How to Sew a Princess Elena of Avalor Inspired Dress – Tutorial

Posted on 5 Comments

Got a little princess determined to be Elena of Avalor for Halloween? You can use our Daydreamer Dress pattern as a good starting point!

Elena’s signature dress has a neckline ruffle, an ankle-length layered skirt with a ruffle-edged cutaway and a slim waist with a gold belt. (If you want to get technical, Elena’s dress actually has flounces rather than ruffles. As we do not have royal couturiers sewing for us, let’s stick with ruffles to make it easy on ourselves.)

Inexpensive quilting cotton/cotton blends are fine for this dress, and easy to work with. Double skirts and big ruffles get heavy, so go with lighter-weight fabric. You’ll want a red fabric for the main dress and a slightly lighter but closely color-coordinated print for the ruffles. Elena’s ruffles look like they have a Latin-inspired tile print, but a small floral or geometric will work. (The skirt ruffle cuts are 9” wide so you may need up to a yard of fabric for them).  You’ll also need white or ivory fabric for the underskirt and gold satin for the waistband strip and ties to take the place of the gold belt.

You’ll need advanced or better sewing skills to make the adjustments needed. These instructions are for girl’s size 3 but you can use the measurements as a guideline for all girl’s sizes 2 – 10, which are the sizes included with the Daydreamer Dress pattern.

♦ Lengthen the front and back bodice pieces by 1”. This is shown shaded in gray.
♦ Cut the neckline ruffle 1.5” wider, so 6” x 42”.

♦ Create the sash ties as directed, from gold satin. Cut only 1 waistband strip, also from the gold satin.

♦ Construct the bodice using this alternate method:  Don’t press under the edge of the waistband strip. Lay it right sides together with the front bodice, aligning bottom edges, and sew. Press the seam allowance to the waistband strip and optionally topstitch.


Then baste the ties in place, leaving ⅝” free at the bottom edge. Join the side seams of front and back bodices.


Press under the armholes (see pattern, top of page 9). Complete all of Step 5 to add the neck ruffle. Set the bodice aside.

♦ Cut the overskirt as follows:

Measure your child shoulder to ankle or use the approximate lengths here: Size 2: 26”, size 3: 28.5”, size 4: 31”, size 5: 34”, size 6: 36.5”, size 7/8: 39.5”, size 9/10: 43”.  Subtract the finished length of the Daydreamer dress from the chart on page 2 of the pattern. That’s how much you’ll need to lengthen the skirt cuts …

EXCEPT we added 1” to the bodice so also subtract that 1 inch. (If you’ve added more, subtract that amount).

AND we are going to have a big princess-worthy 4” wide finished ruffle instead of the pattern’s 2.5” wide ruffle, so subtract another 1.5” (this should be good for all sizes). Don’t worry, here’s an example:

Our size 3 child is 28.5” shoulder to ankle. Subtract the 22.5” you see in the finished length chart on page 2. You get 6”. Also subtract the 1” we lengthened the bodice, so you have 5”, and further subtract the 1.5” we’re adding to the ruffle = 3.5”. So add 3.5” to the length of the skirt cut given in the cutting chart in the pattern. For size 3, therefore, you’ll cut the overskirts 17” long [13.5″ from the pattern plus 3.5″] x 29” wide.

With the overskirt pieces right sides together and the width of the skirt going across the top, draw a curve you like similar to the one shown and cut it away from both. I’ve left mine on the 1″ grid so you can see about how I cut the curve.


♦ Join the skirts along the short straight edge. Measure the edge to find the length from top edge to this seam. Multiply by 3, this is the total length of ruffle you will need.


♦ Cut ruffle strips 9” wide and join until you have the length you calculated above. Press in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Taper both ends. I cut away 2.5” at the short ends, tapering down to nothing about 16” away from the short end.


♦ Gather the ruffle and attach to the overskirt.


♦ When the overskirt is finished, measure down the back seam from waist edge to hem and cut the underskirt pieces 2” shorter and the same width you cut the overskirt (from the pattern chart).  Sew the side seams of the underskirt and hem it with a ¼” narrow hem.

♦ Gather each skirt to the bodice width. Mark a point on the wearer’s right bodice where you would like the overskirt cutaway to be (if you look at Elena’s, it is not centered).


♦ Place the bodice, right side out, into the overskirt that is wrong-side out (it may be hard to tell but yes this one in the photo is wrong side out), matching the marked point on the bodice with the overlapped ruffle of the overskirt.



With the underskirt also wrong-side out, slide it around the overskirt.


♦ Join skirt and bodice and you are done! Add a ponytail with flowers, gold earrings and sandals.


5 thoughts on “How to Sew a Princess Elena of Avalor Inspired Dress – Tutorial

  1. Hi! I am almost done making this and it looks so awesome thank you for this tutorial! I wanted to add that I *think* when you talk about the length of skirt ruffle that you also need to x2 the length you measured and sew those two lengths together. Otherwise you don’t have enough ruffle for the whole overskirt, maybe? That is what I did anyway. Maybe I just have extra ruffle now? Also, in case anyone else is wondering, I used satin/glitter organza for this as my kids want it to look like the ones from the store and except for having glitter everywhere, it is working out well so far. My 4 yr old is so excited, so thank you again!

  2. Also, I misread the underskirt measurement for length and I cut it 2 inches shorter than where the ruffle/overskirt were sewn together. I am guessing I was supposed to cut it 2 inches shorter than the length of the overskirt including the ruffle. Can you tell me for sure? Mine looks really short now and compared to your finished product, I think I did it the wrong way.

  3. Aimee I am so sorry for the late reply, the comments got stuck in spam and I have the filter fixed now! Yes, it’s not clear the way I wrote it, is it? I meant to indicate the ruffle ratio is 1.5x the measurement of the edge of the dress. So if you measure half the dress edge as I instructed, you’d actually multiply by 3 to get the total ruffle (or as you said, multiply the measurement I gave by 2, but I think it’s easier to multiply once by 3). I’ll change that!

  4. Right, I think you may have misread. You measure waist edge to hem, not to the seam between the skirt and ruffle. You could add a ruffle to the underskirt to lengthen. How did yours come out?

  5. I ended up sewing another length of white on the bottom, messed up that length and sewed another one on that but it ended up turning out really good, it just looks like an extra detail now not a mistake! I would post a picture of my little lady in it if I could!

Comments are closed.