How to Make the Perfect Summer Fit and Flare Dress

Photography by Rad and Happy

Merrick's Art | Chambray DIY Dress

Outfit Details:

Chambray Dress Made By Me (Similar Dress Here), Similar Olive Jacket, Studded Sandals, Blush Satchel Bag

Fit and flare style dresses are my very favorite style of dress. They’re so flattering because they nip in your waist, and are easy to move and live in if you make them in a comfortable fabric.

I made this denim one a few years ago and shared the tutorial, but I’m bringing it back again today since it’s one of my favorites and is perfect for spring and summer. I tossed a jacket over the top for an extra layer but during the summer it’s a great stand alone dress.

Merrick's Art Denim Dress
Merrick's Art | Fit and Flare Dress
Merrick's Art Ann Klein Blush Bag
Merrick's Art | DIY Fit and Flare Chambray Dress
Merrick's Art Denim Dress

Here’s how to make it. And if you’re new to sewing and want to learn more, check out my online video sewing course! It’s only $60 right here.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 yards lightweight denim or chambray fabric (I bought mine in LA at the fabric district, but this one is very similar)
Matching thread
20-22″ invisible zipper

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!

5 Comments

  1. Jennifer Ralph-Sawyer says:

    There aren’t many dresses I love but right when i saw this I said “I’m buying that” then see you made it!! It is adorable!

  2. Meghan Schwanke says:

    I’m new to your blog. I want to sew the fit and flare dress…. but is there a pattern or do I draw the bodice pieces myself?! Thank you

  3. Diane Marks says:

    Is there any other fabric you suggest using -aside from denim- to make this dress?

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