A few weeks ago I was feeling in a total sewing slump. I felt like I wasn’t pushing myself creatively and was just making the same things over and over. I was bored.

So I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone with sewing and make something different.

I’ve made a lot of dresses in my sewing career, but I’ve been wanting to make a dressy dress that I can dress up with heels, or easily wear with sneakers. So I designed this little silky ruffle hem dress, and then tried my hand at a new kind of neckline.

There are a few mistakes, but overall I love love how it turned out. And next week I’ll be showing you how to dress it down with some of my favorite casual accessories!

ALSO, if you’ve been wanting to learn how to sew, my Modern Girl’s Guide to Sewing is on sale this week for 30% off! This is the biggest discount we’ve ever done and it ends on Sunday.
So if you’ve been looking to buy it, hurry and snag one before the sale ends on Sunday night! You can find it right here.
and then click READ MORE below to find the full tutorial or click here!

Materials Needed:
1 1/2 yards of 60″ fabric — I purchased mine as a scrap in LA at Michael Levine Loft.
Matching thread
Trim/thin rope for neckline ties
Step 1 // First let’s cut out all our pieces. You’ll need a BACK, FRONT, 2 SLEEVES and 4 NECKLINE lining pieces (you can see the back is one piece and the front is three 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. Do the same for the FRONT piece, making the neckline lower on this one, and then cutting a second scoop at the center of the neckline. Cut 2 SLEEVES, then use your FRONT and BACK pieces as guide to cut the correct widths of NECKLINE pieces. You’ll also need two RUFFLE pieces. The width should be 1 1/2 times the length of your DRESS FRONT and BACK along the hem. The length can be as tall as you’d like. Mine was 8″.
If you need help creating your own pattern, use this video!
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 along the dress FRONT and BACK pieces.
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 // Take your RUFFLE pieces and with right sides together, sew them up on the short sides.
Step 7 //  Now that your RUFFLE is one big loop, sew around the top with a basting stitch, leaving the strings long at the beginning and end. Pull the strings to gather the fabric and create the ruffle. Gather the ruffle until the width is the same as the bottom of the skirt.
Step 8 //  With right sides together, pin the ruffle to the bottom of the dress and sew around it with a straight stitch.
Step 9 //  Your dress should now look like this.
Step 10 // Take the bottom part of the FRONT NECKLINE and, with right sides together, match it up with the lower scoop of the neckline. Attach it with a straight stitch, then tuck the lining inside and press flat with your iron.
Step 11 //  Now take your remaining two FRONT LINING pieces and attach to your BACK LINING piece at the shoulder seams to make a “C” shape. Pin it to the neckline with right sides together and then attach with a straight stitch. Then flip the lining inside the dress and press flat with your iron.
Step 12 // fold in the raw ends of the neckline (where they meet the lower scoop in front), and stitch around the entire neckline with a straight wide stitch, securing the lining in place. Before you get to the lower scoop, tuck your trim/rope/tassels inside the lining and sew over them, securing them in place.*
Hem your sleeves and the bottom of your dress to your desired length, and you’re done!
*You might notice from my pictures above that I didn’t use trim or rope — I created my own strings with my fabric. It was not the best technique, so I’d recommend using trim and the technique I explained above.
photos by rad and happy


  1. This dress is super adorable on you, I love the ruffle hem!

    Kristina does the Internets

  2. Natali says:

    This dress is incredible!! Love the ruffles and I love the pattern. Thanks for sharing this DIY, I might try to make my own sometime.

  3. Sara Rodriguez says:

    This dress is amazing! What kind of fabric/thread did you use?

  4. Oh how I love this! The dress looks absolutely fab and you look gorgeous wearing it. The colors are beautiful too and will translate perfectly into the Fall season. Although the ruffles take away most attention, I also really adore the special neck line! 🙂 xo

  5. Caitlin says:

    I love this dress! It looks wonderful!
    Thank you for sharing the plans for it!

  6. Deb says:

    Hi, the tutorial doesn’t match the dress, I can see that you have a separate bodice piece on your dress, why didn’t you show how to make that, it looks lovely?

    • Merrick says:

      Oh, I guess that’s what I get for writing my tutorials days after I make my dress. I completely forgot to include that! So sorry. It’s really simple — just cut the DRESS FRONT at the bust, do a basting stitch across the top of the bottom section, gather it to your desired width, then sew them back together. Hope that makes sense — I’ll try to go in and update the instructions soon! xx

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