Grow with me nightgown, in under an hour from cut to finish?! Yes please!  This little pattern hack using our Matilda pattern for the base creates the quickest nightgown that really works for years since the elastic neckline gives it so much ease!

I don’t know about you, but it’s the time of the year when I am creating lots of pajama sets for my kids, and nieces and nephews too!  So I’m here to share with you how to create this quick nightgown option- any length you’d like with an optional ruffle as well!

So first off, you will want to print off the Matilda bodice piece and the Matilda flutter sleeve piece.  Optionally, you could use one of the other sleeve pattern pieces as well if you prefer a longer sleeve.  My kids all seem to be hot sleepers and they do not like long sleeves, so we do flutter sleeves year-round for sleeping. So lets get started!

  1. Measure your child from their arm pit down to how long you would like your gown to be. I will be showing two options – a floor length without ruffle (gray plaid) and a knee length with ruffle (pink and cream stripe). My daughter measures 39” from her armpit to the top of her foot, and 26” from her armpit to a little above her knee. To each of these measurements you will want to add 1” to give you length for your hem.  From here on out we will refer to this measurement as our STRAIGHT SKIRT MEASUREMENT – 40” for maxi length and 27” for knee length in my case.


{Now, you’ll need to decide if you want to create the super quick version without the ruffle, or the slightly more time consuming option of adding the ruffle (adding the ruffle took an extra 45 minutes for me, and of course is more fabric as well- but how darling is it?)  If you are creating the super quick straight version, you can continue on to step 2.  If you are wanting to add the ruffle then from your SKIRT MEASUREMENT that we just determined you will want to subtract from that length how long you want your ruffle piece will be.  For a vintage or knee length gown, we suggest using a 4”-5” long ruffle, or for a maxi length gown we suggest going with 5.5-7” for the length of the ruffle so that it keeps with the overall proportion of the gown. Since I am going for a shorter option for my ruffled version I will take my knee length SKIRT MEASUREMENT of 27” and subtract the 5” for my ruffle, giving me a knew length of 22” for my RUFFLE SKIRT MEASUREMENT.}


  1. Now we will take that STRAIGHT SKIRT or RUFFLE SKIRT measurement we just determined to cut out our front and back pieces. You can see here I am following cut instructions for the Matilda with the fabric folded over and my pattern piece aligned with the fold. From the bottom of the arm cycle of that bodice I will measure down the 40” for my STRAIGHT SKIRT version or 22” for my RUFFLE SKIRT version. I am using the full width of my fabric at the bottom for my maxi length gown, so I have as much fabric as possible for width to give lots of ease in wearing. For my knee length gown, I am using a width of 26.5” for each piece, however you can make this wider if you would prefer a more gathered and flowy gown, but just keep in mind that it could cause more bulk, especially if you are using a cotton. In the picture below you can see I placed a clip at the bottom to show the final width of the bottom of the gown so I could create my line from arm cycle down to bottom of the gown.


  1. And now we can cut out our front and back pieces following the line from the arm cycle down to the edge of the fabric. Then cut straight over back to the fold (if you weren’t aligned at the bottom of your fabric edge already).

From here, if you are creating the straight gown without ruffle, you can follow all of the instructions in the Matilda pattern the same, using your new front and back bodice pieces as the full gown.


If you are creating the ruffle bottom version, you will follow the steps in the Matilda pattern as well, up until the part to hem the bottom.  At this point, you will need to figure out our ruffle measurement. 

  1. When you determined your skirt length back in step 1 you had decided on how long to make your ruffle (5” in my case). So now to figure out the width, you will simply measure the bottom of your dress front and multiply that by 2. So I have 26.5” for my bottom length, which means I need to cut my width for each ruffle piece at 53”. My 2 separate rectangles to create my ruffles will be 5”x53”.  If your fabric is directional and you don’t have enough width to cut your panels in 2, you can divide your width by 4 instead and create 4 rectangles for your ruffle pieces.

  1. Now we will sew our 2 ruffle pieces together at the short ends to form a large circle. Once you have them joined you will trim off ½ of the seam allowance at those short, joined edges and zig zag stitch or finish with a serger. Then, from the bottom edge, you will fold up ¼” with the wrong sides touching and iron flat. Fold up another ¼” and iron flat. Sew the ironed hem right along the top of the folded hem. 

  1. Now we will sew 2 rows of gathering stitches along the top raw edge. The gathering stitches should be ¼” and 3/8” down from the top raw edge. Gather the ruffle to the width of the bottom raw edge of the gown. The gathers will be small. 

  1. Pin the ruffle to the gown with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. Sew the pinned seams.

  1. For a professional finish, trim off ½ of the seam allowance and zig zag stitch or finish with a serger. Iron the seam allowance up towards the top of the gown and top stitch to secure.

And now you can finish off the top of the gown per instructions from the Matilda pattern, and VOILA! A super comfy and totally darling nightgown that will fit for years to come!


Grab your Matilda patterns now for 50% off in our Pre-Black Friday Slumber Party Sale!





November 09, 2023 by Mary Stanley