Malibu Cross-Back Dress
(Quick links: Etsy / Craftsy)

It all started out with Sophie asking me to make her a simple dress for her end-of-year orchestra concert. This girl never asks me for this sort of stuff, so I had to jump on it. She had some pretty specific requests: it had to be a knit dress (because they are more comfy), sleeveless (because Summer is coming) and not too dressy (because she's just not the frilly type).  Our Hailey pattern was perfect for this, but she quickly reminded me that she wore that dress at last year's concert (ooops!). So, I set forth to design something new and exciting for her. I'd had this idea in my head for a cross-back dress for a while. The problem is that I had less than a day to complete this... oh, yes, did I forget to mention that? So, there was little to no time for error.

I made a quick & dirty prototype and that was what she ended up wearing to the concert. It wasn't perfect by any means... the back opening was too low for her comfort level, so she ended up wearing it with a sweater, and the high-low skirt curve wasn't very noticeable (it looked more like a straight mini skirt), so I knew I needed to go back to the drawing board and re-draft a couple of things. Oh, and did I mention that I had to make one for little sister Sydney too? Yup.

After I shared these pictures on social media, the comments started pouring in... Will this be a pattern? Please make a pattern for this dress! I want one in my size! and so on and so forth.

I went back to the drawing board... re-drafted the back bodice completely, made the high-low skirt curve more dramatic, added 2 more skirt lengths/styles, sewed up a couple more prototypes and, after I felt the shape and fit were perfect, I graded the final pattern from sizes 2T to 12.

Here is the final outcome:

The Malibu Cross-Back Dress pattern comes with three different skirt lengths/styles (click photo to enlarge):

It can be sewn with knits (which was my original intent) or with wovens! I was determined to make this pattern work for all types of fabrics. Check it out below, sewn in my Just My Type quilting cotton fabrics:

After pattern instructions and diagrams were complete, it was off to the testers, and boy did they have fun with this pattern! Here are a few of their pictures... I am in love!

Two of my testers loved it so much that they made multiple dresses! WOW! Every tester reported that they sewed this pattern in just about an hour and everyone was surprised at how easy and quickly it went together and how little fabric it uses for such a WOW effect. It's always a good day at MODKID when we get such positive feedback from our testers! :)

Of course, rigorous pattern testing always brings new challenges. We quickly found out that the maxi skirts sewn in wovens needed to be cut wider so that the girls didn't have to shorten their strides when walking. Done. We also discovered that the dress could be bound with fold-over elastic, double-fold bias tape or home-made binding, and that each method yielded a different look. We seriously could not be more thankful to our awesome pattern testers, who are always so helpful!

Check out tester Courtney Davis' pattern review here.

The MALIBU Cross-Back Dress can be purchased on Etsy or Craftsy.

To see the full inspiration gallery, click here.


  1. This is definitely being added to my must have list of patterns!

  2. Alreary bought the pattern (impulse buy) right after I saw you post the link on FB yesterday. But now that I know the back story, I love it even more! Thanks for sharing. My girls will get plenty of these dresses this Summer.

    1. Thank you, Annie! Enjoy your new pattern. My girls are sure getting lots of use out of this one. Sydney has 3 of them already!

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  4. Love this! Would love a grown-up version too!!

    1. We've had a few requests for a women's sized Malibu. It might be coming your way in the near future. ;)

  5. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Is this only available as a PDF or is it also a paper pattern?

    1. This one is only available as a PDF pattern. Thanks.


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