Lucky Layers Tiered Dress in Size 2T

Hi, this is Anshu from Blooms And Bugs. When I started sewing this dress from Kate Spain’s Good Fortune Collection, I spent a lot of time fretting upon the color combination, choosing prints, etc. Finally I gave up because it was so difficult to pick just a few favorites from this line of amazing prints. I just decided to start with one print for the bodice and add other prints as I went. In hindsight though, I should have spared myself the trouble. This is such a well thought out collection that no matter what prints you put together, they will look great. Congratulations to Kate for coming up with such a fascinating collection. I’m calling this Lucky Layers dress, as a nod to the name of the line – Good Fortune. I hope you like the dress design and make it for the little girls in your life.

For a two year old size:

  • 3 layer cake squares for the bodice
  • 4 fat quarters – 3 for the skirt, 1 for the shoulder straps and bias tape on the bodice.
  • elastic thread for shirring

Drafting the bodice:


Measure the waist of the child. Lets call this measurement W.

For the front bodice you will need two layer cake squares. I have taken two similar ones, but you could choose two different squares as well. Keep them on top of each other (right sides together).


Measure 7 inches from one end of the length. Cut along the 7 inch mark to get a rectangle of 10 inches X 7 inches.


On this rectangle, measure 4 inches from top left corner on the width (10 inches side). Mark this point (Point A). Join this point to the bottom left corner with a slanted line.


At the diagonally opposite corner, measure 3.5 inches in length  (8 inches side). Mark this point. as Point B.


Now join point A and point B with a convex curve. There’s no right or wrong here, just draw a curve that looks pleasing to you. You could even draw a straight line if you are not comfortable drawing a curve.


Cut out the curve and the slanted line you drew.


Pic above shows the two bodice pieces you will get.


Now overlap the slanted lines of these pieces by 3 inches.


Take a layer cake square and cut it in half in length. Join the two pieces on the shorter side  (right sides together).


Now fill your bobbin with elastic thread and sew 4-5 seams on this rectangle about 1 inch below the edge. Here’s a great tutorial on shirring in case you’re not familiar with shirring.


Now measure how wide you want your back piece to be. You have to first measure the overlapped front bodice and deduct it from the total waist measurement W ( taken in step 1). The back piece should be equal to the remaining width +1 inch sewing margin. Now measure the shirred piece to the required width on both sides of the seam you made to join the two layer cake halves. It is important to do the shirring first and then measure the back piece because shirring is a function of lot of factors – fabric type, machine, elastic thread type etc. The final shirred width of a given fabric is difficult to determine beforehand, so it is best to shir a lengthy piece first and then cut it to the required width.

Sew the back to the front bodice on both sides with right sides together. Make sure that the top edges of both back and front pieces line up. There will likely be a small length of back piece hanging off because we have cut the back piece longer than the front. We will fix it later.


Make bias tape with one fat quarter. Here’s a tutorial on how to make five yards of bias tape from one fat quarter. Sew the bias tape on the slanted edges of the front bodice. If the back bodice piece is longer than the front bodice, cut it off at this point to equal the bodice bottom edge.


Now leave about 10 inches hanging and sew the bias tape to the rest of the top edge of bodice starting from one end of the front bodice, leave another 10 inches hanging at the other end for ties.


Sew a seam on the hanging bias tape, making it into narrow straps for shoulders.

Making the skirt:


Cut two strips 4.5 inches long and 18 inches wide from a fat quarter. Join them at both short ends ( right sides together), to make a wide tube. This will become the first tier of the skirt.


From another coordinating fat quarter, cut three strips 4.5 inches long and 18 inches wide, join the three strips together with a seam along the short ends (right sides together). These will become the second tier of the skirt.


  • Now sew a seam along the raw edge of tier 1 with the widest stitch possible. Pull the bobbin thread gently to gather the tier slightly. Make the gathered skirt equal to the bodice width.
  • Sew a seam along the raw edge of tier 2 with the widest stitch possible. Pull the bobbin thread gently to gather the tier slightly. Make the gathered skirt equal to the width of tier1.
  • Sew tier 2 to the ungathered edge of tier 1. Right sides together.

Joining the skirt and the bodice:

Sew the raw edge of tier 1 to the raw edge of bodice, right sides together


Sew the hanging ends of shoulder straps to the back if you like. Here you have the option keeping them hanging and having a halter neck dress, or sewing them at the back straight or across. Sew them at the back whichever way you like, or keep them loose for a halter neck dress.


At this point you can decide if you want it to be a short dress or a long one. Both look equally cute. If you decide to go for a long one, take another fat quarter and cut 4 strips 4.5 inches long and 18 inches wide. Join all the four strips at shorter ends (right sides together). This will become tier 3. Fold one end twice with the minimum width possible and sew a seam. At the raw end sew a seam with the widest stitch length, pull the bobbin thread to gather it slightly and sew it to the raw end of tier 2, right sides together.


Serge the raw inner seams on each tier, or sew a zig-zag if you don’t have a serger.

Your Lucky layers dress is ready. Put it on the little one, bet she’s been waiting to wear this one.

PS: I get queries about how to make a given clothing in bigger sizes so I decided to include some notes on how to extend the pattern to bigger sizes.

The dress can be made in a variety of sizes with the same basic construction. To make it bigger you could use any/all of the following tips

1. Keep more of the shirred bodice piece you prepare. I had to cut off about half of it to make it in a two year old size. So if you like to make it in a bigger size keep more of it, that would add a few inches to the bodice width. Also shirring at the back ensures that the dress fits for a long time on a growing child.

2. Add longer shoulder straps. For older kids, you could easily add about two inches to the shoulder straps. In fact, I keep about two inches of shoulder straps hanging off at the inside of the dress, just so I can extend the dress length if I need to.

3. Add one more tier to the skirt. The thing to keep in mind here is that the maximum 4.5 inch strips possible from a fat quarter are 4 (which I have used above). So if you want to add one more tier, you may need more than a fat quarter. However, you could always mix two prints and make a patchwork tier. I think it would look good.

Anshu Jain
{Blooms And Bugs}

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