How to: Make a Dress from Scratch in 15 Minutes!

By: Faith-towers Oct 21, 2011

created at: 10/20/2011

Today I'm going to teach you how to make a stylish convertible dress in just fifteen minutes. Really. It requires only four seams, and looks deceptively simple before you put it on; the success of the dress lies in the way you wrap the ribbon around your body. This project is easy enough for almost anyone to do - all you need to know is how to sew in a straight line.  

I used jersey material for my dress, but most fabrics with some stretch will work. Experiment with different types and colors of ribbon to create even more looks. Below are the materials you'll need.

created at: 10/20/2011

1) Cut two rectangles. Measure or hold fabric up to your body to establish the garment length; it should be about the distance from your armpit to your knees. For the width, measure from the edge of one hip to the other. Add six inches and this is your width. Cut out two rectangles of this size.

created at: 10/20/2011

2) Stitch the hem (optional). I didn't sew a hem on mine because I prefer a raw edge on jersey. If you'd prefer a hem, fold the raw edge of the shorter side of the fabric over and press. Stitch along the fold with a tight, even stitch. Do the same for both sides. By the way - a sewing machine is not necessary for this pattern, a needle and thread will do the trick also.
3) Create a casing for the ribbon. Iron the top of each piece of fabric, pressing the edge over about an inch and a half. Stitch along the folded edge with a tight, even stitch. This creates space for the ribbon to be threaded through. Do this with both rectangles.
created at: 10/20/2011
4) Put the front and back together. Lay the rectangles flat, with the right (outside) sides facing towards each other. Pin the sides together from the bottom hem up to about six inches short of the top. Stitch the two pieces of fabric together on each side.
created at: 10/20/2011
5)  Thread the ribbon through the casing. Now, take your ribbon or tie and clip a safety pin onto one end. This will help you thread the tie through the casings. Thread through the casing on the front of the dress, and continue right on to the back side so that you end up with the two ribbons emerging at the gap on one side of the dress.
created at: 10/20/2011
created at: 10/20/2011
And believe it or not, you’re done! To see the many ways to wear the Fifteen Minute Dress, head on over to Design Fixation.

Faith Towers is a creative media artist in Boston. Check out her full range of projects at Faith Towers Media.

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Thank you! I used about 14 feet of ribbon, and then trimmed it to be a bit shorter after....

This dress is AMAZING! How much ribbon did you use?

brilliant im gonna make one now. Thanx!!!

@Anonymous I would buy a yard and a half of fabric just to be on the safe side....

Hi! I love the dress! I was just wondering how much fabric you used? We look about the same size and I just wanted to know how much to buy. Thanks!

@d yes I think it would work as a maxi, good idea! The only thing I would suggest is to use a lighter fabric so it doesn't weigh it down.

I love this idea! But, I'm considering making it a maxi-dress. Do you think that would work? 

Thanks @Kaira, glad you like it!

I find this idea amazing! I had just made me & my little sister matching dresses of leopard print with shimmering golden ribbon around the waist line with a layered skirt of 4 fabric strips. I love this dress expecially because there is no other just like it. I find it so much better to have something you put work and dedication into!

Yes it's fantastic and super cheap and easy and because I'm unemployed this is a great way to make money. I needed to build a business that made me happy and sewing does just that and makes me happy and helps me earn money where I would have had none.

That's great Avalona! Isn't it nice to be able to have a new outfit in under an hour?

I really like the dress and I am a big fan of 10/15min dresses and tops. I have made a few things myself and made some money from it as well.

I like to use a jersey knit fabric for this dress, but really any thin, flowy fabric will work!

What kind of fabric did you use?

Hi Lily - It depends on how thick the curtain material is... if it's on the thinner side, it should drape well. Try wrapping it around your body like a dress to get a feel for how it will look.

I'm kind of young but I do have a machine and the proper measurements. Do you think that curtain material will work?

Hi, I'd really like to make two of these dresses for a costume in a play, what other materials do you think it would work with?  I've not done much sewing before, so this looks ideal!

Oh good, I'm so glad Claire!

I made this dress in navy with a gold ribbon and wore it to a black tie was a huge success!!! Thank you so much!

Hi Isabella - I think it would! Just keep in mind that it would be a much bulkier look, so you might want to go with a wider ribbon.

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