Pretty in Pink: The (Modified) Popover Sundress

This little sundress for N was the first garment I finished during the recent Summer 2014 Kids Clothes Week, and it was a huge hit!

Darling Oliver + S Popover Sundress modified for more fullness.  Sewn by Katie @

My first KCW make this summer. She wore it every day for the rest of the week.

This is a modified version of the Oliver + S free pattern, the Popover Sundress sewn up in Triflora Perfume voile from Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi line.  This light, floaty voile was absolutely perfect for this dress!

I had made N a Popover Sundress previously using some ballerina print quilting cotton that she loved.  That dress turned out well and she actually wears it quite a bit, but it needed some modifications.

Darling Oliver + S Popover Sundress modified for more fullness.  Sewn by Katie @

She loves her “very beautiful dress”

First and foremost, the ballerina dress showed me that as drafted, the Popover Sundress yoke runs a little big.  I sewed up a size 3T for my very average-sized 3-year-old, and the yoke is so wide that the straps are constantly slipping off her shoulders.  She and I both find that very annoying.

Luckily, that was an easy fix!  For this version, I narrowed the yoke piece by about 1-1.5 inches total, bringing each strap in 1/2 to 3/4″ on her shoulder.  That immediately fixed the slippage problem, and the whole dress just looks like it fits better.

Darling Oliver + S Popover Sundress modified for more fullness.  Sewn by Katie @

From the back.

I also made some modifications to the style of the dress.  As drafted, the Popover Sundress is a basic A-line dress that extends straight down from the yoke piece.  It’s a well-drafted pattern and a nice shape, but not N’s preferred shape.

N is a flouncy, frilly little girl who loves big flouffy skirts and tutus.  While she likes her ballerina dress, I knew she would prefer something with more volume.  So, when I cut the dress pieces, I moved each piece about 3″ out from the fold, adding approximately 6″ to both the front and back dress pieces.  Then I simply gathered those pieces to fit the yoke.  It worked perfectly!  Other than that, I made no modifications to the pattern (well, other than French seaming the side seams — it’s all pretty inside).

For added detail, I used some brown piping from my stash on the front yoke piece.  This pattern is perfect for adding a little something-something at the bottom of the yoke, and I really like how this differentiates between the front and back of the dress.  Technically either side could be the front, but my kids always like to know which is the front when they get dressed, so this (plus the tag I added), will give N some peace of mind.

Darling Oliver + S Popover Sundress modified for more fullness.  Sewn by Katie @

Front yoke with brown piping.

The Popover dress is a really quick sew, even with the added step of gathering.  I will definitely be making more!  I love the way this dress looks with the added volume from the gathers, so I fully plan to make that modification next time as well.  If anyone else plans to make this modification, I would advise using a lightweight or drapey fabric like voile, lawn or gauze for it.  The gathered just look so much nicer than they would in a heavier fabric like quilting cotton.  I know some of the new quilting cottons are lighter and drapier though, so those might work.

Darling Oliver + S Popover Sundress modified for more fullness.  Sewn by Katie @

Great for a girl on the go!

WIth this dress, I also started taking a new approach to fabric choices for N’s clothes.  In the recent past, I had let her choose out her fabrics, and she inevitably chose Disney princess or Tinkerbell or Dora fabric.  I grudgingly sewed them up, comforted at least in the knowledge that she would love the fabric.  But I found that after the initial, “OOOH, my princess dress is SO COOL!” reaction wore off, she doesn’t often reach for those dresses.  Instead, she reaches for the RTW dresses in her closet in more subdued patterns but the colors she likes.

So I think I’m going to move away from sewing for her in the fabrics that she says she wants, and instead make things in more grown-up fabrics and prints in the colors and styles that I know she is drawn to.  One of my frustrations in sewing for my kids is that the handmade items are often passed over for the RTW garments in their closets.  Fingers crossed that this approach will help address that!

Darling Oliver + S Popover Sundress modified for more fullness.  Sewn by Katie @

Popover sundress

Pattern:  Popover Sundress by Oliver + S

Size: 3T, modified

Fit: The 3T as drafted was much too wide for N, which meant the straps constantly slip off her shoulders.  For this dress, I narrowed the yoke by 1-1.5 inches, which resulted in a perfect fit.

Fabric:  Triflora Perfume voile from Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi line.

Modifications: Narrowed the yoke piece as described above.  Added about 6 inches of width to both the front and back dress pieces and gathered to fit the yoke.  French seams on the side seams, and added piping to the front yoke.

Pattern Format:  PDF, but it’s free, and there aren’t very many pieces.


  • Free!
  • Easy to modify to add additional details like piping, pompoms, rick rack, etc.
  • Nice way to feature a small amount of prized fabric in the yoke.
  • Quick sew.


  • I think the yoke piece runs big.  Before investing the time to sew a whole dress, or cutting into precious fabric, make sure to measure your child and fit the yoke piece.
  • I prefer a gathered dress with more volume for very small girls.  But this was easy to fix!

Overall Grade: A. Simple, classic and easily modifiable.  And free — can’t beat that!


5 thoughts on “Pretty in Pink: The (Modified) Popover Sundress

  1. lisa g

    very cute! i love the piping detail on the front, i’ll have to file that idea away! i pretty much have a rule that if i don’t like the fabric i won’t buy it. but i seldom take my kiddos to the fabric store anyways, so it’s not much of a problem. i do like the less kid specific fabrics, and usually my kids do too!

    1. Katie Post author

      Piping makes everything better! I made N a second one of these dresses in a pink gauze with sparkly silver stripes and she loves that one too. No more novelty fabrics for clothes!

  2. Kristie

    Thank you for posting a review. I made my girls those dresses for waster dresses. And they are so huge in the yoke. I do have tall skinny kids, so this modification will benefit them both! Thanks again!

    1. Katie Post author

      Glad it was helpful for you!

      N is also a skinny kid, but not unusually skinny so I imagine this pattern runs big on lots of kids. The gathering was also nice because I could narrow the yoke and not have to worry about whether the rest of the dress would fit over her hips. There’s plenty of room!

  3. Pingback: Oliver + S Popover Sundress | girl with a sewing machine

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