Fit & Flare Panel dress Sewing Pattern & Tutorials

Learn to sew a fitting fit and flare dress with panels. This panel dress pattern is very easy to sew
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This is a pattern for a floor length panel dress with a bodice with a false placket.The panels give a good flare to the dress without adding bulk to the waist

panel dress sewing pattern

This pattern has raised waistline. Check out the post on different types of waistlines for more on this

Cut out the pattern pieces. 2 bodices – front and back bodice-  as per the pattern given below

panel dress pattern

First mark the length – the bodice ends at the smallest part of your body. So take the waist measurement there – it is usually just under the  bust.  You need to add 1: seam allowance as well

For me it is J-N = 15″

J-H = 1/2 of Shoulder to shoulder measure + 1/4 “
H-A= 1/2″( this is for a small shoulder slope)
J-C = 2″ ( this is the neck depth for the back neck; take as you need it)
J-L = 7.5″ /Armhole depth . Ref the table below)
K-L = 1/4 of bust round  +2″

Mark down straight from A – D on the line K-L. Mark 1″ diagonally to E
D-E = 1″

M-N = 1/4 of waist round + 1.5″ ( This is the bottom edge of the bodice)

To give a small curve mark up from M to  O = 1/2″

Take two fabric pieces length  and fold by half.

Cut out the back and front bodice same first as per the back bodice pattern. Then remove one piece and continue marking the front pattern on the remaining one.

panel dress pattern

Mark the front pattern as per the picture given below

panel dress pattern

Cut out the neck and armhole which are different from the back pattern

panel dress pattern

Cut out bias tape for neck binding (1″ wide and for length measure around the neckline back and front and add seam allowances) and a piece of fabric strip 10 inch long and 1.5 inch wide. This piece is for making a mock placket on the front bodice. You can attach small buttons or cloth buttons here.

make a panel dress - free sewing pattern

Make the mock placket

Take the fabric strip and press with a hot iron the side edges inside 1/4 inch on both long edges .

panel dress sewing pattern

Keep that on the front bodice on the center fold line

panel dress sewing pattern

Pin in place and stitch in place ( the white lines on the picture above)

panel dress sewing pattern

Join the shoulder seams – joining back bodice to front bodice

panel dress sewing pattern

Bind the neck with the bias binding strip. You should make a center fold and attach the edges along the neckline starting from the back

panel dress sewing pattern

Remember to make a fold when you start. This will give a turned inside edge rather than a raw edge

panel dress sewing pattern

Do not join the side seams now. Press everything neatly and cut the loose threads ( yeah, I havenot; good for you to notice)

panel dress pattern

Join Sleeves

Cut out the sleeve pieces. You can make any type of sleeves – checkout this post for drafting sleeves. Do not want to repeat myself.

Just remember that you need to get mirror image sleeve pieces – as the front and back sleeve lines are different. You can get this by keeping fabric pieces right sides together and marking the sleeves.

free pattern for panel dress

Keep the sleeve on top of the bodice ; right sides together aligning the center fold of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.

panel dress pattern

Stitch the edges  together. Trim the seam allowance and finish the edges inside. Finish the sleeve hem.

panel dress pattern

Sleeve is joined here

panel dress pattern

Skirt panels

Cut out the panels for the skirt piece as per the pattern below

panel dress sewing pattern

Take the side panels ( 2 Nos) and cut right through the middle so that you have 4 pieces now for the side panels

panel dress pattern

Join the center panel to the two other panels – look at the order below. The tapering sides should be to the outside. Make the back and front skirt panels like this

free panel dress pattern

You have two skirt pieces now. The back skirt and the front skirt

panel dress stitching pattern

Keep the skirt pieces folded by the center. You should cut off the top edge and bottom edge as per the picture below

panel dress pattern

Join the front skirt to the front bodice and back skirt to the back bodice

panel dress pattern

Join the side seams from the sleeve hem to the bottom edge in one go for both the sides. Do the hem as well.

