photos by rad and happy
Last year I ran across a bow print dress like this one and instantly fell in love with it. It was sleeveless and more of a swing shape, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about the print and have kept it in the back of my mind for almost a year so I could make it for Valentine’s Day. So I did my own take on it and made it bodycon (which is obviously more flattering on my huge baby bump) and added some flutter sleeves.One of the things I’ve been itching to do more of this year is make my own textiles, so this was a perfect opportunity to try it out. I used a pink rubber eraser and an x-acto knife to carve the bow stamp, and then silkscreen ink to stamp it. So easy, and I love how it turned out.

If you’re not a seamstress, you could still make this by purchasing a white dress (like this one or this one) and stamping it. A quick and easy refashion alternative!

Click READ MORE below to find the full tutorial!

Materials Needed:
 1 1/2 – 2 yards white knit fabric (depending on your size and how long you want the dress) — mine is a thick ponte knit, and I recommend going with something thick and durable if you’re making your dress bodycon style. Thin knits work better for a drapey style dresses.
matching thread
rubber eraser (like these ones)
speedball screen printing ink (I bought fluorescent hot pink and mixed it with a tiny bit of black to tone it down since it was pretty neon)
sponge brush
Step 1. First create your stamp. Use a rubber eraser or stamp carving block and draw your bow shape on it with a pencil. Then carefully carve it with your x-acto knife or stamp carver.
Step 2. Pour your paint on to a plastic plate and use a sponge brush to apply a nice even layer to the stamp. Press down on the fabric, then repeat until all your bows are stamped on. Let it dry completely. Once it’s dry, the ink needs to be heat set. These instructions here are super helpful.
Step 3. Create a pattern using an existing bodycon dress you own, or a fitted t-shirt and adding length. If you don’t know how to make your own pattern, use this tutorial here. Use pattern paper and cut out all your pieces. You’ll need a DRESS FRONT and BACK, (can be the same pattern piece — just make sure to cut the neckline on the front piece lower), 2 NECKLINE LINING pieces (front and back), and a SLEEVE.
For your sleeve, the pattern is a little funky. I played around with different shapes until I came up with a sleeve I liked, and I’ve drawn the shape and provided dimensions.
Step 4.  Once all your patterns are cut out, lay them flat on your fabric and cut out your fabric.
Step 5. Add bust darts to the FRONT DRESS piece. If you don’t know how to do these, use this tutorial here.
Step 6. Take the DRESS FRONT and BACK pieces, and with right sides together, sew the shoulders together with a straight stitch.
Step 7. Take your NECKLINE LINING pieces and cut them 1/2″ shorter on each end. Then sew the NECKLINE LINING pieces together into a circle. Then with right sides together, match up the side seams of the LINING with the shoulder seams of your DRESS and sew around the neckline with a straight stitch. Since your NECKLINE LINING will be slightly smaller than your dress neckline, pin it so it fits evenly around the dress neckline. Stretch as you sew so the two pieces lay flat together. This will prevent a wavy, droopy neckline.
Step 8. Once the NECKLINE LINING is sewn on, tuck it inside the dress and press in place with an iron. Use a double needle to allow for stretch when pulling over your head, and do a nice wide stitch (3.5-4.0).
Step 9. Now it’s time for the SLEEVES. To make things easier, hem your sleeves before inserting them. Then with right sides together, pin the sleeve to the dress, starting at the shoulder seam and pinning evenly down the dress on either side.
Step 10. Now sew all the way around the sleeve opening and down the dress to attach it. Repeat for the second sleeve.
Step 11. Once both sleeves are attached, lay the dress with right sides together and pin from the armpit to the hem. Then sew with a straight stitch.
Step 12. Hem your dress to your desired length. Make sure you use a double needle here as well so you have some stretch as you walk!
Just over two weeks til Valentine’s Day, so hurry up and make yourself one!