See How I Modified a Dress Pattern to Get This Ganni-Style Dress

10 Materials
$15
4 Hours
Advanced

I think dresses with godets (triangular inserts that give volume and shape to dresses) are so pretty and flattering. I really wanted to make one but didn’t have a pattern that included it, or the puffy sleeves I had in mind. So what I did, was take that pattern and modify it to get the dress that I wanted. Keep reading this tutorial to see how I did it.

Tools and materials:

  • Paper
  • Pattern awl
  • Pattern notcher
  • Set square
  • Pattern
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Overlocker
DIY dress pattern
Trace the front piece of the bodice

For this project, I used a Simplicity pattern that I got online. I didn’t want to cut up the pattern itself, though, so the first thing I did was trace the pattern onto separate paper. The pattern didn’t include a V neckline, which I wanted, so I had to make some adjustments. Grabbing my ruler, I measured from the top of the neck to where I wanted the V to end. I marked at about 12 cm (4.7”) where I wanted to drop the neckline, then went across to the shoulder and pulled it back to roughly 10 cm (3.9”). I then went down from the shoulder and drew a line connecting to the V.

DIY dress
Trace the back piece of the bodice

Next, I traced the back piece onto some paper. I took the front piece and folded along the shoulder line to match up the front piece to the back piece. Then I was able to continue the modified neckline from the front piece onto the back piece. I also added my darts to the back piece at this stage and folded them in. Next, I dropped the neckline at the center-back by 5 cm (2”) then went across from the seam with a straight line and started to curve it.   

How to sew a DIY dress
Make the facing

Now that the front and back pieces were drawn, I cut them out to create the facing. I placed the pattern pieces down on a new piece of paper and traced the neckline to the shoulder, bringing it down again by 5 cm (2”). Since the front piece was cut on the fold, but the facing wasn’t, I had to cut out two pieces and add some seam allowance. I then did the same for the back piece and cut it all out.

How to sew a dress
Trace the sleeve

The next step was to trace the sleeve pattern for a puff sleeve. So I took the pattern and started at the elbow point, which the pattern indicated. After I traced and cut out the sleeve pattern, I used the top-center notch to position the grainline of my sleeve. I then grabbed my scissors and made three cuts on each side of the sleeve, starting from the bottom and coming as close as I could to the top of the sleeve. 

Sew a dress
Slash and spread method

With the slits cut into the sleeve piece, I glued down the middle part of the sleeve onto a bigger piece of paper. Then I spread out the other strips to make the puff sleeves. I measured out 6 cm (2.4”) from the center strip to the next one, then spread each strip out by the same amount, gluing each one down onto the paper. Once I finished with that part, I added 2 cm (0.8”) to the bottom and cut out my pattern piece. 

Sew a DIY dress
Make the godet pattern

To make the godet, I made a center-front panel in the front of my skirt. I cut my pattern piece in half and added a seam allowance, then cut times two of the skirt panels. I then measured from the center-front seam at the top of the waist all the way down to the hem, getting the side measurement of my godet. I then figured out how wide I wanted my godet to be. The wider the godet, the fuller the skirt. I made mine 10 cm (3.9”), which I cut on the fold, giving me 20 cm (7.9”). The grainline was simply straight, parallel to the center-front of my skirt.

How to make a dress
Cut out the pieces

Now that my pattern was finally done, I cut out the pieces and laid everything out. I was then able to start sewing all the pieces together, following the instructions of my pattern. 

How to make a DIY dress
Add the godet

When it came to sewing the godet, I matched up the top of the godet point to where the seam allowance meets. I then pinned the other front piece onto the other side of my godet and continued to sew in the same way that I had sewn the other side. Once I was done with the godet, I continued sewing according to my pattern. 

How to make a dress with a godet
Attach the neck facing

I joined the center-front with the seam allowance that I had popped onto my facing pattern, then attached to the shoulder seams of the back facing. I also finished off the raw edge of my neck facing with an overlocker. Then I pinned my facing, right sides together, to the neck of my dress and sewed all the way around with a 1 cm (.04”) seam allowance. Next, I snipped along the curved areas to make my facing sit flatly and ironed it, before sewing it to the inside of the dress. When I finished making the rest of the dress, I went back and handstitched it. 

How to make a dress with puff sleeves
Make the puff sleeves

To make the sleeves, I joined the side seams and overlocked the edges. Then I created the elastic casing by folding over 1 cm (0.4”) and then another 1 cm (0.4”) and edge-stitched it all the way around. I left a 2 cm (0.9”) hole in the casing to thread the elastic through. I figured out my elastic length but wrapping it around my elbow area and ensuring it wasn’t too loose. I then threaded my elastic through by using a safety pin on one end and pinning the other end to the fabric. Once my elastic was pulled through, I connected the ends together with a straight stitch and back-tacked it a few times. Then I went back and closed that gap in the casing. Lastly, O attached the sleeve to the top according to the pattern. 

Homemade dress front


Homemade dress back


I’m so happy with the way this dress came out. I love the fabric, and I love the way it looks with the godet. I’m very pleased that I decided to make this. What do you think? Was modifying the pattern worth the end result? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:

  • Paper
  • Pattern awl
  • Pattern notcher
See all materials

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