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 a big rectangular piece for the skirt (the measurements for the skirt are so individual since it depends on how big you want your pleats as well as your size. So measure and cut accordingly).
2. Sew darts into your BODICE FRONT piece.
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).
8. Tuck the LINING inside the dress, pin in place, and then sew around the entire neckline with a straight stitch to secure the lining in place. Then cut the back of the BODICE open with a nice straight cut.
9. Pleat your skirt to your desired width. My pleats were about 2 1/2 inches wide. Use a basting stitch to hold the pleats in place.
10. Take your pleated skirt (which should just be a big rectangle of fabric that is pleated) and pin it 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!
Great tutorial! I feel like I can really follow this! Do you think this would work as a maternity dress if I shorten the bodice and extend the skirt length?
Yes, of course!
I love that dress!! It looks amazing on you! Thanks for the tutorial- maybe I will get ambitious enough one day to try! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
The Style Storm
Simple and lovely outfit! Your dress is such a gorgeous piece!
So pretty! A perfect church dress. Too bad my sewing skills are lacking… non-existent! Make it for me? 😉 JK. I need to get on board with sewing!
This is so beautifully done. It’s something I have to try. My poor old sewing machine has been collection dust for years now!
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yay! I just bought some pretty red knit fabric and the dress I had imagined in my head that it would be made out of is almost exactly what you have just put up!! great minds think alike? lol
Oooh, it would look so good in red!
and the red isn’t just red…it has a texture to it…it has little hearts all over it!! cute but still subtle!
You’re so talented… I wish I had your skills! Love the dress! XO, Sarah
Love that clutch! Wish I could sew like you. So cute.
Your blog is seriously my one stop visit for the best outfit tutorials – amazing every time! 🙂 Xo, Alison
Oh, you are the nicest! Thank you!
Hi! I lovee this dress! I need one, like now. But a few questions — how long and wide did you make the bottom? And did you do the cut it to a width before or after you made the pleats?
Andd (sorry for driving you crazy), HOW DO YOU MAKE DARTS? That terrifies mee!
Honestly I have no idea how long and wide I made it — I should have written it down. But I always make my pleats before I cut it to width, so try that! And I’ll do a tutorial for darts soon, but I’m sure you can find one online somewhere if you google it 🙂
OK, this dress might actually make me get over my fears and try to sew a dress. I still have nightmares about my last attempt, but this is just too good.
Ha! Just get back on the horse and try again! You can do it 🙂
Love this dress so much! have you shared the pattern pieces somewhere?
No, I don’t share pattern pieces on my blog — just the tutorials. Sorry!
I am in love with this dress! <3 And your hair is lovely! Xx
Those are some mighty impressive pleats! Well done!
Wow!! Have not sewn a garment in awhile but this makes me want to get back to it! What an awesome dress! I have a whole bunch of brown-grey ponte that would be perfect! Ok, but…measurements??? Would you use an existing dress or tee for top measurements or would you measure yourself, divide by half, add seam allowances, etc.? Also – since it’s knit fabric, could you go without the zipper?
I use an existing dress or top, rather than measure myself. Lay your existing dress or top flat on pattern paper and trace around it to make each piece. Then cut those pieces out and use those as the patterns when cutting your fabric. And yes, you could go without the zipper, but you’d have to add elastic into the waistband so it stretches, and do a double seam on the neckline so it stretches. Hope that helps!
Absolutely! I appreciate it.
Oh my gosh, this is so cute! I feel like this is a dress that I would be able to make for myself…and since I live in fit & flare dresses, I am feeling very motivated to try this out for myself! Thank you for the instructions!!
Thanks, love it! I have a similar project but is also in the to-do list. Where do I get the pattern? Did I miss something?
Sorry — I don’t provide actual pattern pieces! I just use my clothing to create patterns. I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to do that pretty soon!
Can you make me one?!
Did you use a serger to make this dress? I have a maxi dress made of stretch jersey and I have been toying with the idea of cutting it up and trying this… But no serger!
I only used it on the seam allowances to make it more professional-looking. So you don’t need one for this project!
Ok so I’m in middle of attempting this, but I’m a little stuck – do you mind telling me the length of your bodice from neckline to seam of skirt? I’m scared that I’m gonna put the skirt too high or too low (and I hate unpicking stitches)!
