DIY Bandana Dress

The DIY Designer
by The DIY Designer
6 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I am going to be recreating this killer Cardi-B bandana dress. It is such a cool dress. It looks amazing on her body, I love its shape, and I love the ombre effect - how each of the bandanas goes from light to dark and dark to light. Let me show you how it’s done!

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Tools and materials:

  • A packet of multicolored 100% cotton bandanas
  • Bustier
  • Dress form
  • Needle and thread
  • Spray mist bottle (filled with bleach and water)
DIY bandana dress

Cardi B bandana dress

Place bandanas on the bustier

We're going to use the bustier as the structure to build this entire thing on. The entire process here is trial and error, and it is super personal to you. It's up to you which colors you want to use and what shape you want to create. Take a look at all the patterns within your bandana and try to focus on creating the most flattering shape you possibly can. I'm taking each bandana, putting it onto the bustier, and starting to create flattering pin-tucks and pleats and things that I think are going to look really nice. You want to make sure that you are always pinning it to the bustier and not to the actual dress form because you want to be able to take this off and try it on and then hand sew it. Really what you're going to do is start balancing color and shape, and you can actually build the whole thing on this bustier. Because the dress is a little bit longer than the bustier, all you have to do is attach some of the bandanas to the bottom and that creates the skirt.

Bandana mini dress

Spray the bandanas

I didn't like how color blocky the dress was starting to look and how strong the color was. I really like how Cardi B's has this sort of ombre effect where it fades in and out. So I took all of the bandanas off my dress and put them on the floor outside. I took a misting spray bottle, put a little bit of bleach with water inside, and sprayed the bandanas. This creates a really gorgeous, ombre faded effect. You do not want to use a squirty spray bottle, only the one that is the continuous mist because it essentially airbrushes it. Some of the colors are going to need a little bit more spraying than others, so you can do a second spray on them. Once you're done, rinse the bandanas out in the sink and then chuck them all in the wash.

Bandana dress pattern

Decide on color

The next morning I put all of the bandanas on my dress form so I could get a sense of color and decide which colors I wanted to use together. Did I want a really light Spring version, did I want deeper tones. This is really all about you creating what you want.

Make a bandana dress

Sew the dress

What I do recommend is tying two bandanas on the shoulder to create a really nice v-neck shape. I decided that I wanted that v-neck shape on both sides. As I've said, this is all trial and error and just playing around. Once you come up with your design, this is the point when you're going to start to tack it all down. I really recommend hand sewing as much of the dress as possible when it's on the dress form. You'll want to use a clear thread. Once you've tacked the majority of it, this is when you can unhook the bustier so you can more easily get your hand inside and have a little bit more flexibility. You can take the dress off of the dress form once you've sewed enough of it down so that everything is secure. You can also now sew down any pleats that you made for yourself. There is also an option to use fabric glue to stick some of the material down if you like.

Iron out

Lastly, grab an iron to iron out any wrinkles on the bandanas. I also recommend pressing any pleats down with the iron so that they're smooth and they hug your body and create a beautiful shape.

And here is the finished dress! I feel like Cardi B! It makes such a statement. I love how unique the dress is, not only because it’s made from bandanas but also because I put so much of my own creativity into designing how it would look. I wonder if Cardi B will ever read this tutorial!

Suggested materials:
  • Bandanas
  • Bustier
  • Dress form
See all materials

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