DIY FRIDAY: THE PERFECT CHAMBRAY DRESS SEWING TUTORIAL

OUTFIT DETAILS: Dress: made by me (tutorial below, similar here and here) | target wedges | karen walker sunglasses | old jacket, similar here | letote necklace, c/o (similar here) | fringe bag 
photos by sara walk

A good chambray dress has been on my wishlist for ages. I wanted one that could be dressed up and dressed down, easily to layer, long enough that I can run and play while staying modest, and wasn’t see-through so I could wear it during the summer without any layers underneath. Was that too much to ask? Apparently, because I have been searching for a long time to no avail. But then this week I remembered a few yards of chambray I had picked up at the LA fabric district last year, and had nothing better to do one night at midnight than to whip it up into a dress. It turned out that starting a dress at midnight wasn’t the best idea, but I got a new favorite dress out of it so I’m saying it’s worth it.

I feel like fit and flare dresses are the most flattering on my body type, so I went for that style, but I might have enough fabric left over to make another shift style one since I do love that style too. Oh, and I’m definitely going to go back and add pockets to this dress, because then it really will be absolutely perfect. But the middle of the night didn’t seem like the best time to add them…

Also, working with chambray has got me itching to work with more chambray. I’ve been playing with AcuDesign’s new embroidery app and it is seriously the coolest thing. You can import embroidery designs you find online, use the ones they provide right on the app, or draw your own and import them. Then you can easily resize, change thread color, reposition parts of your embroidery, etc. It’s so cool, and embroidery is so trendy right now. Check out the app right here — pretty sure I need to get myself an embroidery machine now, because I have designs just begging to be added to a cute summer chambray top. 

Click through for the full tutorial!
Materials: 
1 1/2 yards of chambray
matching thread

1. First cut your pattern pieces. You’ll need a BODICE FRONT (cut on the folded edge), 2 BODICE BACK pieces, NECKLINE LINING (cut 2), 2 SLEEVES (cut along the folded edge), and 2 rectangular pieces for your SKIRT. The length will depend on your preference. Find the width by measuring your natural waist, dividing that number in half, and then multiplying it by 1.5. Each of your two SKIRT pieces should be this width, so the TOTAL circumference of your skirt once it’s sewn together is 1.5 times the circumference of your natural waist.


2. Sew darts into your BODICE FRONT piece. I added bust and center waist darts — you can do however many you need for the perfect bodice fit. 


3. Sew the BODICE FRONT and two BODICE BACK pieces together at the shoulder seams (with right sides together).


4. Now it’s time to attach the sleeves. Line up the top of the sleeve with the bodice shoulder seam (as shown) with right sides together. Pin in place.


5. Continue pinning the sleeve to the bodice, and then sew along the arm hole with a straight stitch. Repeat for the second sleeve.


6. With right sides together, sew the sides of the bodice up with a straight stitch.


7. Sew the two neckline pieces together to form an “O,” and then attach the NECKLINE LINING to the BODICE neckline with a straight stitch (there’s a more detailed illustration and instruction for this step over here). Then tuck the lining inside the neckline, press flat, and stitch around the neckline with a wide stitch to hold the lining underneath.


8. Take your two SKIRT pieces and sew them together at the side seams, then cut down the middle of the back skirt piece so it’s open like the back of the bodice (This is where your zipper will go).

9. Sew around the entire circumference of the skirt with a basting stitch and then gather it until it matches the width of the bodice. Make sure to spread your gathers evenly. 



10. Pin the skirt to the bodice with right sides together, as shown. Sew across the entire waistline, attaching the skirt to the bodice.


11. Insert your zipper following the instructions on the package, and then sew up the remaining opening of the dress. Finally, hem the bottom of the dress, and the sleeves to your desired length, press all your seams, and you’re done!

41 Comments

  1. Christina Storm says:

    That dress is SO pretty on you! I love the silouette!

    The Style Storm

    <3, Christina

  2. Jenn says:

    I love this dress. You can send me one any day. πŸ™‚

  3. Roxi says:

    I need to get back into sewing so I can make these cute dresses!

    Roxi – http://www.persianfrenchie.blogspot.com

  4. Natali says:

    Amazing DIY! This dress is such a great piece, so simple but can be easily dressed up and worn from day to night. πŸ™‚

    http://lartoffashion.com

  5. Megan Cherry says:

    I love a good fit and flare dress! This is definitely going on my “to make” list!

  6. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    Love this dress! I’m really going to have to go ahead and actually make one of your dresses on of these days! They always look amazing!

    Paige

    http://thehappyflammily.com

  7. Anna D Kart says:

    I love how you just make your own pretty dresses! I wish I had so much talent but so far I’m sticking with DIY pillow cases haha!