Also, does the dress need darts because its knit, so it’ll stretch anyways?
The dress definitely needs darts, like I show in step two. And it’s 41 or 42″ long, but the skirt can really go at any height, just depending on your preference! Good luck!
This is a great idea, and I love your choice of fabric. This is totally something I would try to make. On a pattern drafting note, I can’t help noticing that your shoulder point (joint where the top of the arm meets the shoulder) seems to jut out into the top of your sleeve head. If you were to widen your bodice shoulder seam and set your sleeve in a bit lower down, I think you’d achieve an even more perfect fit. It’s only a minor suggestion, and I really like what you’ve made.
if their a link to the pattern?
This is gorgeous! So wish I could make this! Love it lovely dress! thanks for sharing!
I’m confused about step # 8. Why do you need to cut open center of back bodice when it is already two pieces? Am I missing something? Otherwise this looks great and I would definitely try it for my daughter.
Oops, good catch! That’s what I get for writing these at midnight! 😉 No need to cut since it’s already cut!
So does your zipper go right from the top to the bottom of the dress at the back, or from the top to the start of the skirt?
I cannot wait until I get my new sewing machine for Christmas so I can give this a go. I have a beautiful watermelon jersey knit that is dying to become this dress!
Neither — it goes about 6 inches below the waist. It has to go at least a few inches below the tightest part so you can actually get the dress on. Does that make sense?? Good luck — watermelon jersey knit sounds insanely gorgeous!!
Ah, yes, that does make sense! Thank you!
Will tag you once I make it 🙂
Really want to make this for daughters. If I use a tshirt and have them mark their waist on the tshirt then that can be the front and back, slicing back and adding seam allow….. do I still need the bust darts? I think so, just to make sure its a clean fit.
I’d recommend keeping the bust darts — that will help it fit smoothly over the bodice so it’s not too tight or bunchy. Hope that helps, and sorry for my late response!
Hi, im a little confused.. what are the measures? i know itss depending of my body but im worried that the cut i make will not be the same as the picture
I don’t have exact measurements for these pieces — I’m sorry! But I’d recommend using your own clothing as a pattern and trace around your clothing on a piece of paper. Then cut the paper and use that as your pattern when cutting your fabric. Hope that helps!
thank you!! and for the sleeves? how can i take the measurements from my cloth?
Try this tutorial: https://www.merricksart.com/2014/09/diy-friday-adding-sleeves-to-sleeveless.html
hi, thanks for your brilliant ideas & tutorials on your blog, always very tasteful & feminine ! I’ve been trying to do this dress but am really stuck on the jersey knit fabric, it keeps bunching up and I can’t seem to get the seams flat & nice. I’ve tried playing with the tension, stitch length & width, have a jersey needle, but nothing seems to help. any tips?
Shoot…those three things would be my first pieces of advice. The only other thing I can think of is that your fabric might be too thin…super thin knits often get bunched up when they’re sewn on. Have you tried a heavier weight knit??
Thx for your prompt response. Haven’t tried any other knit yet, will do & keep you posted 🙂
just to give you an update, finally got around to that piece of jersey – I think sewing in the evening, exhausted, with little light, didn’t help! Got around to it on a chilled out WE with a nice zigzag, my top looks brill and I’m now going to try out your dress. I even made a cushion with the leftovers, it’s so soft my girl loves it! Jersey can be dauting but just requires a bit of perseverance & patience. Thx a million for your help 🙂
Can you use a different kind of fabric besides jersey? Such as cotton?
Yes, you can use whatever you’d like! It doesn’t have to be stretchy since there’s the zipper in the back 🙂
could i do this with cotton? not stretchable just regular cotton?
Yes, you can — just make sure to add some ease in the sleeves since they’ll be a little tight if you don’t! Good luck!
I am currently working on a year long project where I am making a dress that is influenced by dutch culture and therefore their dutch fabric design.
I came across your flare dress tutorial 2014 and I really like the design and got inspired.
I am not a professional seamstress, I am only 15 but the point of this project is to learn to sew better.
I already have a fabric that I am interested in using to make your dress design, it is 100% cotton, and therefor not stretchy.
I was wondering if you could give me some tips about the making of the dress.
