Now that my bump has officially popped (I felt like I was in that awkward in-between stage foreeeeevvverrr), I’ve started gravitating toward more fitted clothing instead of oversized pieces.
This side ruched bodycon dress is perfect for maternity, but you can also skip the ruching and just make a killer bodycon dress if you’re not pregnant.
Janome sent me one of their brand new Skyline S7 machines to try out and I’m obsessed. I worked on a half broken dinosaur machine for years, so being able to sew on a nice, new machine is basically like driving a Maserati when you’re used to an Oldsmobile. I think the fancy computerized machines can intimidate some people, but all of Janome’s machines are very user friendly and this one is no exception. Even though it has 240 different stitch options, I used mostly just a basic straight stitch for this project; but even on the most basic stitches you can tell a difference because the machine is so precise and balanced so your stitches are perfect every time. It makes sewing necklines, zippers, sleeves, and everything else a total breeze. Janome has so many great sewing machines and I highly recommend any of their machines if you’re thinking of asking Santa for one this year!
Click the READ MORE button below to find the full tutorial!

Materials needed:
– 1 yard (60 inches wide) knit fabric (I recommend a ponte knit or other thick and sturdy stretchy fabric. Thin knits are not ideal for this kind of project)
– matching thread
– 1/8″ wide elastic
Merrick's Art | DIY Ruched Bodycon Dress

First, cut your pieces. Use an existing t-shirt or fitted dress as a pattern. This video shows you how to make patterns from your own clothing.

You’ll need a DRESS FRONT and DRESS BACK piece (you can cut these together, as shown in the illustration), a NECKLINE FRONT and BACK and two SLEEVE pieces. [note: since we’ll be ruching the front dress piece, you’ll lose a few inches of length on that piece. So make sure to cut the dress pieces about 3-4 inches longer than you want)

Step 1. With right sides of the fabric together, sew the DRESS FRONT and DRESS BACK together at the shoulders.

Step 2. Next, determine the placement of your ruching on the sides of your dress, and then add the elastic. This video shows exactly how to ruche. I put ruching on just the front dress piece, so the length was now about three inches shorter than the back dress piece. We’ll take care of that down in step 8, so just leave it for now.

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. Check out this video for full sleeve instructions.
Step 5.  With right sides together, sew from the ends of the sleeves, up and around the armpit, and down the sides of the dress, as shown. Sew carefully over the ruching. Make sure the elastic for the ruching is on the seam allowance and not visible once the dress is turned right side out.
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.
Step 7. 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. This video goes completely through necklines if you need help!
Step 8. Topstitch around the neckline to keep the lining in place, then hem the sleeves and bottom of your dress to your desired length. And you’re done!
photos by tell love and party  ||  created in partnership with Janome


  1. Desi says:

    This dress is so pretty! I love the pattern and the fit, it looks lovely on you.

  2. Natali says:

    Fantastic DIY/ tutorial as always! I love the print and the fabric!

  3. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    I love this dress on you! It looks so pretty and the colors in the fabric you chose are gorgeous!


  4. Kerry Mannix says:

    Great tutorial, I love this dress. Where did you find the fabric?

  5. Kimberly Hutchings Hibler says:

    Knits are always intimidating to me! This looks great. Do you use a special knit stitch or do you find the straight stitch works well with the stretch of the fabric? I feel like every time I use it, the threads break too easy.

  6. Gorgeous print! You look amazing!!! Just lovely colors!

  7. Mindy says:

    Great job! How long do we cut the elastic?

  8. What an awesome tutorial, the fabric you picked is totally amazing!

    xx, Ashleigh |

  9. Melissa Moad says:

    I’m new… and I can’t sew worth a lick but have ALWAYS wanted to learn. I plan on taking your class, but I don’t own a sewing machine. Where does a newbie start when it comes to buying a machine?

  10. Alex Colorado says:

    Do you think it would still work as well and look as good to use elastic thread in your bobbin for the ruching instead of strips of elastic? Or would it be more of a pain rethreading the elastic in and out of the bobbin for such a short space?

    • Merrick says:

      I’ve never used elastic thread so I don’t know, but it does seem like more of a hassle. This elastic method I show is super easy, so I’d recommend sticking with that.

  11. Sarah says:

    I was just wondering if the ruching is required or can you do the dress without the ruching?

  12. Mama Rachael says:

    This is good stuff, thanks. Just a note, the video on ruching requires an account and subscription (and money). I think I found some videos on youtube, though, so I should be good. Thanks!

  13. שלומית יהודה מנדל says:

    hi. thanks for the great tutorial!!! to i need to add width on the area of the runching? my pattern are a regular A dress.

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