I knew I wanted to make a Valentines dress, and I picked up a few yards of this amazing laser cut fabric down in LA months ago. I wanted to be able to wear this dress all through my pregnancy, so I made it a shift dress, that will accommodate my (quickly) growing tummy. So today you get a tutorial for a shift dress that works great whether you are pregnant or not! (you better believe I’m wearing this after the pregnancy too)
I am currently 14 weeks along and am finally starting to get my energy back. Running around with the two boys and taking care of the house and everything with my blog and business has been a lot to try and stay on top of those first few months with little energy and when I was feeling nauseous. I’ve actually gone to bed multiple times by 10pm…and that never happens! But I prepared myself mentally to take a step back from things. To be ok with a messy house and paper plate dinners and piles of laundry. Sometimes you just need to go into survival mode! But I’m happy to be feeling more like myself now.
I did quite a bit of digging and rounded up a few dresses that were very similar to this dress. Because I designed it with this particular laser cut fabric in mind, I went off a design in my head rather than an inspiration piece to pull from. You can find a round up of all the dresses with similar cuts, sleeves, color, or laser cut details (as well as my accessories) below:
Follow the link below for the full tutorial for this dress!
- 2 yards of lightweight woven fabric. Mine is a poly blend that feels a lot like silk.
- matching thread
Use a similar loose fitting woven (non-stretchy) top to help you create your pattern. Cut two dress pieces (making the neckline for the front piece slightly scooped), a strip for the neckline lining that measures about 1 1/2″ wide, and two sleeves.
When cutting the sleeves, use your existing sleeves as a guide, but don’t worry about being too exact. At the fold, extend out the upper shoulder curve about 1 extra inch because we will be gathering the top of the sleeve. When cutting the bottom side of the sleeve, make it extend down at a diagonal to look more like a triangle. The opening of my sleeve (when folded in half) is about 10″ wide.
With right sides together, sew the dress up at the shoulders and the sides, leaving the arm holes open.
Open up your sleeves and stitch a small basting stitch around the shoulder curve. The stitch should be pretty close to the edge, and only about 4-5″ wide. Pull your basting stitch so that just the top few inches of your sleeve create a small gather. You will only be gathering in about 2″ of fabric. Don’t gather too much, or your sleeve won’t be big enough when inserting into the sleeve hole.
Fold your sleeve in half right sides together, and stitch together the straight sides, as shown in the picture.
With your dress inside out and your sleeve right side out, insert your sleeve into the neckline of the dress and match up all sides of the armholes. (I like to match up my seams first when I pin. This ensures that the sleeve gets pinned in evenly) Pin in place and stitch around the armhole. As you sew, be careful to make sure that your gathers at the top of the sleeve stay gathered as you sew over them in place.
Fold the neckline in half with right sides together and stitch up the ends. Make sure that the neckline is the exact same length as the neckline on your dress, since woven fabric doesn’t stretch.
Then with right sides together, pin the neckline piece all around the neckline of the dress, making sure that the seal matched up in the middle of the back. Stitch all around the neckline with 1/4″ seam allowance. Fold the newly attached neckline back inside the dress and press flat. Serge or zig zag stitch your edges to keep from fraying.