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How to Self Draft and Sew a Simple Dress -Taylor Swift-Inspired Crochet Dress


thumbnail of Kym wearing the dress next to an image of Taylor Swift in her crochet dress

The dress Taylor Swift recently wore has captivated crocheters and fashion lovers, and it's easy to understand why. This 60's-inspired dress gives off a comfortable, relaxed vibe, making it an ideal choice for summer. I can picture it as a perfect cover-up for vacation!


Although I don't crochet, and as much as I'd love to learn, I simply don't have the time to pick up needles and yarn and start. I appreciate the lengthy process involved in creating garments or any crochet items and hope to learn someday. For now, I'm always on the lookout for ways to sew these items instead. In this tutorial, I'll be sharing my process and how you can sew a self draft dress too.


I recently stocked up on this crochet lace fabric for my shop. In case you didn't know, I run an online sewing shop with my mum called Debbie Shore Sewing. I buy in the fabrics that we sell as well as website maintenance, orders and all the things you can imagine small business owners doing! I set aside a couple of meters of this fabric with plans to create a garment, but I hadn't decided what. When I saw Taylor's crochet dress, I knew I had the perfect fabric to recreate it.


close up of the orange, yellow, green and cream crochet lace fabric

This dress is a slouchy, loose fitting dress with long sleeves and a wide neckline. There are four rectangles of fabric that will be cut to size using your body measurements. The process of sewing this dress is very straight forward, all you need is your fabric and a tape measure and of course, a sewing machine and scissors!


Fabric

I'm using a crochet lace fabric for my dress which has a slight stretch to it. If you wish to make this dress from a different fabric, I would recommend something that is floaty with a little stretch, such as jersey, or it could be sewn up in a viscose too. I am yet to try this in other fabrics so make a toile first if you are unsure. This dress doesn't have any fastenings and just slips on over your head.


Measuring

There are a few measurements you'll need to take before starting. When measuring yourself, be sure not to pull the tape measure too tight. This garment is meant to be oversized, so you can allow a little room when taking your measurements.


Measuring the dress -

  • First, measure your full bust or hips, whichever is the larger measurement.

Add 8" to this measurement, this will include the 1/2" seam allowance. Divide this number by 2 and that will give you the width for your front and back dress panels. For example, my hips measure 42". Add 8" and that gives me a total width of 50". I will divide this by two to get the width of the fabric for the front and back of the dress.

  • For the length, measure from your upper bust/bottom of your collar bone down to your desired length (I measured above my knees, 30” but I would make this slightly longer next time). You may want to add a few inches to this measurement just in case. You can always make the dress shorter if you want to but you can't make it longer once it's cut!


Measuring the sleeves -

  • To get the width of the sleeves, loosely measure your bicep at the widest point. Work out what half of this number is and add that to the bicep measurement. For example, my bicep loosely measures 13". Half of that number is 6.5, so my sleeve width is 13+6.5 =19.5".

  • For the sleeve length, Measure from your armpit area down to your wrist. Add 1" for seam allowance. Again, if you are unsure, cut the sleeve slightly too long and the length can be adjusted later.


Once you have your dimensions, cut 2 dress pieces and 2 sleeve pieces from your fabric.

illustration of cutting instruction

Sewing

I have sewn this dress entirely on a sewing machine and have not used an overlocker. This is because my fabric doesn't fray, so I don't need to worry about it coming apart. If you prefer to overlock or finish your seams, that's totally fine to do so!


Instructions -

  1. Fold your front dress piece in half with right sides together. Measure 3" down the folded edge and mark with an erasable marker or chalk.



2. Measure 5" across the top from the folded edge and mark. (this will give you a wide, slouchy neckline, you could make this 1/2" smaller if you'd prefer)



3. Draw a slightly curved line from one mark to the other. Start the line off straight for about 1", then curve slightly to meet the other point.


folded fabric with illustrations of where to cut the neckline

4. Cut out this shape. This will be your neckline for the front.



5. Repeat with the back piece of fabric, but this time only measuring 2" down the folded edge.



6. Place the front and back pieces with right side together, lining up the shoulders. Sew shoulder seams using 1/2" seam allowance. Finish the seam with an overlocker or zigzag stitch if you wish and then press.


optional - if your overlocking the dress, overlock all 4 sides of each sleeve and overlock the side seams of the dress before continuing.



7. Open out the dress with right sides facing up. Find the centre of the sleeve by folding in half width ways and marking or using a pin.


8. With right sides together, place the centre point of the sleeve over the shoulder seam of the dress. pin the sleeve in place to the dress.


9. Sew the sleeve in place. Repeat with the other sleeve.


Steps 7, 8 and 9 in this video -



10. Fold the dress with right sides together, matching up the under arm seams. Pin the sleeves and side seams together and sew. Pivot at the under arm seam.

Tip - You can snip into the corner inside the seam allowance for the seam to sit flat when it is turned right side out.

the crochet dress inside out showing the seams



Try on your dress and make sure that you are happy with the sleeve length and dress length.


11. Hem the sleeves and bottom of the dress by folding over by 1/4" twice and sew in place. Because my fabric doesn't fray and is a crochet fabric, I folding over once by 1/4".


close up of the hemmed sleeve


12. Finish the neckline however you'd prefer. For a more professional finish, it is best to use bias binding, but for this wide neckline dress, I've hemmed the same way as in step 11.


Give the dress a final press and it is finished!



Kym wearing the crochet dress in a sewing room


I hope you enjoy this tutorial and I let me know if you decide to make one for yourself!


Kym x



1 Comment


Jean Budd
Jean Budd
6 days ago

thank you Kim for your very clear instructions. dress looks lovely on you. mind you l better make it a bit longer for myself at 80 wouldnt want to shock the family haha

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