This is one of my favourites. For a couple of reasons. First - I designed the fabric myself. Second - I had an idea of how I wanted it to look, but no pattern to match, so I made it up as I went along.
I made the fabric at Spoonflower. It's a border print. You can see/buy it here. I wanted a plain bodice, and stripes that increased in distance down the skirt of the dress. I had my design printed on their limited edition cotton poplin, and it looked like this (well - a straight, full width of the fabric version of this!):
I used an old, lined bodice pattern I knew fitted my daughter. It had a zip in the back, but you could use one that buttons up either at the back, or like a pinafore at the shoulders.
I cut the bodice from the top section of the fabric. Then I measured up 1.5 inches from the first white line - and cut the full width of the fabric off. This was going to be my skirt piece. There is only one seam at the centre back of the skirt piece.
I made a couple of ties about an inch wide from a 2.5 inch strip of the leftover fabric. I simply sewed a tube and turned through. Very simple. I sewed the ties into the bodice seam as I was making the bodice up.
To attach the skirt to the bodice I decided to use shallow pleats. You could gather it by hand, or use a ruffler foot - use whatever your favourite method of reducing the full skirt width to match the bodice width is. I liked the idea of little pleats rather than gathers - so went with that.
I sewed a deep hem as the full length of the skirt piece was a little long for my four year old. I sewed along the bottom white stripe with white thread so you can hardly see the stitching.
Size wise - there was ample fabric for the bodice in the yard - I could have made it for a much bigger girl. There is about 17 inches of plain fabric at the top - so any bodice that would fit that. The fullness of the skirt is determined by the width of fabric. You could use two yards to make a really full skirt. You get about 19 inches in length of the skirt piece.
Here is the finished dress front
...and the back with the ties...
I nearly put patch pockets on the dress, but decided I could always add them later. It probably didn't need them. I did make a couple of ribbons for her hair though.
I think this is my favourite sewing project for her yet :)