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How to Make a Dress from Scratch in 15 Minutes!

by on Oct 21, 2017

Today I’m going to teach you how to make a dress that’s stylish and convertible, 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. With these, and a little bit of sewing, you’ll know how to make a dress you can wear out anytime!

materials for making a dress

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.

cut the fabric

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.
sew the front and back together
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.
align the edges
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.
thread the ribbon through the casing
how to make a simple dress
And believe it or not, you’re done!

Here’s Another Dress You Can Make in 20 Minutes

created at: 03/16/2012

This tutorial will show you how to make a v-neck style dress in 20 minutes! This little frock is very versatile – it can be worn over leggings, or if you leave the hem a bit longer it makes a wonderful everyday dress. 


  • 1 – 1.5 yards of stretch fabric
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic (see tutorial for instructions on length)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or a needle and thread

I love that this dress can be worn for a fancy occasion if made with a dressier fabric, or it can be worn to the beach as a cover up if you use a casual printed jersey fabric.

Check out the rest of the dress tutorial over on Design Fixation.


How to Make a Dress Form Based on Your Own Body

Your body is unique. Here are four tutorials from Threads magazine, with instructions to create an exact replica of your own torso:


A diagram shows the make up of a mannequin.


Here’s a video that helps explain the process a little better:

Once finished, stick one on an adjustable microphone stand or an old floor lamp to mimic your own height. 

Even if you’re not one to sew your own dresses, make one anyway. There are bound to be all kinds of uses for it. Post your ideas in the comments below!

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

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