Simple Ways to Make a Child's Cupcake Dress for a Pageant

Written by melissa carpenter
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Simple Ways to Make a Child's Cupcake Dress for a Pageant
Cupcake dresses are traditional pageant wear for young contestants. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

In the pageant world, more is more when it comes to details. Formal wear is one of the most important parts of a pageant and children's competitions are no different. Young contestants are known for donning fluffy cupcake dresses, or ornate, layered and ruffled dresses that are bejewelled and bedazzled as much as the dress space allows. Make cupcake pageant dresses at home by using old dresses or costumes as a base and adding layers of details with sewing and craft supplies.

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The bodice provides structure to the dress and can be made from form-fitting clothes already in your daughter's closet. Cut holiday and occasion dresses shorter and use them as the base for cupcake dresses. Stretch leotards from gymnastics or dance costumes can also be used as the bodice for pageant dresses, adding trims to extend the tank sleeves and layering skirt tiers over the bodysuit.

Ruffle Tiers

The ruffled tiers that make up the fluffy bottom of a pageant cupcake dress are layers of cinched fabric. Usually made from lightweight, sheer silk blends like organza and chiffon, the skirt layers are created by cutting strips of the fabric at slightly varying lengths to create a tiered effect. Add wired trim to the bottom of each chiffon tier, allowing the layers to stick straight out from where they are attached to the bodice.


Pageant dresses are notorious for having layer upon layer of ornate detail. The easiest ways to add glitz to each section of a cupcake pageant dress is with trims. Thin satin trims are perfect for covering the wired bottom of the cupcake tiers, while rhinestoned and beaded trims are used to create elegant patterns and designs throughout the bodice.


What sets pageant dresses apart from any other party dress is the detailing. Final touches on a child's cupcake dress should include additional rhinestones, beads, sequins or lace appliques and bows. Appliques and multi-looped bows are great for adorning bodice sleeves and loose rhinestones, beads and pearls can be adhered to the cupcake tiers and any empty bodice areas.

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