Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I 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!

Sewing Circle: Simple tie-neck top dress, so cute!

I love this dress on Sewing Circle today.  So cute!  But let me start at the beginning.  Here's the question from Jennie via the Facebook page:

Q: There's a dress that I've been looking at for a while but unfortunately, it's no longer for sale on ModCloth.  Any patterns you know that are close to this?

A: That dress is super cute, and totally DIY-able! Luckily, pattern companies have finally started making tie-neck blouse patterns, so you actually have a couple choices. 

 With the flattering V-neck shape in mind, I’d recommend McCall’s M6512 for the top, and just cut it on the center fold of the fabric rather than giving it the button closure. 

 Colette Patterns also has a top pattern that could work—the Jasmine blouse (you’d have to cut the collar and ties wider to get the same look). 

With either pattern, don’t give the arms the band/cuff; instead, give the edges and teeeeny, tiny hem.

You won’t need to cut the blouse part as long as the patterns call for, of course—just cut it to your natural waist plus 1” or so for seam allowance plus elastic casing. Then, for the skirt, just cut some rectangles that are 2” or so longer than you want the skirt to be, and each (front and back) not quite as wide as your waist measurement. You’ll be gathering it a little before you sew it to the bodice, and you want it to be not quite two times as wide as your waist before it begins, but you do want it big enough to cover your hips. If this is too confusing, you could use a pattern like the skirts on one of those cute Simplicity Cynthia Rowley patterns—like 2497, 2718, or 2406.

The way the dress is constructed, you can just sew right sides together but stagger the skirt and bodice so that you have a 1” seam allowance on the bodice piece and a ½” seam allowance on the skirt. Then, press the wider seam allowance under 3/8” or so, and sew it down, creating a self-fabric casing on the inside of the dress. Does that make sense?? Leave 1-2” open at the center back so you can feed some narrow elastic through your casing. Ta-da! Done, and no zipper or tricky fastening!

The other way to do this is even easier, but I’m betting would be less cute and would probably only work if you have very slim hips. You can just extend the length of the blouse to dress length, and then add a casing on the inside (just a strip of fabric with both edges turned under ½”) at the natural waist. Kind of like this BurdaStyle pattern. Then, the skirt will be less full. But it’s super easy.

What would you say, readers?  Have you seen the perfect pattern, or have you made a dress like this before??


  1. Hi! I have a question. I have the Colette pattern, and it's cut on the bias to eliminate the need for closures. Does that matter? Could you still do the DIY dress the same way you suggest, or would you need to cut it on the grain?

    1. Hi! Hmmm, good question... I would think the dress would work either way, although I would cut it on the grain if it were me--would make the skirt easier, I think, laying flat. It looks like it fits loosely enough that you won't need a closure even if you cut it on the grain! Maybe just give the waist less shaping/definition.

  2. You drew me back in! (@SwoodsonSays). Re-subscribed, and wanted to chime in with a few patterns I found on Etsy that might fit the bill (only one is from my shop, which I marked with a disclaimer!! and put last!)


    also this blog post looks like that dress! http://www.sewweekly.com/2012/02/not-the-iron-lady-dress/

    (disclaimer, mine from my shop!) http://www.etsy.com/listing/91925736/1940s-simplicity-1924-one-piece-pussy

    1. Glad to have you back! Those vintage patterns are super cute--so glad tie necks are back in and we can use vintage goodies to get the look. Might be fun to have more darts/shaping like those do!

      And that blog post dress is SO similar! Can't find her original pattern from BurdaStyle, though...


  3. I can't find it either.. these two are similar but definitely not the same: http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/072011-sailors-neck-dress-with-sleeves-plus-size


  4. I know this is months later, but I just came across the absolute perfect pattern, you would just have to draft the sleeves: http://www.etsy.com/listing/99397824/pussy-bow-dress-pdf-sewing-pattern

    1. Awesome, thanks for the tip! That one looks perfect!



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