The Perfect DIY Olive Dress

Photography by Rad and Happy

merricks art swing dress
Merrick's Art DIY Swing Dress
Merrick's Art DIY Swing Dress

Olive is one of my favorite neutral colors. I love wearing it year round, but I especially love wearing it in the fall. It’s such a perfect complimentary color to every other fall color — burgundy, burnt orange, red, navy…so many pairing possibilities.

I’ve made a few swing dresses throughout the years, including my first chartreuse one here, and it’s such a great basic dress that is easy to dress up or down, works by itself or layered, and is flattering to pretty much every body type.

Most swing dresses I find in stores are too short for me, so I love having an easy pattern that I can whip up and make as long as I need.

Scroll down to find the pattern for this one!

 

Materials Needed:

2 yards knit fabric
matching thread

Merrick's Art | DIY Olive Swing Dress
Step 1 // First let’s cut out all our pieces. You’ll need a BACK, FRONT, 2 SLEEVES and 2 NECKLINE lining pieces. Use a tank top or tank dress that you own, fold it in half, and then lay it flat on your fabric with the fold of the fabric matching up with the fold of your tank. Cut around it (adding a 1/2″ seam allowance), and then adding your desired length and a flared width (mine was 20″ across at the armpits, and 42″ at the hem for both FRONT and BACK pieces). Do the same for the FRONT piece, making the neckline lower on this one. Use a fitted 3/4 sleeve from a shirt that you own and use it as a guide to cut out the 2 SLEEVES, then use your FRONT and BACK pieces as guide to cut the correct widths of NECKLINE pieces.
[tip: I always use pattern fabric (found by the interfacing at the fabric store) to cut out real pattern pieces (using my own clothing to create these pattern pieces), and then pin the pattern pieces onto the fabric and then cut. It eliminates a lot of error, and also allows me to fold the pattern pieces in half and make sure they are symmetrical or straight before I cut into my fabric!]
 
Step 2 // With right sides together, pin the FRONT and BACK pieces together at the shoulders and sew together.
Step 3 // With right sides together, pin the top of the SLEEVE and the top of the shoulder together, as shown. Continue down the rest of the arm hole, pinning the sleeve in place.
Step 4 // Sew the sleeve to the arm hole with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other sleeve.
Step 5 // With right sides together, sew from the elbow to the knee with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Make sure your seams match up at the armpit!
 
Step 6 // With right sides together, sew your NECKLINE pieces together to make a circle. Make sure this circle is slightly smaller than your dress neckline so it has to be stretched to fit around — trim if necessary before sewing the two NECKLINE pieces together.
Then, with right sides together, pin the NECKLINE circle the neckline of the dress, matching them up the shoulder seams and then stretching evenly so it fits around the neckline. Sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance around the entire neckline, stretching slightly as you sew so the pieces lay flat. Trim the seam allowance and then tuck the lining inside the dress and press flat.
Step 7 // Using a wide stitch, top stitch around the neckline to tack the lining in place. Then hem the sleeves and the dress to your desired length. [tip: for a more professional look, blind hem stitch the bottom hem of the dress. I have a video here that shows how to do it.]
Merrick's Art DIY Swing Dress
Merrick's Art DIY Swing Dress

Shop this Post

  • Carmen

    Hello Merrick, I tried to see the video but says it’s not available for Italy.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Carmen from Italy
    http://www.thehoneythread.com

    • which video are you trying to see? The hemming video? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

  • Amy

    Hi Merrick! I am wondering what software do you use for making the pattern/tutorial image? Thanks a lot!

    • Photoshop and a wacom tablet 🙂

  • Laura

    This is great!! I really am going to try this because I cannot find a yellow dress!
    Thank you!

  • Dorothy

    Lovely dress. What kind of knit fabric did you use and where did you buy it from?

    • merrickwhite

      It’s from Jo-Ann’s and it’s just a lightweight cotton knit 🙂

      • dorothy

        Thanks so much!

  • Elizabeth Chew

    I love your necklace! Where is it from?

  • Angie McGuire

    I just made a dress using this tutorial last night! It turned out so well! It was my first time making a clothing item, so I am pretty pleased with how it turned out! Thanks so much for posting, I look forward to more easy sewing tutorials for beginners!