Mermaid dress with gathers


Style analysis: form-fitting, sleeveless gown that features a ruched design throughout the bodice and skirt, which accentuates the wearer's curves. The neckline is a sweetheart shape with a small keyhole cutout just below the bust. The back of the dress has a low, square cut. The skirt extends into a mermaid silhouette with a sheer, ruffled hem that adds a flirty and elegant touch to the overall look. This dress is stylish and sophisticated, ideal for formal events or evening occasions.

Fabric: lightweight wovens with a little stretch (as charmeuse, chiffon, crepe) or lightweight knits (as jersey or lycra, or mesh).

Step 1

Start by drawing your basic dress with darts and zero or negative wearing ease depending on the fabric you choose.

If you go for a woven fabric, draw the basic pattern with zero or very small ease (2cm on the whole bust circ); if you use a knit then start from a block with zero or negative ease depending on the amount of stretch. Learn our method for drafting them and how to calculate ease with our basic blocks course/module 2.

Adjust length to ankles or desired measurement, then find knee level and take in 2 to 3cm at it. Blend to hipline and hemline.
Cut through knee line.
Step 2

Take back bodice and redraw center back shaping it:

  • discard 2cm from center back at waist, blending to zero at nape point and hip line
  • discard 2cm at knee line blending to zero at hips.

Take 1cm from side seam at waist, blending to armpit and hip.

Erase waist dart, as it is now balanced by reducing from center and side.

Draw the new neckline from side seam 2cm below armpit to center back dropping 2 or 3cm more.

Step 3

Trace a copy of the new back, then take front and draw the new neckline:

  • start on side seam at matching height to back
  • raise a line that passes very close to armpit and ends approx 3cm inwards from it and 8cm above bust level
  • draw a slanted line from this point towards center front dropping 2cm more at it
  • then draw a small V (half of it actually) 1cm wide in center front, depth is approx to bust level.

Widen shoulder dart by 1cm at new neckline to make bodice more fitted to breasts.

Step 8

Space pieces at bottom by pivoting at top until you get a right angle between center back/front and side seam. Basically you get a quarter of a circle for back (to be cut on fold) and a quarter of a circle for front(to be cut on fold).

Smoothen both top and bottom line.

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