Flare dress with Bell sleeves – Free sewing pattern

flare dress free pattern

This is a pattern for a flared dress with long bell sleeves. The dress has a false placket with a v neck opening.

To make the pattern you can mark directly on fabric or make pattern on paper. Both the front and back patterns are described in the diagram. The front neckline and armhole line are indicated by the RED lines.

Fold the fabric by half crosswise and then by the center lengthwise. This will give a fold on top and on one side (A-B) Mark on the top surface. I make all the marks on the top and then cut out the back pattern. Remove the back pattern from the inside and then cut the front pattern on the remaining cloth with the markings. You can make individual patterns for the front and back as well to avoid any confusion especially if you are making clothes for the first time. In which case I would not recommend this top, but this easy tunic pattern or this boho top pattern.

You can give waist definition if you want to by taking the measure from shoulder to waist and giving the measure of 1/4 waist + 2″ there or leave it loose as is

Step 1 Cut out the bodice pieces.

pattern for the flare top

A -B = Length needed +1.5″  This is the total length of the dress. You can shorten it to top length as well or go for the full length or knee length

A-L = Neck width (Ref.Table given below) ; you can also mark 3.5 ” or 4″
A-E = Armhole depth ( ref.table given at the end of the post.) mark this Measure- this is your bust line. On this line mark E-D

E-D = 1/4 of bust round + 1.5″ . Take the whole measure around the bust and then divide by 4. Add 1.5″.
B-C = 18 -20″ – This is the flair of the top.An 18 inch flair is possible with a 36″ wide cloth. If you have wider cloth increase flair. 

A-F = 1/2 of shoulder to shoulder measure + 1/4″ . Measure from one shoulder tip to the other. Divide by 2 and add 1/4 inch

From F come down to G ; FG = 1″. Join to L. This is your shoulder line.

From L come down straight to meet the bust line at H. Mark diagonally 1″ to I. Mark in a curve to G from to D passing through I. This is the back arm line ; H-I = 1″

To mark the front armhole line move 1″ from H to J; Mark H-J = 1″. Go diagonal from J to K ; J-K = 1″

Mark this line in a curve D- G touching K. This is the front armhole line

MArk the necklines
From A mark down on line A-B ; A-M = 2″
From L mark 5 inch to N on line A-B ; L-N = 5″. Mark in a soft curve for the front neckline.

Cut out the front and back pattern ; I cut the back pattern first on both the fabric pieces and then removed one of them and then on the remaining piece cut through  the front neck and armhole line.

flare top pattern

Step 2. Front neckline for false placket

The front opening for the placket has to cut now. Follow the pattern given below for the cut.

Cut along a-b-c ; a-b will give the small v neck opening and b-c the placket(false placket really)

flare top pattern

Opened up the front bodice will look like this

make a flare top with bell sleeves - free pattern

Step 3. Make the front placket

Take two pieces of bias strips – 1.5 inch wide and 11 inches long

flare top sewing pattern

Keep the two strips right sides together and stitch down the center

Press the strips to either side of the stitching like this so that raw edges are facing to the either side 

flare dress pattern

Turn the bodice wrong side up. Keep the placket piece bottom edge along the placket opening. Pin in place . Stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. ( rightside of the placket edge and wrong side of the bodice are together. ) Remember that out of the 4 edges only one edge is stitched here – the one in the bottom on either side. 


Now turn to the right side and pin the other corresponding edge ( edge at the bottom on the other side) to the other front center opening – here also  rightside of the placket edge and wrong side of the bodice are together. – Stitching like this will ensure that no raw edge of placket is exposed on the backside of the bodice

You will have to use your commonsense and ensure that you will have the other two edge free to be top stitched from the top of the bodice. Donot forget to press in place at all times so that you are accurate – unlike mine which is crumpled like a piece of used handkerchief and the ends looking like a curled and twisted bittergourd 

flare dress sewing pattern & tutorial

Bring the bodice right side up. You have the placket stitched to the back with two edges free which is to be stitched to the front.

Now on to stitching it to the front. This requires a little manipulation as the placket is narrow and you have to get crisp edges. Keeping a piece of interfacing strip 1/2 inch wide inside will give you this crispiness and neat edges


flare dress pattern

Turn under the edges and pin in place. I have folded the bottom edge of the placket a little triangular in shape

free flare dress pattern

Top stitch in place

make flare dress

Step 4 Join the shoulders of the front and back bodice

Step 5 Neckbinding

Keep a strip of bias tape along the neckline edge. Remember to fold  the edges to the inside at the start and at the ending. Stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 

flare dress stitching pattern

Turn the neck binding to the inside ; stitch in place with a hand sewing needle and little whip stitches. 

flare dress free sewing pattern

The neck is ready

flared dress pattern

Step 6 Cut the sleeves

Cut out the sleeve as per the pattern given below.

how to sew bell sleeves

Keep 2 fabric pieces (for the sleeves) on fold rightsides together and mark ( so that you get mirror pieces for right and left sleeve) . Checkout this post on sleeves for more details.

A-B = shoulder to wrist + 1.5″  ; This is the total length of the sleeve
F-E = Armhole depth + 1/2″ ; (Ref. Table given below for the armhole depth according to bust round)

G= Mid point of F-E

Divide the line G-H into three equal parts. Mark the points a & b . a is for the front sleeve line and b is for the back sleeve line. Cut the back line first open up and then cut the front armline.

C-I = Measure around elbow + 1.5″

B-J = E-F
J-D = 4″ ; The sleeve bottom edge is about 4 inches more than the upper width of the sleeve. This will give tht trailing effect

free flare dress pattern

Keep the sleeve right side down on the bodice shoulder seam aligned with the center of the sleeves and stitch in place. Make double stitching lines for safety. finish the edges. Press the sleeve seam from the inside.

how to sew flare dress -free pattern

flare dress free stitching pattern

Stitch the sleeve hem ( a turned under hem would do)

Step 7 Join the side seams and do the hem

Join the side seams from sleeves to the bottom edge with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Do the bottom hem of the dress. I did a narrow hem. A faced hem with  bias strip also works. A wide turn under edge may be possible only with the facing because the edge is curved.


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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.

12 thoughts on “Flare dress with Bell sleeves – Free sewing pattern”

  1. Hi . Thanks for the info. I make kaftans without sleeve but this will help me to add a really funky pair of sleeve to my pattern. Please post more as this has been so helpful.

  2. I saw you site yesterday and I have been surfing through it since yesterday. Thanks for sharing every single detail. I am a budding seamstress…. The armhole anatomy just crowned it all as I have been looking for this for month. Thanks once again……. you are doing a great job. I already copied your mail I will get in touch if I need more help….. Blaica from Nigeria

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