Boatneck Bodice Pattern

This is the tutorial for my boatneck bodice sewing pattern that is available on Etsy.

Size Small/Medium here.

Size Large/XL here.

I’m going to run through my method of constructing a boatneck bodice with a v-back, and attaching that bodice to a box-pleat skirt.


The fit-and-flare style to this dress is flattering to many shapes and sizes. And the fun thing about sewing a fit-and-flare dress, is that there are fewer body measurements to match up to the pattern. Just bust and waist.

Photo taken by Karen Carrillo of Freedom Clothing Collective


Warning: this is not a beginner’s project.

I’m not offering any tutorials or sewing lessons with this project (aside from a few links here and there), and as a result, the instructions are a little sparse in places. I assume that you already know how to install a zipper, finish a hem, attach armhole binding, etc; this is merely a run-through on the steps I take to make this dress. And of course, there are multiple methods that can be used in constructing a garment, so feel free to use whichever method you like best. But please, if you are at all concerned with your skill level, read through my instructions before you purchase the bodice, and if you can hack it, go for it!

How to print and assemble a PDF pattern.

Behold the pattern pieces (totally not to scale; I just cut miniature pattern pieces for these pictures!):


You’ve got bodice front, bodice back, bodice lining front and back, and the skirt pieces.

Note: I didn’t include a pattern for the skirt because I don’t actually use a pattern for the skirt! It’s just a big rectangle, cut into three pieces.

Note: I don’t include any instructions on how to make your own binding tape for the armholes. You can purchase 1/2″ binding tape, or you can make your own. Here is a tutorial similar to the method I use to make my own binding tape. It doesn’t require a tape maker, which is nice, because tape makers suck nuts.

Note: There are three different seam allowances I use in the bodice! Nearly everything is on a 1/2″ seam allowance, but the darts are 3/8″ to reduce bulk, and the side seams are 1″ to allow for custom fitting. I will remind you with bold type when we get to the weird seam allowance bits! Or you could just slice off 1/2 along the side seams of the front and back pattern pieces and call it a day. Whatev.


Length: usually about 26 inches should do it for most women. This includes a 1/2″ seam allowance at the waist, as well as a 2″ hem allowance. The skirt is meant to fall to the mid/bottom of the knee. If you’re taller than 5’8″, or if you prefer a longer skirt, then cut a longer skirt. Just measure from your natural waist down to where you want your skirt to fall, add your seam and hem allowances, and there you go!

To determine the width of the skirt, I find my hip circumference, and multiply by 1.3. So if your hips measure 40″ then the width of the skirt will be:

40 x 1.3 = 52 inches

You then divide that 52″ rectangle: half in the front (26″), half in the back (26″). The back half gets cut into two pieces (13″ each) to allow for the zipper, and the pleats get folded by hand as you’re pinning the skirt to the bodice.

And if you want your pleats to be deeper, then cut a wider skirt. Easy peasy.


*2-2 1/2yds fabric, depending on your size and the fabric width

*1/2yd lining fabric

*Bias binding for the armholes (I use 1/2″, you can use what you like)


*16″ zipper

Let’s get started!

Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew the darts closed on the front and back pieces of the outer fabric and the lining.

btnkpt2 btnkpt3

Sew the back to the front at the shoulder (1/2″ seam allowance), and the sides (1″ seam allowance!).

Repeat with the lining pieces.



Right sides together, pin and sew the lining to the outer fabric, along the neckline. Match up the shoulder seams, centre front and edges, and ease the pieces, if need be.

Watch out for crudely drawn image.


Clip notches in the curves, and understitch (here’s a tutorial, if you need a run-through. If you need a more thorough lesson, then just skip the understitching).

Turn right side out, and press seam so that it rolls under to the inside of the bodice (lining side) just a wee bit, like 1/8″. This is to ensure that the lining isn’t visible on the outside.

btnkpt7Attach your binding to your armholes, right sides together. Flip the binding to the inside, and stitch down (YouTube tutorial).


Skirt time!


Sew back pieces to the front at the side seams, 1/2″ seam allowance. Serge or zigzag the raw edges.


Pin the skirt to the bodice, right sides together, lining up the side seams, and pinning pleats to match up with the front and back bodice darts.

Here’s a terrible picture:


Sew it. Serge it. Press it.

Install your zipper. Sew your hem. Done.



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