Hi Natasha! I’m not the creator of this post, but I’d be happy to offer insight into dresses that I’ve made similar to this with 100% cotton (no stretch). I’d suggest adding a zipper (not complicated; trust me!). Here is a child’s dress that I used as inspiration for many fit-and-flare dresses. There are good tips here about stitching, zipper, and necklines. Be sure to lower the bodice so you don’t have a baby doll style. http://shwinandshwin.com/2014/09/modern-baby-doll-top.html Happy sewing!
Hi, I really love this dress but am not a sewer. Is there anywhere I can purchase this dress? Or a dress like it? Thanks! (:
Here’s two that are super similar!
Hello! Love this dress! Where can I find the fabric you used?
The fabric was from a local shop in their remnants section. But any jersey knit with a cotton/spandex blend should work great!
How do I get the pattern?
I don’t provide printable patterns. Just instructions to make your own patterns.
Beyond excited to try this! What an amazing dress, as are they all on here. Every time I buy jersey it turns up and is really thin and flimsy though, this fabric looks much sturdier and holds its shape better than any jersey I’ve ever bought. What do I need to look for to make sure its suitable? Ps, if you ever sell pattern templates I’d buy them… All of them!! 😀
Honestly the feel of the fabric is what always sells me. Buying fabric online is so scary cause you don’t know the drape or the weight. I’d look for a slightly heavier weight fabric, and one with an amazing drape. Stay away from anything sheer, since that’s going to be too flimsy, and sty away from anything too thin because it’s really hard to work with and your machine usually hates it. Good luck!
Hey ! Love your website and your clothes !!! Completely my taste ! But i was wondering if you do videos for your tutorials ? Again i love everything lol !
You’re so sweet! I’m actually working on some right now! They should be up this summer!! xx
Hi just found this site. Where can I find the pattern of the dress? Links don’t seem to be working?
Hi this is so pretty and I would love to do it for my fabric project at school (I’m 16) I was wondering how do I cut the pattern pieces so they would be is my size? Like how big should they be?
So, I made this dress for my daughter (except I used a plaid not a jersey fabric). I loved how it turned out thank you.
Sorry if this is a clueless-newbie question, but is there a particular way we should come up with the bodice front and back and sleeve patterns? Or will anything sensible do, like borrowing from another pattern or tracing a shirt that fits and is similar in fabric type?
Yes, use another pattern or tracing a shirt you own. The latter is what I always do. Sorry I didn’t mention it in the tutorial!
Hi sorry to seem stupid but how do you know how to put in the bust darts when you make the pattern? Im utterly lost!
I just add an inch or two to the length of the bodice to account for it!
This is sooo great! I adore this general style of dress (I have like 3 in my closet already and never get sick of wearing them) and had been thinking about trying to draft one on my own, but this will be such a huge help! I used your swing dress tutorial to make a dress out of a lace tablecloth and it came out pretty awesome even though I messed some things up:
Hi! I was wondering how I could adjust it so that the dress is my size and my measuremants?
Hey, where can I find the pattern? I love this dress!
I don’t offer patterns — just the tutorial. But I have a video that teaches how to make patterns using your own clothing — try that! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgh7EHTnQPk
Hey Merrick, I love following your blog! A few months ago I used your turtorial to make my own version of this dress and I love how it turned out (except for the fact that I’m still working on learning how to properly fit things and I made the bust a bit tight and the waist a bit loose). Thanks for your creativity! I’m just starting to give blogging a try and love seeing the new things you post.
Do you have a tutorial on how to do step 2?
Where are the darts sewn in? I see them on the diagram, but not on the actual garment.
Do you have the PDF pattern for this?
Hi Carli! I don’t provide printable patterns for my clothing tutorials – just the instructions. I have this video showing how to create your own patterns here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgh7EHTnQPk
aRGH. I read this BLOG AND THEN CAN’T FIND THE PATTERN PIECES? i SEE THE INSTRUCTIONS, BUT WHERE CAN i FIND THE PATTERN PIECES.
Would it have to be Jersey Fabric? I’m not a fan of Jersey.
Hello I’m new at this, can you tell me how do I get the patterns to be my size for this Dress?
Hello I have a qu about your pleats, so if your plEats are about 2 1/2 how much is the measurements at the back Of your pleats when you folded theM?
Did you attach the folded eDge at the back of the pleats or not?