Ever wanted to learn how to make a dress pattern and create your own dresses that fit you perfectly? This simple and easy dress pattern making tutorial will teach you how to make your own dress pattern in just a few easy steps!
How to make a dress pattern
Got your eye on a pretty dress that’s too expensive for your budget? Learn how to make a dress pattern with this insanely easy method on dress pattern making! You won’t believe how simple but effective making a dress pattern truly is!
This is also free, as most commercial patterns online are not, and you have the certainty it will fit your measures perfectly. Standard patterns are for standard measurements and we all know that nobody is standard, right? So it’s very time-saving to have one just for you instead of trying to alter one that’s between two sizes.
Or you may find that your favorite dress is all worn-out and you want an identical one. If you don’t plan on repurposing or making any modifications, just rip the seams and use each part of the dress as a pattern itself, without marking it on paper.
Also, if a dress you love has a very well-fitted bodice and you want another one but with a different kind of skirt, there’s no need to buy a new dress or pattern. Just use the old one and make a different bottom.
Need more dress ideas?
- V neck dress pattern
- Girls gathered dress pattern
- Easiest pillowcase dress tutorial
- How to sew a v-neck
When I made the easy knit dress with pockets I really wanted to find some free time to make patterns in more sizes for that dress. Because it’s so darn cute and comfortable, every girl should own a dress like this! But when I realized that’s never going to happen lol I thought it’s better if I show you how to make a dress pattern so you can draft your own pattern that fits you perfectly. And so I’ve put together a quick dress pattern making tutorial to illustrate the step by step.
This is also great as you get to keep your patterns and, as long as your body doesn’t change much, you can use them over and over again to create new patterns or items. This kind of pattern making can use most clothes you already have, like T-shirts, tanks, one shoulder, pants, it just depends on what you want to make.
Tips to keep in mind before making your pattern:
- It is better to use a similar fabric type while using one garment to create a new one, like using a knit T-shirt for a knit dress. Using the T-shirt to make a dress from a stiff fabric like denim, for example, may not work so well and you may not move freely in the end. Stiff fabrics also require darts and other fitting work that knit or other elastic fabrics don’t need, so patterns can turn out quite different.
- Also, the original designer matched the fabric type and weight with the design to get a nice drape, so this is another reason to use similar fabrics.
- Always make sure you follow the same grain line as the original garment so that it looks the same. The grain line will usually run from your shoulder down to your knee, but check every piece of your pattern to make sure this goes for your particular project as well.
- The same pattern can be used on clothes for different seasons. Just use it on different fabrics to suit the season.
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Making a dress pattern is super simple and quick, you’ll want to apply this idea to all your future patterns! My dress is made out of 2 pieces: the bodice and the skirt. Below I’ll show you exactly how I did both and for assembling you can always refer to the dress with pockets tutorial. For this tutorial I used a t-shirt that fits Ellie, my daughter, since I plan to use this pattern to make a dress for her, exactly like mommy’s.
I really hope this tutorial helped you and I’m eager to know what amazing pieces of clothing you made with this technique so please let me know in the comments section below!
Dress pattern making tutorial
- t-shirt that fits you well
- large paper to draw your pattern pieces
- measuring tape
- paper scissors
Step 1 – Making the bodice:
- Lay your t-shirt on the paper front side or back side up and try to make it as neat and wrinkle free as possible.
- Measure yourself from shoulders to right under your chest.
- Using these measurements, lay a ruler across your t-shirt.
- Grab a pin and punch holes through your t-shirt, all the way along the ruler, thus marking the bottom of your bodice onto the paper under the t-shirt. Don’t worry, your t-shirt won’t feel a thing!
- Continue punching holes along the sides of the t-shirt
- Then go to the sleeve area and punch holes along the armhole, right through the seam.
- Continue to punch holes along the shoulders
- When you get to the neck line, punch again through the seam.
- Remove the t-shirt and connect the dots with a pen or pencil.
- Repeat for the other side of the t-shirt (back if you did the front first or vice-versa)
- Repeat the process for the sleeve. If you want to make the sleeve a little puffy as I did on mine for the knit dress with pockets, make the sleeve a little larger than your t-shirt so you can gather it when sewing.
- Now cut out your patterns and fold in half. Both halves should match but if they don’t, mark and trim the patterns as needed.
Step 2 – Making the skirt:
- You basically need to draw a trapezoid shape for each side of the skirt. The top side should be matching the length in the bottom of your bodice plus allowance for the fold (I think an extra 6″ would be enough, unless you need a lot of room in the tummy area which will be ensured by a larger fold).
- The length of the trapeze is your choice (make the dress short, medium or long, it’s all up to you)
- The bottom side of the trapezoid should be the top length plus 1/2 (i.e if the top side is 20″, the bottom side is 20″+10″=30″)
- Make the bottom slightly curved. Measure about 1/2″ down from the middle of the bottom line, mark and round up. If you don’t do this step, the sides of your skirt will look a little longer than the rest of the skirt when you wear it.
- Repeat for the other side of the skirt.
Step 3 – Transferring onto the fabric:
- Place each piece of pattern on the fabric, except for the sleeves and cut around the patterns. Leave enough allowance for seams and hem.
- When cutting the fabric for the sleeves, cut on fold, twice
- Assembly the pieces together and finish sleeves and neck with binding as indicated in the knit dress with pockets tutorial.