Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Gathered Dress

dressin up week

I started my Dressin’ Up Week yesterday with the Delicately Ruffled Top. Today I’m excited to show you my gathered dress!

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I bought the fabric a while back with the intention of using the patterned fabric for some cute bags and the yellow for the lining. But then I kept looking at the fabric, loved it, wanted a dress, and decided the bags just weren’t as necessary.

I pinned this dress a while back because I liked how the bodice and waist band were gathered.

(Not sure of the original source.)

I like how my dress is a more casual version. I have a feeling I’ll be more likely to wear it often if I don’t feel like it’s too dressy.

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I didn’t take the right pictures for a full tutorial, but I can show you how I did the bodice. If you have never sewn before, I highly recommend getting a Simplicity dress pattern and use it to learn more about how a dress is properly assembled. Then, once becoming familiar with it, you’ll find it easier to just make one up as you go. If you aren’t very comfortable with reading a pattern, check out this post and this post.

dress 1

I cut out the front of the lining in the correct size for myself (used another dress as a pattern), but for the gathered front piece I added several extra inches to the middle to allow room for the gathering.

dress 2

Using pins, I marked where I wanted the gathers to start and finish.

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Then did a gathering stitch (set my tension to the highest and stitch length to the longest). I then sewed back over the gathering stitching with regular stitches to hold the gathers in place. Repeat along the bottom of the bodice.

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Then I ironed the gathers down to give them more definition. This gave it a bit of a randomly pleated look.

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Pin the front and lining together, right sides together, along the neck line and sew together.

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Turn right side out and press your seam.

To do the waist band, I cut a five inch thick panel that was long enough to go around my entire waist. Then, every four inches I did gathering stitches (going up and down rather than side to side like on the bodice), zig zagged over them and pressed to give those gathers definition.

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The waist band was sewn to the bodice, then I gathered the skirt (I used a lot of fabric because I wanted a full skirt) and sewed it to the waist band, added a zipper and hemmed.

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I like how the bodice has some looseness to it and that the waist band mimics the bodice, even though it isn’t too obvious when you just glance at the dress.

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I’m thrilled to have this be a part of my wardrobe! It’s the perfect summer-transitioning-to-fall dress. All I have to do is add a cardigan (and maybe a belt) when it starts getting cooler.

Come back tomorrow to see a cute, dressier top!

Parties I’ll be linking up with:


  1. Oooh, I love it! That is so cute! You make such great clothing--it looks handmade in all the right ways, but not homemade (does that make sense? It's definitely a compliment . . . ). Great job!

  2. Gorgeous! You're so talented! I love the big full skirt too.

  3. I think that is one of my FAVORITE things you've made--and that's saying a lot! Love it.

  4. Pfft, who needs another bag anyway? Great dress!

  5. I love this tutorial! Thank you for being so creative and generous with your time <3

  6. Very nice!! I love the gathered bodice. Great fit, too. :)

  7. The dress is from Ruche! I have the gray version and I love it!

    Your dress looks great too! I like to sew, but I'm not quite on your level yet. :-)

  8. Super fun and summery!! :) Love this!!

  9. How did you finish the armholes? Dodn't see that anywhere.

  10. I love the design and made my own version of your dress this weekend. Didn't turn out as well as yours, but pretty good for my first dress!

  11. I can't find the PATTERN or is this a do it yourself thing?

  12. Hi, I was wondering what kind of fabric you used to make you bodice. Thanks :)

  13. The source for the original dress is case anyone was desperate to know:)

    1. Hi,I love,love this design and I'm going to try it out, you made every step simple thank you.

    2. I was hoping to download the pattern. Can you help? thanks.

  14. Anyway to make this in a size10 for little girls. It's so cute but not really my style but i definitely would love to make this for my daughter

    1. Michelle, I think you could just follow all the directions, but use a dress that already fits your daughter as your sizing guide. The instructions here don't really accommodate much of a chest (which worked fine for me since I'm fairly flat chested), so I don't think any modifications would be needed to make it more kid friendly. Hope that helps!


I appreciate comments so much! I'll do my best to reply to you here in the comments section, especially if there is a question so future readers can see the answer.