Let me start with a disclaimer – I made this easy peasy ‘DIY Dress in an hour’, copying a dress I already had. First I wore it to death. Then I copied it and made another. And then I made another and then more. And some more. Now I literally live in them. In the sweltering heat of the summer, nothing like a free size dress. So I thought why not make a tutorial of it. It is easy to make, easy to wear and looks nice. A perfect DIY dress.
Free size means you will get into the dress if you have a chest size under 42 inches. You can change the dimensions if your size varies and the instructions are given below. Free size dresses are not your most fitting clothes – but one thing is a guarantee. You will be super duper comfortable in them.
What Fabric to use to make this easy DIY dress?
Cotton ofcourse – any thin, lightweight cotton is good. Prewash and iron the fabric. 2 and 3/4 meters (3 yrds) of fabric makes a knee length dress. You also need a 1/2 inch wide elastic the length measuring your waist round.
Step 1 Cut out the pattern pieces
Cut out two fabric pieces of height 44 inches (or the length you want for the dress). These make your front and back of the dress. Fold them by the middle and mark the following measurements.
The difference between the front and back pieces is only in the neckline. The front neckline is cut a little deeper. You can first mark and cut the back measurements on both the pieces, and then remove one piece and mark the front neckline on the remaining piece
If you want to make variations to the size you can do at the bust level – E-F and make it 1/4 of bust round + 1 1/2″.Change the hem width also correspondingly ( E-F + 1″)
Cut out the sleeve pieces – 2 pieces of width and length. Fold by the middle and mark the following dimensions
Step 2 Join the front and back bodices at the shoulder
Keep the fabric pieces right sides together and join the shoulders.
Step 3 Join sleeves
Keep the bodice open and place the sleeve right side down as in the picture below. Start joining the sleeve on the armhole line to either side with a 1/4 inch seam allowance
Hem the sleeve bottom edge.
Step 4 Join the side seams
Join the side seams of the front and back pieces .
Step 5 Bind the neckline
Use a 3/4 inch bias binding fabric strip to bind the neckline
(Alternatively, you can sew the binding before joining the shoulder seams – then bind the front and back separately and then join the shoulder seams).
To bind in one go join bias strips to get enough to cover the entire neckline
Start from the back. Fold the short edge of the binding piece and keep along the neckline edge, right side down on the right side up neckline edge. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance
Remember to clip the seam allowance and trim it where needed.
When you reach back to the starting do not fold but overlap the binding over the folded edge
Turn the binding strip to the other side and fold the edge inside and stitch in place .
Step 6 Do the hem
Turn under the edge and hem stitch the bottom edge of the dress
At this point your dress will look like this.
But you may need a little shaping at the waist or this may look like a sack on you.
Step 7 Attach elastic to waist
Take a piece of elastic (1/2 inch) . Keep it around your waist. It should be comfortable around your waist. Add 1/2 inch extra as seam allowance. Cut it out
Join the edges to form a circle
Divide this circle into four equal portions and mark this on the circle with chalk.
Mark where you want the waistline to be.
Turn your dress inside out. Keep your dress inserted inside this elastic circle -placing the elastic on this waistline mark
Align the markings you have made on the elastic with the middle of the front and back and the side seams. Pin or baste stitch in place. This should be secure or else when you stitch it will come loose
Stretch the elastic (if needed) to accommodate the fabric and stitch in place.