How to make a no pattern dress to fit your size – tutorial.

No pattern dress tutorial

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make this no pattern dress. You will need to take a few measurements then you can either draft your own pattern that fits you or you can draw the dimensions directly on the fabric.

Measuring up:

Start by taking a few measurements, you will need bust, waist, hips and your overall length measured from side neck to finished length. Take the measurements close to your body (ideally wearing underwear or close fitting clothing) making sure the tape measure is parallel around your body and not pulled to tight but without slack. Keep a note of the measurements so you can use them as you draw out the pattern or mark the fabric.

Drawing the pattern:

Follow these diagrams to draw out your pattern based on your measurements. You will also need to cut a piece measuring approximately 25cm x 5cm for belt loops.




These measurements on the diagrams for the no pattern dress include a 1.5cm/5/8″ seam allowance.

Fabric requirements and supplies:

To calculate how much fabric you will need first measure the widest point of the pattern (from centre front/back to tip of sleeve). This will determine if you can fit the pattern onto 112 cm/ 44″ wide fabric. You could reduce the sleeve length a little bit if this would make enough difference to make it fit (sizes under size 20 should fit) measure the overall length.

If your fabric is 112 cm/ 44″ wide you will need twice the overall length of the dress. The belt can be cut lengthwise near the selvedge.

If your fabric is 150 cm /60″ wide for smaller sizes, plain or non-directional prints you should be able to add a centre back seam and reduce the quantity of fabric by placing the pattern or marking the fabric with the sleeve at either end of the fabric. Allow extra length of fabric to cut the belt width ways.

Suggested fabric types: This would work well in craft weight cotton, cotton lawn, broadcloth, chambray, light weight denim and washed linen. I used Robert Kaufman chambray for this version.

You will also need a 1 metre piece of bias binding. 1cm wide is ideal however if you have a wider binding you can use this too.

How to make:

Cut 1 x front on fold

Cut 1 x back – you can cut on fold or add a seam allowance for a centre back join.

Cut x 4 belt pieces

Cut x 1 belt loop

  1. With right sides together (RST) join the front and back shoulder seams. Neaten raw edges.

2. Fold the end of the bias tape in, begin somewhere near a shoulder seam along the back neck. I generally try to avoid the actual seam because it may become bulky, difficult to sew and might look messy. With RST and raw edges matched pin the bias tape to the neck edge along the crease line of the bias tape, overlap at the join. Stitch. Press the bias tape upwards to create a flat edge before turning in.

3. If you have narrow bias binding turn the bias tape to the inside along the seam line, press and stitch. For wider bias tape you can get a neater finish by turning the bias tape in twice, essentially a double turn rather than a single turn. Stitch.

4. Turn and press a double turned narrow hem (approx 5mm/1/4″) along the curved sleeve edge. This edge will become bulky and awkward to sew if the hem is too wide. You could also finish this will bias tape if you have a good match or a contrast that you don’t mind being seen on your no pattern dress.

5. Clip the hem so that it sits flat. Stitch the side seams from the end of the sleeve hemming to the hem of your no pattern dress.

6. Neaten raw edges separately and press the side seam open.

7. With RST stitch the belt loop together, turn through to the right side, press. Edge stitch each side. Cut the belt loop into two pieces measuring 10cm each.

8. Turn the no pattern dress to the outside. To find the position for the belt loops try the dress on and wrap a tape measure or piece of ribbon around your waist. Place a pin at each side. When you take the dress off measure the distance from the underarm to the pin on each side, taking the average as your position. However you can always try on again to double check if there was a lot of difference between the measurements on each side. Once you are happy with the position turn the raw edges of the belt loop in and stitch in place.

9. To make the belt with RST join the short edges of each pair. Press the seam open.

10. With RST pin belt pieces together around all edges. Leave a small opening approx 10cm/4″ long along one of the long edges for turning though. Trim seams and some of the bulk away from the corners before turning through. Press and slip stitch the opening closed. Alternatively you can edge stitch around the belt, closing the opening as you stitch.



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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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