Figuring out how to make a princess dress can be intimidating but trust me, it’s not that hard. Whether you are making big princess dresses or small simple princess dresses for costumes or a special occasion, I’m sharing all the best tips, tutorials and hacks.
It’s my favorite time of the year, costume time. Hands down my favorite thing to sew are costumes and some of my favorite costumes are Princess Dresses. My husband was making fun of me the other day because I told someone I was lost when it came to menswear but if they want me to whip up I big poofy princess dress I’m their gal.
I know lots of you will be sewing princess dresses in the next few months whether for Halloween, dress up, or as Christmas presents so I thought I’d gather up some of my favorite tutorials for all things princess. I hope that when you look through these that even if you’re a bit nervous about your project, it will seem more doable for you.
I hope you’ll use this article as a jumping off point. I’m linking lots of techniques and tricks. I’ll describe them briefly below but make sure to click through on any topic that interests you to see a full posts with pictures and step by step instructions to help you with that particular step of princess dress making.
How to Gather Big Skirts
So many princess dresses have nice big twirl able skirts. The easiest way to do this is to gather the skirt. But gathering a lot of fabric can be kind of tricky. Your thread may break and it can be hard to distribute the ruffles evenly.
This is my all time favorite trick for how to gather big skirts. This way makes the job fast and easy! I use it every time I am making a gathered skirt.
Alternatively if you only have a small bit (or really lightweight) fabric to gather this serger gathering trick is super helpful!
Make a Tutu Skirt Princess Skirt
If big gathered skirts aren’t quite your style you might want to consider using a tutu as a skirt. There are lots of ways to do this. This quick tutu tutorial shows you how to easily make basic tutu skirts. You can use this to make any size or length. I’ve made them for babies, little kids and even myself! Also that post has lots of great tutu costumes inspiration to get the wheels turning. You can make any princess into a tutu version.
If you want something a little more structured you may like my tulle skirt tutorial. I originally made this skirt as part of a grown up Cinderella Disney bounding costume pictured above but you can use these same techniques for all ages and a variety of sizes and ages.
Get the Corset Top Look
Corsets totally have that old princess feel. But real corsets can be both a pain to make and a pain to wear. Learn simple steps for how to add corset detailing to any basic princess bodice.
As a bonus if you want to do Anastasia and Drusilla from Cinderella this is an easy way to do that!
Turn a Simple T-shirt into a Princess Dress
If you’re into upcycling this tutorial will show you how to turn 1 yard of fabric and an oversized T-shirt into a princess dress. What I love about this is that while to a kiddo this dress feels totally princess like it is also super comfortable and wearable. They can wear it to the park without worrying about the fabric snagging on something.
I have actually done quite of few of these shirt to dress transformations and the nieces wore them to death. One of my favorites was this rainbow princess dress.
How to Make Snow White Sleeves
I know one of the main things I think of when I want a super frilly princess dress is sleeves. Those classic Snow White style sleeves are awesome for adding a real special feel. But you don’t have to use them for just classic princess. We made a strawberry princess dress one year. Check out my super easy tutorial for how to make poofy two-tone princess sleeves
And princess sleeves aren’t just for the kiddos I even threw a set on a shirt for me to make an Easy Snow White Top. All you need to do is pair it with a yellow skirt and you’re good to go for a comfy Snow White Disney bounding outfit.
Learn to Use Ruffles
All little princesses will flip over a cascade of ruffles in the back of their princess dress! Whether you put them in the back (or front peeking out of another skirt) or just do rows of ruffles, make sure to think about the different ways you can use ruffles in your princess dresses.
For example Fancy Nancy has a bunch of rows of ruffles all around the dress but ruffles don’t have to be reserved for skirts. Like in the Cinderella’s step sisters dresses you can add ruffles to the bodice and sleeves for more fun details!
Add a Peplum to any Princess Dress
You know Cinderella’s classic dress with those hip boofs? I loooooooooved those and growing up that was THE epitome of a princess dress! But guess what, it’s super easy to add a peplum or bustle or whatever you call it to any princess dress. It’s actually really easy with this princess bustle tutorial.
Build In Room for Growth
You may have noticed by now that I often elasticize the back of my princess dresses. I started doing this for the littles because I wanted them to get the very most wear out of possible with their growing bodies. But at some point I started doing this for myself. Between weight fluctuation and pregnancy I realized that having that little give built in was actually super comfortable.
While you don’t have to do this, if you’re taking the time to make a handmade fancy dress you may want to get the most wear out of it as possible. This simple tutorial will help you add stretch even when you’re not using stretchy fabric!
More Classic Princess Dress Inspiration and Tutorials
- A bunch of Princess Dress inspiration and a little commiseration if you run into any bumps while making your own!
- It’s fun to interpret our favorite Disney princesses. Here’s a fun Tiana dress, She-rah princess of power, and if you’re not a dress kind of princess there is always Princess Jasmine.
- Some times it’s fun to make up new princesses. Check out this cute Water Princess dress.
I hope you learn to love making princess dresses as much as I do! And if you do I’d love to see them. Please share!