Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Reader question--searching for a pattern

I got a question from a reader the other day and put together a few things to answer it!  Here's some ideas for patterns to replicate these ModCloth dresses she loved!

Question from Amanda:
I really love a style of dress I've been seeing a lot of lately in the juniors department. It's 60's inspired, with a top that looks like a t-shirt (sleeves, not too low cut, etc), and a skirt that isn't quite a pencil skirt but does taper in. It's usually a mini skirt, and the waist is gathered by a piece of elastic.

Here are some modcloth dresses that look similar: This is the closest one: 

This one has an elastic waist in the right place (not on the natural waist, but up on the ribcage), the skirt is too full though:

I think it would be a pretty easy dress to make, since there are no darts or zippers because the elastic makes it fit! I'd really like to go off a pattern, though I looked on some pattern websites and could not find anything remotely close, it would be awesome if you could find a pattern for me! Thank you so much!

Well, Amanda, I can try!

Those two dresses are constructed very differently--the first one is a tradiationally made bodice, with darts and probably a zipper up the back, but with a t-shirt shaped top.  The second is probably one piece, with elastic in a casing at the empire waist line to bring it in.

I think I know what kind of skirt you're looking for, though, so let me first start by recommending this pattern for the skirt.  I have it, I love it, and I've made it a million times in many varieties.  Simplicity 2497--a staple!

As for the bodice, if you want something that looks like the first dress, you could always use a basic pattern like this one (see the green dress) and change the sleeves--make them longer, make them puffed a little and unlined, whatever you want.

While it's basically the same thing,  here's an image of a similar bodice with a less full skirt so you can see how it might look.

Although if you want a t-shirt shape, you could use a pattern like this one, Butterick B5313, which is for knits and doesn't have a zipper.

And for that matter, you could use any top pattern you like!  These two are similar to the second dress you cited:

Does that give you some ideas?

Readers, have you seen a pattern that looks like the dresses Amanda mentioned?  Please, share your ideas!


  1. The white lace one could be pretty easily replicated if you used the Burda Style Anda pattern, modified slightly (take in the sides, maybe change the neckline) --
    I made a dress out of it last spring :)

  2. McCalls 6112 is almost a dead ringer for the second dress. She would just need to adjust the kimono sleeves to make them less full.

  3. I love this style dress! Simplicity 2305 is pretty similar to the first dress AND it's on sale for a $1 this week at Joann Fabrics. I picked one up on Sunday and I can't wait to try it!

  4. Anonymous11/08/2011

    me, like Amanda, have been in search of that pattern, those dresses are all over the place in Spain...

  5. Those are all GREAT patterns for copying the second dress!! Thanks so much for the McCalls and BurdaStyle ideas, readers!

    Keep 'em coming if any more of you know of the perfect pattern...

  6. Anonymous11/09/2011

    I love this post! I am trying to find a similar pattern, so this was incredibly timely. I was looking for something with the general shape of the J Crew Blouson dress (they currently have it in polka dots, which looks great! The skirt on the Simplicity 2497 looks promising - not *too* full. Thank you!


  7. Cute dress, @Anonymous! Yeah, the skirt on Simplicity 2497 would probably work really well.

  8. I really like the second dress. Why do you think it is too poofy at the bottom? I may skip the pockets though...




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