This is a downloadable sewing pattern PDF for a vintage inspired, fit and flare sleeveless boatneck dress. It features a lined bodice, one inch seam allowances at the side seams for precision fitting, rear zipper closure, a box pleated skirt, and in-seam pockets (deep pockets!). The pattern is available in bust sizes 35-45″.
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Fair warning: this is not a pattern for beginners!
I’m not offering any tutorials or sewing lessons with this project, 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 order of 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.
If you want a dress made by me instead, click on the following pic:
Seam allowance is included in pattern but not marked. Unless specified, the seam allowance is ½”.
Seam allowance at bodice side seams: 1”
Seam allowance everywhere else: ½”
*2-2 1/2yds fabric, depending on your size and the width of the fabric you’re using
*1/2yd lining fabric
*Bias binding for the armholes (I use handmade 1/2″, you can use what you like)
Small: Bust 33
Medium: Bust 37.5″
Large: Bust 40.25″
XL: Bust 43.25″
Because there is a 1″ seam allowance along the side seams, the bust and waist can be adjusted larger by up to 2″.
Finished Measurements (with 1″ seam allowance):
Small: Bust 33.25″/Waist 28.5″
Medium: Bust 38″/Waist 30.25″
Large: Bust 40.75″/Waist 32.5″
XL: Bust 43.75″/Waist 38″
Finished measurements with 1/2″ side seam allowance”
Small: Bust 35.25″/Waist 30.5″
Medium: B 40″/W 32.25″
Large: B 42.75″/W 34.5″
XL: B 45.75″/W 40″
Let’s get started!
Print up your test square, on page 1 of the pattern (Bodice page 1), which should measure 4″ x 4″. If the measurements are correct, go ahead and print the sewing pattern PDF. If the measurements on the test square don’t add up to 4″ x 4″ then you have to adjust your printer settings before printing the pattern.
Once your pattern is printed, align the circles on each page, and tape pages together (see above pic). Cut out the size you want to use, taking care to record your own measurements first (shoulder length, bust, full length, etc), in case you need to blend different sizes to suit your needs.
Cut out your pattern pieces for bodice front and back, bodice lining front and back, skirt front and back, and pockets. (cutting layout is included in sewing pattern).
Take the bodice and lining front and back pieces, and, with right sides together, sew darts closed.
For the lining fabric, press darts towards side seams. For the outer fabric, press darts towards centre front and centre back (respectively).
Take the outer fabric bodice pieces, and with right sides together, sew bodice front to bodice back at shoulder (1/2” seam allowance) and side seams (1” seam allowance). Press seams open. Repeat with lining fabric.
Take the outer bodice and lining, and with right sides together, sew the neckline. Start at centre back, and end at the other centre back, using a ¼” seam allowance.
Clip notches in the curves, and understitch lining fabric to the seam allowance.
*If you don’t know what understitching is, you can skip this step; it just helps to prevent the lining from slipping out, and it adds a nice couture touch to your garment, but it won’t affect the overall structure if you skip it.
Turn right side out, and press neckline 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.
Attach your binding to your armholes, right sides together. Flip the binding to the inside, and stitch down.
With right sides together, sew pockets to skirt sides (front and back skirt pieces), using a ½” seam allowance.
Serge along sides seams on both front and back pieces (indicated with blue lines in above picture). Press pockets open.
With right sides together, sew back skirt pieces to front along side seams, using a ½” seam allowance.
Now you’re going to pin and sew the skirt to the bodice.
With right sides together, pin the skirt to the bodice, lining up the centre back edges, centre front, and the side seams. Distribute the excess fabric into box pleats, using the darts as centre points, and folding the fabric outwards from there.
Sew and serge the waistline.
Serge each centre back seam, locking in the thread chain at the top of each seam.
With a 5/8” seam allowance, right sides together, sew the centre back closed, starting at top of the bodice, using a basting stitch for the first 16”.
Change to regular stitch length, back stitch, and sew down the remainder of the skirt to the hem.
Press back seam open, pin and sew zipper into place.
Turn dress inside out (it may or may not be inside out, depending on your zipper installation technique).
Fold and press your hem allowance to the inside of the skirt by 1/2”
Fold and press again by 1”
Sew your hem.