Gathered dress with puffed sleeves


Let's have a look at how the pattern of this dress is drafted.

First we need to notice that most likely it consists of 2 layers. They can be cut out of the same material, which in the photos is a stretch tulle.

The inner layer or lining is needed to support the gathering of the outer one, retaining its measurement.

You can also use other lightweight fabrics for the outer layer such as georgette or chiffon, but we suggest to use something with a little stretch to improve the fit of the dress. The inner layer can then be stretch satin or stretch crepe to avoid the dress to be sheer.

Step 1

Start from a basic block with darts.

Keep the ease allowance to zero or to a minimum if the fabric has some stretch and you want a fitted dress.

Draw the new strapless neckline, widen the shoulder dart to keep it tighter to the chest and square up and down from the darts to divide both front and back into 2 pieces.

Step 2

Trace a copy of the 4 separate pieces, from the new neckline to the hem.

You will get the lining pattern:

  • center back
  • side back panel
  • side front panel
  • center front.

Mark the bust, waist and hip notches to have a reference when sewing.

Step 3

Trace a copy of each piece of the lining, and draw some horizontal slash lines, the more lines you draw the more places you have to add volume to be gathered. We suggest a line every 5-8cm.

Cut through the lines and spread the pieces by 2,5-4cm (again, depending on how much you want to gather the fabric – make a trail on a swatch first).

Here you see the center front, but the same step should be repeated for all the 4 pieces.

Step 4

You will get the fabric pattern:

  • center back
  • side back panel
  • side front panel
  • center front.

The pieces are the same as the lining, but they are stretched lengthwise.

Keep the notches that you had on the lining also to make sewing easier: you will gather the vertical sides of the fabric pieces first until you reach the lining measurement, then you will sew them together.

Step 5

If you are doing the sleeveless option, you just need to add a strip to sew thin shoulder straps.

If not, get a basic sleeve with elbow length, straighten it by making the bottom measurement identical to the bicep one, and draw some vertical slash lines. Cut through these.

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