Lemon Drop Dress – Fitting, Pattern ‘hacks’

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Sewn by Delilah’s Delights

The Lemon Drop Tunic and Dress really is the perfect pattern for wearing alone in warmer weather, or layering for cooler weather.  It covers sizes 12 months to 9/10 years and includes tunic and dress lengths, with ruffles or a simple hem, and features a lovely curved bodice and gathered pockets.  It’s recommended for advanced beginning sewists and higher.

(Dress and photo by Rebecca B.)



Every body is different, and we’re going to show you a couple of adjustments to help you get a great fit for your Lemon Drop.  The most important measurement you will need to achieve the right fit is the chest measurement.  To get an accurate chest measurement, measure the fullest part of your child’s chest and straight across their back, making sure their arms are at their sides (not raised).  My girls tend to get squirmy and wriggle around a lot when I try to get this measurement, so it can take me a couple of tries to get a correct reading.

If your chest measurement is in between sizes, you will want to size down for a more fitted look, or size up if you would like room to grow or to layer.  We will also double check our bodice fit at the end of day 2, so there will be a little room to correct fit tomorrow.

Using my littlest one as an example, she has a chest measurement of 22″ and is 37.5″ tall, so this puts her right on the cusp of sizes 2 and 3 for chest size.  I would like a more fitted dress, so I will use the size 2 bodice.  Since she’s smack in the middle of size 3 for height, I will use the size 3 straps and lengthen my skirt pieces for a size 3.  You will want to use your height size for the straps as this will give you some room for adjustments if necessary.  The only pattern change I will need to make for length is to the skirt pieces, but we’ll go over that in a moment.

Let’s talk about printing our sizes.  The Lemon Drop pattern has a layers feature which makes it easy to print only the sizes we need.  You will find the printing instructions at the bottom of page 2 (I strongly urge you to take a look at them if you’ve never printed layers), as well as the layout for assembling the pages.  Printing the pattern this way makes it very easy to make the necessary fitting changes to our pattern.

I’m using the instructions for lengthening the skirt from page 3 of the pattern’s instructions.  You will make this length change for all of the hem options in this sew-along as we need correct length for our base pattern before we can make any modifications to the design.

Again, do this length adjustment to your pattern before making any of the other modifications.

Adding Flutters

Flutters look lovely on the Lemon Drop, and are simple to add.  We’re going to make a quick modification to our straps pattern piece before cutting it out – increasing the seam allowance on the long edges from the given 1/4″ to 1/2″ instead to make attaching the gathered flutters more manageable.  So simply add 1/4″ to each side of the straps pattern according to the illustration below. Then cut out your straps.

Also download Tie Dye Diva’s Free Universal Flutter pattern and tutorial and cut out flutters (lined or hemmed, up to you) in your usual size.

Maxi Length Modification

The maxi length Lemon Drop looks great in both the hemmed and ruffle hem versions.  You will need to modify your pattern a bit differently for each version.

Hemmed Maxi Dress

If you have chosen the hemmed maxi length option, use the following chart’s measurements for your length size, and simply add that amount to your dress hemmed finish cutting line.

Using my littlest girl as an example, if I were to make the hemmed maxi dress, I would take her length size, which is size 3, and add 7″ to the bottom of the dress hemmed finish cutting line (shown in pink below).  My modified pattern piece will look something like this:

I repeated this for the skirt’s back piece as well, adding 7″ to my length measurement from the Dress Length Cutting Chart on page 4 of the pattern, or you can use the cut chart above.

Ruffle Hem Maxi Dress

If you are sewing the ruffle hem maxi dress, we will be adjusting the size of the ruffle to make up the length of the maxi.  You will use the cut chart below for your ruffle pieces and back skirt piece.

If your length size is 12 months through 6/6X, you will use the dress hemmed finish cutting line as your cutting line for the ruffle maxi.

If your length size is 7/8 and 9/10, you will add length to the dress hemmed finish cutting line in a similar manner as the hemmed maxi dress above, but use the measurements in the chart below.

For example, if I were sewing a size 7/8 ruffle maxi dress, I would first add 1″ to my skirt pattern piece at the dress hemmed finish cutting line (using the same technique as for the hemmed maxi above), and I would cut my ruffles and back skirt pieces using the chart above.

If you would like the ruffles to be longer in proportion, simply add the desired length to the ruffle and subtract that same amount of length from the skirt pieces.

Hi-Low Hem Modification


If you have chosen the hi-low hem option, you will need to make some pattern modifications too, and we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible.  The illustrations below are step-by-step pattern modification instructions using simple math to make a modest hi-low hem.  You can of course make the front higher and the back lower to your taste, but the techniques will be the same.  When making your choice, keep in mind that the inside is visible from the front.

To calculate how high to raise/shorten your center front seam, measure the length of your center front pattern piece (in pink below).  You will take your measurement and plug it into this equation:

Using my littlest one as an example, I’m making her the hemmed tunic.  My center front measurement is 15 3/8″ (or 15.375″), so my equation looks like this:  15.375″ X .089 = 1.37″.  This is how much I will shorten the front (as seen in pink below).

Draw a line from this mark to the side seam’s seam allowance (it’s a 1/2″ seam allowance), drawing an ever so slight curve, since we’re going for a modest hi-low look.  Cut on your new hem line.

Since the back piece doesn’t have a pattern, you can print out another skirt front piece (don’t forget to make your length adjustments before altering for the hi-low hem), then cut off the top so the pattern is a rectangle the size of your skirt back measurements.  It will look something like this:

You’ll want to leave some paper at the bottom for the pattern adjustments and re-label your pattern piece as the back.  We will do the opposite of what we did to the front piece.  Use the same measurement to extend/lower the center back seam, and draw a slightly curved line up to the side seam allowance.

Then cut out your back skirt piece.

Now, because we are going to finish our hem with a hem facing, we need to remove the extra hem allowance.  To do this, trace your front and back hemline curve 1.5″ above the hem, and remove this from both pattern pieces.

If you’re making the hi-low hem with the ruffles, you would make the same adjustments, only you would make them to the ruffle hem line.