15-minute Cinderella Gown Sewing Tutorial (How to Be a Fairy Godmother)

Bring dreams to life with this super-simple easy-sew princess gown. Perfect for everyday dressup or Halloween.

15-minute princess gown tutorial - perfect for dress-up or Halloween costumes! Emma wanted a Cinderella costume, and was asking very nicely! I didn’t have a lot of time and also needed an outfit that would be comfortable for her. This faux crushed velvet knit cut on the bias fit my criteria, and both she and I were very happy with the result! I decided to write it up as a princess costume tutorial, since it is perfect for both Halloween and dress-up closets! Make a princess dress-up or Halloween costume in 15 minutes Criteria for this project to work:

  • Must use stretchy fabric. We used a faux crushed velvet knit.
  • Fabric, thread, and sewing machine must be acquired and in place before starting project.
  • Child must be capable of lying still on fabric. This technique works great for Emma, but I wouldn’t dare try it with Johnny or Lily.
  • Helpful, but not absolutely necessary: water soluble pen

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Step One: Lay the fabric out, folded right sides together with selvages meeting on the outer edge. Step Two: Have child lie down on fabric. The child’s arms should be as close to a ninety degree angle as is possible, given the width of the fabric, if you want to ensure freedom of movement. Our fabric was not very wide and I knew Emma would not mind limited range of motion in exchange for elegance, so this drawing illustrates the fairly narrow angle we worked with. Step Three: Trace outline of dress onto fabric by drawing around your child, allowing plenty of extra space for the sides of your child’s 3D body, as well as freedom of movement. Step Four: Cut out. illustration of child lying on fabric to make 15-minute dress Step Five: Double check that your dress is laid out right sides together. Pin and sew right sides together with a zigzag stitch, leaving openings for the head, hands, and the bottom of the skirt. Like this (dotted lines represent sewing lines): Print Because this is a knit, the edges won’t ravel, so you don’t have to hem or finish edges unless you want to. Adding such luxuries will increase the time required. Step Six: Turn the dress right side out, and put it on your delighted princess! Print This is not a technique I have used before, and it certainly has limitations over traditional patterns. But it’s hard to beat the instant gratification that can be provided through the near-instant production of dress-up clothes! 15 minute princess gown tutorial - so easy! Update: Three years later this dress is still seeing a lot of play in our dress-up bin – Lily wears it now! 

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

22 thoughts on “15-minute Cinderella Gown Sewing Tutorial (How to Be a Fairy Godmother)”

  1. This dress looks awesome! My husband is the one who sews in our family, and he used a very similar technique for Anna’s witch dress and for his own cape.

  2. Fabulous idea. I’m not making my kids’ costumes – I’m compiling them from bits and pieces found in various places. My girls are going as pirates and I was thrilled to find eye patch and hook kits at the Dollar Store, crazy tights from Target and pirate hats from Michael’s.

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Ooooh, la la!! So elegant!! Beautiful sewing job, fairy godmother. :) Your new technique worked incredibly well. (Love the drawings, too!)

  4. Fantastic! I have a huge Cinderella fan who would love this! I spent yesterday sewing Smurfette’s dress and hat. For a dress made without a pattern, it turned out pretty good. Fortunately we had extra fabric because it took a few tries to get the hat just right.

  5. Love it! The kids are dressing up for their fall carnival this weekend as well as our town’s annual fall fest downtown. Emma G wanted to be Susan from Narnia so I’m busy resizing a green dress someone gave me last year. So far it’s working great, even with my very less than perfect sewing skills. So glad no one will be looking on the inside!

  6. I met a sister missionary once who did something similar to get instant, inexpensive new clothing: she spread a top (3/4 sleeve length) and a skirt on the floor (on top of the fabric) mared around there, swewd it together nd – voila – she wore it with pizzazz (sp?) and style. :)

    Quinn wants to be Winnie the Witch and I suggested to Audrey that she be Winnie’s black cat, Wilbur – she loves the idea. :) So tomorrow I also plan to make the costume for Quinn and I think I might just use your technique.
    For Phinia and myself I might do a simplified version of a Martha Stweart idea (see website – family costumes) with the Mommy being the spider’s web (yarn made into a web on a contrasting skirt pref. balck/white) with the baby spider. For the spider’s legs I need black men’s socks (of which Robin has got plenty!), stuff them and saftey pin them, oh yes, tucking and pinning the ankles to get those bent spider legs.

    Or I might just end up – what would probably be best – simplifying my life and dressing us all up somehow with whatever we find within 1 hr. before we need the costumes! :)

  7. Sorry, one last comment :) Have you ever taken a look at the Winnie the Witch book series? Quinn got Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin (incl. CD) last year and the children love the story, the text, the CD and discovering the drawings! Just like the Sven Nordqvist books with Pettersson and Findus. They are finally being translated into English (Pettson and Findus)! Robin reads “Die Kinder aus Bullerbue” by Astrid Lindgren every night now as a bdetime story… in our (new) family bedroom. It is SO cozy!

  8. I LOVE this…our costume bucket is about to get a makeover! My princess already has her costume, but I will be making Harry’s dinosaur costume…I’ll link up when I finish! ;)

  9. How fun! No, we’re not making costumes. I’ve made rice bags with my kids. My mom is a good at sewing. She’s made doll clothes with my daughter. I’m sharing this on twitter today for my crafty followers.

  10. Varya @ Little Artists

    I love this! T is obsessed with princesses. So now I can sew a warm princess dress for her!!! Thank you for this tutorial!

  11. Pingback: More Than 20 Last-Minute Preschool Halloween Costumes

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