Flared dress with balloon sleeves


Let's draft together the pattern for this summer dress.

The dress is quite an easy one, with a basic dart manipulation into panels - perfect to practice the technique - but the a transformation of a basic sleeve into a balloon one is a bit challenging since it requires an inner sleeve to have no visible seams.

It also has a wide neckline that require a little trick patternwise - and remember to use the staytape when sewing it, so it won't stretch out.

The perfect fabric is something lightweight as cotton or viscose, you can try gauze or double gauze if you like their effect.

Start from a basic block with appropriate ease (we suggest at least 8cm to bust circumference, 6cm yo waist and hip ones)

Step 1

Create a copy of your basic block and draw the neckline first.

Lower 9-10cm from shoulder point along the armhole (same measurement on front and back), then:

  • on back go perpendicular to center
  • on front, measure up from your nipple point to have the neckline of a depth you like. Draw the neckline, then widen the shoulder dart by 1cm at neckline.

This little trick helps the dress sit tighter on the chest.

Step 2

Cut away the upper part of the pattern (above the new neckline), flare  and draw the panel cut this way:

  • first, flare the skirt by 5-7cm from the sides
  • then square down from darts and move to each side 5-7cm
  • on back only, draw the upper part of the cut slightly curved toward armhole
  • highlight the new pieces with different colors (see centers in red and side panels in light blue – notice that they overlap at the hem).
Step 3

Trace copies of the 4 pieces separately.

Remember to mark the grainline (parallel to original center front and back) on all of them, and mark the bust, waist and hip notches as references for sewing.

Step 4

Now get a copy of the sleeve. To achieve the balloon effect, there are several techniques. If you don’t want to see any seam at bottom, make a longer outer sleeve (red line) and an inner, shorter one marked as lining (light blue one) that holds it.

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