by 17 inches (the length plus 2 inches). I cut my 1 inch elastic to be 18 inches, to create a tighter fit once attached. You will also need 2- 2 inch sections of 1/4 inch elastic.


First lets make the straps. Cut them to be 36 inches by 3 1/2 inches. Then fold them in half with right sides together, and sew with a 1/4 inch seam all the way down. Only catch is that you will want to make a point at one end, so start your sew at a diagonal for 2 inches. Then turn inside out and fold the open end in 1/4 inch and iron flat. You will sew this closed when you attach it to the dress. Dress5

For the main dress part, start by creating a 1/4 inch seam at the bottom of your dress piece. To do this; fold up 1/4 inch then again and iron flat. Then sew with a zig zag stitch making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end. Dress6

Now fold the fabric in half, with wrong sides facing one another. Sew down the side, using a straight stitch, as close to the edge as possible. After, turn it inside out and sew down the edge again with a 1/4 inch seam to hide the raw edge inside the hem. Dress7

To create the casing for the elastic, you are going to iron the top down 1/4 inch then another 1 1/4 inch. Sew at the 1 inch mark to create your casing, but leave open 1-2 inches to insert the elastic. I find the best way to do this is to pin one edge in place and using a safety pin, thread the elastic all the way thru the dress. Once thru, sew together with a zig zag stitch. Then close up the opening with another straight stitch. Dress8

Now you will attach the straps. Find the front center, and from here you will use the neck measurement. Because mine was 4 inches, I went out 2 inches on each side, and attached my strap there. Just lay the strap on the inside of the dress, and sew with a zig zag stitch so it can still stretch with the elastic when getting dressed. You will do the same thing with the 1/4 inch elastic, but on the back of the dress. Attach with a zig zag stitch at the same place as the front straps. Dress9

Crisscross the straps in the back, and thru the elastic. Then tie into a bow. You can wear this as a dress, like pictured above, or loosen the straps to make it more of a maxi skirt style! Either way it is adorable and very lightweight for summer! Dress10

If you liked this tutorial, head over and check out some of these other fun posts from my site:

Watermelon Limeade Pops from

Watermelon Limeade Pops

Printable Water Bottle Wrappers for Summer from

Summer Waterbottle Wrap Printable


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HeadshotVanessa is a Play at Home Mommy to 2 little crazies. She loves to craft, bake and create whenever she gets a chance and always has her little sidekicks helping out whenever possible. She has a passion for dance, fashion and may have a slight Dr Pepper obsession! She loves to share her creations and life with her readers over at Our Thrifty Ideas

more by Coleen »

Coleen Bassett

Hi, it’s me…Coleen! I grew up in northern California. I am the second of four children. I went to college at Chico State where I met and married the love of my life 10 years ago. We have two wonderful, amazing, loving children! I am a bit of a crazy bike rider/barefoot runner! My favorite past time is to go for a run…barefoot! I am passionate about design!! I have been an independent creative consultant for 6 years. Someday I will travel the world and speak 7 different languages. Life is so good!

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9 comments on “Milk Maid Dress Tutorial”

  1. I am so excited to try this! I am a beginner sewer and have started making dresses for my daughter who is also 2 :) She loves to have pretty dresses to wear. I love the thick straps on this and the simplicity of it. Now to decide which fabric I want to use first to make her one. I adore the gray chevron you used for the model pics! Thank you for the great tut and lots of pics! Happy Crafting…

  2. Vanessa I have done a similar thing lately. I don´t have a beautiful baby girl like you yet, but I did one for myself for a costume party. For mine I inspired myself in Raggedy Ann apron. A fun thing to do and easy too isn´t?

  3. Totally didn’t type a comment before I hit enter! I love how easy this looks. I have been pinning cute girl projects lately to make for my new niece! I’ll have to save this for when she gets a little bigger.

  4. ADORABLE great new idea for me to use for my girls some new church dresses but Not following how you attach the straps seems as a step is missing? Attach them on the front but just lay the strap on the inside of the dress, and sew with a zig zag stitch so it can still stretch with the elastic when getting dressed, do you sew it below the elastic so it still stretch? and the back I am not understnading it either how do I pull it thru the elastic? how can it strecth if sewn in place sorry I may seem dumb LOL

  5. I made this dress today for my one and a half year old from a pink check material! Your instructions were so easy to follow, I have never sewed clothes before and it turned out perfectly! Thanks for a great Tutorial!

  6. I did not see directions for the 1/4 inch elastic. Where does that go? Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. It’s adorable and looks nice and cool for summer.

  7. fabuloso me encantoel traje y facil de hacer pon mas.

  8. Thank you

  9. can’t wait to make the milk made dress

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