Claire from Hoopes Park Studios shows you how to draft your own Fit-and-Flare Dress in knit fabric, using your own body’s measurements to create the perfect fit. Claire has step-by-step details and a Fit-and-Flare Dress PDF Booklet for you to download and utilize; you can make your perfect knit dress whether you’re a beginner or an experienced garment sewist!
Learn more about Claire in her introduction, and link to your dresses in the comments. We think this is a perfect project for fall; just pair your new dress with tights and boots!
Are you ready to draft and sew your own dress? If you are, keep on reading! This tutorial will teach you how to draft a pattern (make a pattern from your own body’s measurements) for a fit-and-flare dress in a knit fabric. Then we will walk through construction of the dress, step-by-step. If you are a beginner, have no fear! If you are more experienced, then this will be a breeze.
There are three major parts to this dress:
- 1. The bodice: Use the PDF booklet to draft this.
2. The skirt: Made of two big rectangles of a specific size.
3. The pockets: There is a pattern included in the PDF booklet.
The first thing you should do is go to the fabric store and buy about three yards of a medium-weight knit fabric with about 40% stretch. Then you should machine wash and dry it. The fabric I am using is a 100% polyester knit that has sort of a quilted texture to it. I washed it on a cold setting with some gentle soap. Then print out this Fit-and-Flare Dress PDF Booklet and follow the instructions to draft the bodice of the dress.
Cut Fabric Pieces
First cut out the rectangles for the skirt. Do this first to be sure that you have enough fabric.
Next cut out the bodice pieces on a fold; fold the fabric in half along the grain. The grain is the “long” direction of the fabric. It is the direction with the least amount of stretch and is parallel to the selvedge. Place Line A to B on the fold and cut. Do this twice so you have a front and a back to the bodice.
Finally cut out the pocket pieces. Your pattern pieces should look like this:
Pin the bodice pieces with right sides together. Sew along the side seams and shoulder seams. Sew across the shoulder seam with one straight seam and then with a zig zag seam (over the straight seam) to reinforce it.
Now try on the bodice. How does it look? Is it loose in places? It might be; in this case you can decide where to take it in. You might want to take some fabric out at the side seams. If the bodice looks like a cropped tank top, then good job. You are on the right track!
When the bodice fits you well, move on to the neck and arm holes. Turn the fabric under ¼” (toward the wrong side of the bodice) and topstitch in place.
Sew the pockets on to the skirt. Match the corner of one pocket piece to the corner of the top of the skirt, right sides together. Sew along the side seam.
Do this for all four pocket pieces. You should have two “puppy-eared” skirt pieces that look like this:
Place these right sides together and sew 3/8″ from the outer edge of the fabric. Start at the top of the pocket pieces, then sew around the pockets and down the side of the skirt under the pocket. This is shown by the pins in the picture below.
Press side seams open. Check that your hand fits into the pocket.
Baste both pockets flat to the front of the skirt.
Turn the bottom edge of your skirt up 1″ and hem. If you have a serger you can serge the bottom edge before hemming.
Putting It Together
Now you need to attach your skirt to your bodice.
You can gather your skirt in one of two ways:
Option 1: Gathers
Run a basting stitch at ¼ from the top of the skirt and leave your thread long at the ends of the seam. Pull on the thread ends to gather the skirt till the skirt is the size of the opening at the bottom of your bodice. If you gather your skirt, it will look like this:
Option 2: Pleats
Try on the skirt and pin some pleats into place until the top of the skirt is the size of the opening at the bottom of your bodice. I chose Option 2 because I used a pretty stiff fabric, but Option 1 is better for thinner fabrics. Here are my pleats.
Place the bodice inside the skirt, right sides together, and baste them together at the waist.
Turn the dress right side out and make any adjustments you need. You should be able to pull the dress over your head to put it on and take it off. When you’re happy with how the skirt and bodice are attached, it is time to sew on the elastic.
Take your elastic and measure a piece the circumference of your waist. Use a zig-zag stitch to attach the elastic over the basting stitch, and pull out the basting stitch. Pull on the elastic slightly as you sew. The elastic will help keep the waist of your dress from stretching out every time you put it on and take it off.
Turn it right side out, try it on and make any final adjustments. That’s it! Now go run around town with your cell phone in your pocket feeling cool and looking cute!
Here’s the back of my dress.
Here is the front.
Great job hanging in there through that long tutorial. You have my permission to do a happy dance, because you just drafted and constructed your very own Fit-and-Flare Dress with pockets.