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panel dress pattern

A panel dress is, as the name suggests, a dress made of many panels of fabric stitched together. The advantage of a panel dress is the flair the panels give to the hem. You can have a nicely flared dress that will drape and falls beautifully, especially when sewn in a flowy drapey fabric like chiffon or crepe. I have sewn this one in a cotton net fabric with embroidery; perhaps not the best choice for this style. A very flowy fabric would do true justice to this dress.

panel dress pattern

Step 1

You need about 3.5 meters of cloth to make a flared dress 40 inches long ( This will give you about 20+ panels  for front bodice and back bodice. ( 10 panels * 2 inch would give you  a stitched fabric panel of 20 inches – so 10 panels would be right till a bust round of 36 inch ; you need more panels for increased sizes ; just do the maths) 

How to cut the fabric – I took the length of the dress I wanted and added 2 inches . Cut this length  from a 45 inch wide cloth. Now fold this length by 3 1/2  inches, ensuring each fold will have two sides on either side.

LINING – If you are lining the dress, you need more fabric. To cut the lining – you do not have to sew the lining the same way by sewing panels together. Just keep the lining on top of the stitched panels after the bodice is cut to your size and trace the outline, and cut the lining.

In fact you do not need to cut the lining with as much flare as the outer fabric; as it is sewn separately, you can reduce the flare of the lining considerably – make sure that it is at least 4-6 inches more than a hip round at the hem; more if it is longer and has walking ease.

fit and flare panel dress pattern

Place the folds in place with a clip. Cut out the pattern pieces. Remember the fold on one side for each piece. When opened, the pieces will measure 2.5 inches on top and six at the bottom.

panel dress pattern

I have twenty panel pieces

panel dress pattern

Step 2

Zig-zag the seam edges individually of all the pieces. This is optional, of course, but highly recommended, especially if you have a fabric that frays.

Sew these pieces together 10 each with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. One sewed panel is for the front bodice and the second for the back bodice. . Press the seams open after every seam is joined. This will make sure that the joints look nice.

panel dress pattern

Step 3

Mark the following pattern on each of the pieces. Remember, one panel is the front bodice, and the next is the back bodice. Fold by the center and mark the following bodice pattern. These diagram markings are the same for everything else except the neckline and the arm line. Those are different for the front and back. 

Remember that necklines are to be marked on the facing piece, not on the bodice pieces.

panel dress pattern
How to stitch a salwar top pattern

Cut out the pieces.

Step 4

Make facing for the neckline. Sew the neckline . Checkout this post on how to sew the neckline with facing or this post for different ways to draft necklines. I lined the bodice as the fabric is sheer. I am treating the main cloth and lining as one piece and basted them together at the armline before sewing the neck facing.

I have added a piping to the neckline. Sew the readymade piping to the neckline after the facing is completed with two stitching lines.

panel dress sewing
panel dress pattern
panel dress pattern

Step 5

Cut out the sleeve piece. Checkout this post on drafting sleeves. I chose to make a very small sleeve. See how the armline is almost touching the hem of the sleeves

panel dress sewing pattern

Gave a little border and a piping sewn to the hem

sew a panel dress

Step 6

Joined the shoulders with a 1/2 inch seam allowance

panel dress stitching pattern

Step 6

Join the sleeves to the arm line – to join, keep the sleeve piece right side down on the bodice arm line, which is placed right side up ( ie, right sides are together). 

panel dress pattern fit and flare

Ensure that center of the sleeve is on the shoulder seam. Start sewing from the shoulder seam to both directions. This way, the sleeve will be correctly aligned.

make panel dress pattern

Sew the side seam of the sleeves.

Step 7

Now you have to Join the side seams of the dress. You will have to stitch the  side seams of  the lining and the main dress separately for better drape.

Turn the dress inside out. Bring the lining to one side and the outer fabric to another side of the neckline. Now join the side seams of the lining and the main fabric on both sides. Turn the dress right side out now. You will find that the lining seam allowances will be nicely inside and separate.  

Step 8

Finish the hem of the lining and the main fabric. You can add piping here, also. I have not. Just turn under 1/4 inch twice and stitch.

Checkout the neck depth, neck width and armhole table according to your bust round measurement

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.