Sunday 24 April 2016

How To: Low Back Pleated Midi Dress

photo DIYLowBackPleatedMidiDress_zpsedu7sia2.jpg
Here's a quick project from last weekend. I swear I wasn't going to do another lace-up detail but it just happened.

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photo 0 Tools_zpsqly33nf8.jpg
3 m of fabric with moderate stretch (I used Tencel)  |  Scissors  |  Fabric marker  |  Pins  |  Invisible zipper  |  Thread & Sewing machine, needle 

I. First cut out your half-circle (could do full circle as well if you wanted it extra-flowy). To get the radius to draw from the folded corner of fabric, I first calculated how long I wanted my waistline to be so that there would be enough for the pleats. I wanted 4 pleats in the front and 2 in the back. My back pleats were 8 cm each = total 16 cm. For the front, I did 4 x 9 cm pleats = 36 cm. Adding those two totals to my waistline: 16 cm + 36 cm + 70 cm = 122 cm. Plugging that into the good old circle skirt app, I got a waist radius of 38 cm. My skirt length was 75 cm.
photo 1 cut half circle_zpsjlpczw15.jpg
II. I first pinned the pleats in place:
photo 2 Pin pleats_zpsaepkua7o.jpg
.. And zig-zagged the edge, securing the pleats in place at the same time.
photo 3 Zigzagged edge_zpsgyebue1d.jpg
III. Then I cut the top pieces out. Tencel is so amazing in terms of its stretch - just enough not to need darts if you're doing a snug fit. Critical to make sure the stretch runs horizontally. For someone bustier than me, darts would definitely be in order.  The key measurement is the waistline of the top - front and back waistline together should equal the waistline of the skirt, plus seam allowances.
photo 4 Cut top pieces_zpsbpcbbgpj.jpg
 To construct the top I pinned and sewed the shoulder seams together..
photo 5 Pinned shoulders_zps5zhtlz3a.jpg
.. Then did the same for the side seams:
photo 6 Pinned sides_zpsmlwxixgg.jpg
.. And finally zig-zagged the arm holes and the neckline, and finished those with a simple fold and a straight stitch. Yes, I could've spent some more time and done nicely finished seams... But I'd been unsuccessfully shopping for a dress for an event the day after, and I desperately needed this to be ready at lightning speed.
photo 7 Finished seams_zpsc5ujzeww.jpg
IV. To attach the top to the skirt, I just pinned the pieces together right sides facing.
photo 8 Pin top to skirt_zpszaxpwvid.jpg
Here's what I had after sewing the top and skirt together.
photo 9 Skirt and top attached.jpg
V. Until this point I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the back. My initial plan was to make this a very work-appropriate dress and just zip it up all the way. But the prospect of making something boring started giving me anxiety.
photo 10 Back before cutting_zpsjm6z1fin.jpg
So I decided to take out the scissors and cut a deep V in the back instead!
photo 11 Cut back_zpsskc51vpi.jpg
VI. Then I added an invisible zipper from the waist down, hand-sewed the zipper ends down to finish, and completed the back seam of the skirt down from the zipper.
photo 12 Zipper installed_zpsnsvnodtx.jpg
VII. The sides of the low back I finished the same way as I did the arm holes and the neckline. The last step was to make some ribbon from the same fabric (made a total of about 2 m), clip four short 3-cm pieces of it, hand-sew them on either side of the back V to create the loops, and slip through the ribbon.
photo 13 Back lacing done_zps4qd9gywm.jpg
Lastly I just hemmed the dress. Love!
photo DIYLowBackPleatedMidiDress2.jpg photo DIYLowBackPleatedMidiDress4_zpsu4mayrnh.jpg
photo DIYLowBackPleatedMidiDress3_zpsbwjljigu.jpg xo,



  1. Love this! With a cardigan or cropped blazer it would totally still be work appropriate :)

  2. Girrrrrl! You are so seriously talented. How do you whip these things up? Amazing, as always.

  3. you are SO good. Love it.


I would love to hear what you think and learn about your DIY adventures! If you use one of my tutorials, tag me on social @contour_affair, I'd love to see!


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