This dress pattern is made after I received a request from a reader on Tiana’s Closet. She asked me (a few times) for an empire waist dress, with V neckline and short sleeves. After a long time of procrastination, I finally finished designing this Yvonne empire waist dress.
At first I was quite reluctant to make an empire waist dress. To me, this style is often made for pregnant women – higher waistline and plenty room at the skirt to accumulate the baby bum. But when I tried with many styles, I realized that this style can also be elegant and flattering if the skirt is cut the right way.
The Yvonne dress has all bust darts turned into gathering at the empire waist line, and the skirt is fairly fitted at the waist and flared down the hemline. This helps to draw attention to the bust and covers the (possibly) not very slim waist of the wearer.
Let’s have a look at the 3D simulation of the Yvonne dress. I was quite happy with it, so I played around with the prints and color. You can explore your own way of choosing a suitable color for this dress.
How do you think about this dress? If you are interested, download and print the pattern and start the project.
The pattern is made using layered PDF, please check for your desired size before printing so you won’t waste your paper. If you still do not know how to print a layered PDF, please check for the instruction here.
You can print this using your home printer and A4/Letter paper. I calculated the printing area so that you will be able to use either type of paper to print the pattern out perfectly. Always print the first page first and check with the test square if you are printing at the right scale before you print out the whole pattern.
Some PC may print smaller than actual size even when you choose 100% scale – I don’t know why this problem exist, but my HP laptop cannot print true to size. I have to scale up to 103% to get the right size. You may need to check with your PC to see if it prints true to size, if not, scale up a bit.
After taping down all the pages following the instruction, the overall layout of the pattern pieces is like this:
The pattern pieces are to be cut as follows:
A. Bodice Front – cut 2
B. Bodice Back – cut 2
C. Skirt Front – cut 1 on fold
D. Skirt Back – cut 2
E. Front Neck Facing – 1 piece main fabric + 1 piece fusible interfacing
F. Back Neck Facing – cut 2 pieces main fabric + 2 pieces fusible interfacing
Although many experienced sewers do not need a sewing instruction, I find that many newbies do, not because they do not know how to sew a straight line or insert a zipper, but because they do not know which step comes first, so I just add here simple guidance of the sewing steps:
1. Cut out all the pieces according to cutting instruction. Iron the fusible interfacing to the back and front facing.
2. Serge all the pieces (if needed). You can always serge later after sewing the seams.
3. Place the two Bodice Front pieces right side facing. Pin and sew the Joined Bodice Front Piece.
4. Gather the fabric between two notches at the underbust of the Bodice Front piece by sewing two parallel straight lines and pulling the threads. Match it with the notches at the Skirt Front piece. Pin and sew the front dress.
5. Place the right Bodice Back piece and right Skirt back piece right side facing. Pin and sew. Repeat with the other side.
6. Place the Joined Back Pieces and the Joined Front Piece right side facing. Sew the shoulder seams and the side seams. If you want to add inseam pocket for this dress, check out this post: How to add side seam pockets to your garments.
7. Place the Front Neck Facing and Back Neck Facing pieces right side facing. Pin and sew the shoulder seam.
8. Place the Joined Facing piece and the main dress right side facing. Pin and sew the neckline. Turn the facing inward, sew a flat felled hem on the facing. Clip the seam at the tip of the V neck line and the curves for a smoother neckline.
9. Sew the side seam of the sleeves. Insert a piece of elastic to the sleeve just like how you do with an elastic waist band. You can just hem the sleeve and leave it as a flared sleeve.
10. Turn the sleeve inside out and pin on to the main dress (right side facing). Sew the armhole.
11. Attach zipper closure at the back of the dress. Sew to join the rest of the Main Back pieces together.
12. Hem the dress.
And there it is, a beautiful Yvonne dress! It is a really quick and easy project and can give you room for creativeness. Sew it, and send me photos of your finished projects. I look forward to seeing your masterpieces.
Download link: Yvonne Empire Waist Dress (size XXS to 5XL)