How to Make A Bell Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress

Merrick's Art Bell Sleeves

Outfit Details: 

Dress made by me (fabric here), Ann Klein Bag, Chinese Laundry Heels, Lisi Lerch Earrings c/o

A few weeks ago I attended a Mother’s Day brunch at Bottega Louie in Los Angeles. It’s a gorgeous restaurant right in the heart of downtown, and known for it’s amazing pastries — specifically macarons.

I always love having something new to wear to an event, and I had the idea to make this bell sleeve loose fit and flare dress. Of course I didn’t start it until about 10pm the night before (so typical for me) so I didn’t get much sleep, but it was the perfect brunching dress and I love how it turned out.

Merrick's Art Morning at Bottega
Merrick's Art Botegga Louie
Merrick's Art Macarons
Merrick's Art How to Make A Striped Bell Sleeve Dress
Merrick's Art Striped Bell Sleeve Dress
Merrick's Art Leanne and Merrick
Merrick's Art Striped Bell Sleeves
Bottega Louie Mother's Day Breakfast - Karina Pires Photography13
Merrick's Art Striped Blue Dress

There are so many good bell sleeve pieces right now — I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites below, and I’m sharing the tutorial for this dress at the bottom of the post!


Bell Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress Tutorial


3 yards fabric (I used this fabric, but it’s a little stiff so a knit like this might be better)
Matching thread

*Note: I do not provide printable patterns for my tutorials. Please use this video to create your own pattern. 

Bell Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress

First, cut your pieces. You’ll need a BODICE FRONT and BODICE BACK, 2 SLEEVES, 2 BELL SLEEVE pieces, and 2 NECKLINE LINING pieces. For your skirt piece, cut two rectangles using the following dimensions:

length = waist measurement x 1.5
width = desired length of skirt
(see step 7)

*note: alternatively, you can cut just one long piece and sew the seam up the back instead of side seams like in step 9.

Step 1. With right sides together, sew the BODICE FRONT and BODICE BACK together with a straight stitch at the shoulders.

Step 2. Take your BELL SLEEVE pieces and hem them on one of the long sides. Now do a basting stitch across the top of the ruffle, leaving your strings long on either end.

Step 3. Pull the strings of the basting stitch to gather your ruffle.

Step 4. With right sides together, attach the RUFFLE to the SLEEVE with a straight stitch. Repeat for the second sleeve.

Step 5. Now attach the sleeves. Line up the top of the SLEEVE with the shoulder seam of the bodice (right sides together), and then pin them together.
Step 6.  Then sew a straight stitch along the sleeve, attaching it to the dress. Repeat for the second sleeve.
Step 7. Take your two rectangular SKIRT pieces and baste the top edge of each.
Step 8. Gather the fabric evenly across to make it the same width as the bodice.
Step 9. Sew up the sides of the BODICE and the SKIRT. I sewed these pieces up separately, but illustrated them together (sorry, confusing!)
Step 10. Take your two NECKLINE LINING pieces and, with right sides together, sew them together at the ends. They should now form a circle.
Step 11. Place the NECKLINE LINING on the dress with right sides together, matching up the side seams of the LINING with the shoulder seams of the shirt. Then streeeetch the LINING and pin it in place evenly along the dress neckline. Sew around the entire neckline with a straight stitch. Then trim the seam allowance and tuck the LINING inside the dress and iron in place.
Step 12. Tuck your bodice inside the skirt (with right sides together), and match up the waistline. Sew around the entire waist with a straight stitch, attaching the bodice to the skirt.
Step 13. Top stitch your neckline to keep the lining in place, then hem your dress to your desired length, and you’re done!
Merrick's Art Striped Dress_title

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  1. Charlotte Begum says:

    Thank you. You look gorgeous.You make it easy even for people (like me) who haven’t been sewing ever before.


  2. Natali says:

    You are looking absolutely wonderful! This is such a great outfit!


  3. Maria says:

    Really enjoyed reading this! The dress looks stunning on you!

  4. Aliya Hussain says:

    This dress is so pretty, i love the whole style of it!

    Aliya x // http://www.aliyasabrina.com // https://www.bloglovin.com/people/aliyasabrina-10150959

  5. pterri says:

    Just to make sure I understand…you’re cutting the skirt pieces perpendicular to the grain, but the bodice pieces with the grain? Thank you.

  6. Reanna says:

    I was excited to see on your instagram post that rifle paper co. carries fabric! How do you think Rayon would work for this silhouette? would it be structured enough for the sleeves? or is there another dress tutorial you would recommend for rayon?

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