    Happy Medley Blog

  8. Blair says:

    Could you do a tutorial for adding darts? I can see you sewed up the front of this dress for a better fit, but I always seem to get that part crooked! Thanks! Loooove this dress!

  9. Monica says:

    SOOO perfect.

  10. Teri says:

    This seems a little more “empire” than fit and flare?

    • Merrick says:

      Empire dresses typically have the seam directly below the bust. Although this doesn’t flare out as much as a traditional fit and flare dress, it does flare out from the natural waist so that’s what I’m going with πŸ˜‰

  11. Merritt Garner says:

    where did you get the fabric for this dress?

    • Merrick says:

      Unfortunately I got it about a year ago at a little hole in the wall shop in the LA fabric district — absolutely no help to you. I’m so sorry!!

  12. Rebecca says:

    Have you done or could you do a tutorial on pattern drafting? I love your tutorials but I never know how to make a pattern:)

  13. Jessica says:

    Love the tutorial! I love chambray.

    Unique Geek

  14. Ashley says:

    I LOVE your blog! Thanks so much for all of your free tutorials. I haven’t been sewing for too long but I am going to try this tutorial!

  15. Danika Maia says:

    This is awesome! I’m hopeless at DIY stuff but I think I could actually do this!

    Danika Maia

    http://www.danikamaia.com

  16. Anne @ anneandadam.com says:

    I love this dress! Wish your tutorial had some links for beginners, though. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with making a bodice pattern.

  17. Prudence Yeo says:

    This chambray dress is simple but really pretty and versatile! I am not good with sewing and really admire your talent! Thanks for sharing!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  18. Laura says:

    I LOVE your tutorials! This dress is gorgeous! I recently made a Easter dress for my younger sister from an idea I got from one of your tutorials and it turned out super cute!

    lauraannsewing.wordpress.com

  19. Chloe Jean says:

    This dress is amazing! Do you have any suggestions on how to make or where to find a pattern that has a standard bodice, neck facing, and sleeve? It seems like the majority of your tutorials use these pieces and I wasn’t sure if you patterned them on your own or if you have a great source for premade patterns. Thank you so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to try to make it!

  20. Kristin Boldizat says:

    Thank you, thank you Thank you!! I can’t wait to make this!! Now I need to find some chambray…

  21. Kendra says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. This is a lovely dress. I think that I will make it into a maxi and wear it with a scarf and flats.

  22. Sophie Tiffany Vanderbilt says:

    This is such a lovely dress, thank you for posting! Looks like the perfect dress to showcase some cool jewelry and can be worn throughout the seasons. I always shy away from chambray for some reason, but this post has inspired me to try it out. Love your blog!

  23. Kelly Mason says:

    Thank you for posting all of your tutorials and outfits! I love that your dresses typically have sleeves and midi length or longer skirts – I’m a teacher and I’ve basically resigned to sewing all of my own clothes so I know they’re a) comfy and b) practical

  24. Create/Enjoy says:

    Love this!! I’ve made several denim dresses in the past year, but a heavy chambray would be great, too. I love neutrals and blues, great to do DIYs with them. The loose fit-and-flare looks so comfy and easy to wear!

  25. Maya says:

    Hi there, I love the look of this dress, and although I am a beginner, I think I could do this…maybe! I just wondered – does your zip go all the way from the bottom hem of the dress? (Ps – thanks for sharing so much!)

  26. Paige Williams says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I’m a beginner, but I think I’ve got this one!

  27. I am a beginning sewer and I used this tutorial as my first attempt at making something that’s not a rectangle! It went really smoothly–thanks so much for making this easy-to-use tutorial!

  28. Kaylee says:

    Hi! I was wondering if I need to trace a shirt or print out a pattern for the bodice? It’s a beautiful dress!

  29. Emily McGowan says:

    how do I know where to put the darts and how long to make them? I have a similar dress I could trace a pattern from but it’s a knit and doesn’t have any darts.

  30. SYLVIA QUINONES says:

    Hi: I Love this dress. Is for everybody and every age. So, !CONGRATULATION!.
    Do you have a youtube channel? And can you sew this dress in a tutorial? For very beginner like me.
    Thanks.

  31. anna says:

    lovely dress, i’m willing to make these asap, but i can’t find the pattern, i guess i
    m just blind, but is it somewhere in this post? πŸ˜€ thx

  32. Linda J says:

    Thanks for the very clear and simply explanation for this type of dress, actually it was the first dress I ever made and it worked! Here you can see my work: https://instagram.com/p/BZ5rHi4HkXU/

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