Trending Fashion: Make Your Own Velvet Drawstring Dress

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
8 Materials
2 Hours

In the spirit of jumping on trends, I’m going to be making a dress that I’ve seen all over the place. I’ve noticed a trend of dresses with cinched fabric down the bodice and decided that it would be the perfect project to do with this oversized thrifted dress I just found.

Black drawstring dress

Tools and materials:

  • Oversized dress
  • Slipdress
  • Velvet ribbons
  • Rotary cutter
  • Pocket pattern
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins

Ruched drawstring dress

Cut out your bodice 

I started by tracing out the shape of a slip dress I already own onto the oversized thrifted dress. I added extra length to the bodice (shown in the image above) so that the dress wouldn’t be too short when I cinch it up later. My bodice was ten inches, so when multiplied by 1.5, my new length became 15 inches. Mark the new endpoint of your bodice on the oversized dress and then cut it out with half an inch of seam allowance. You should now have two bodice pieces, the front piece remains as is, and the back piece should have the shoulders cut straight off. 

DIY drawstring dress

Cut out your skirt 

For the skirt, align the edge of the remaining fabric with your front piece and mark off the end of the bodice. Then, trace out diagonal lines for the body of the skirt and cut out your fabric. 

Drawstring ruched dress

Create your facing 

To make a facing for the front, use any leftover fabric and trace the armholes and neckline onto them. After that, cut out the facing by following your markings. If you don’t have enough leftover fabric, you can simply use any other velvet fabric that you own. 

Black ruched drawstring dress

Create your casings 

Cut 1.5 inch thick strips of fabric; three that are the length of the bodice and one that is the length of the dress. Mark the middle point of each casing and then mark the placing of your casings on your top (remember to have your top be inside out).

Sew a drawstring dress

Attach the casings 

Hem the top edge of the back bodice by folding it once and sewing it down. Next, place the casings on the top and align the markings. Pin to secure. Make sure you have half an inch of extra fabric on the top and then fold it in to hide the raw edges. Sew along the middle point of the casings. Repeat on the right side of the front piece. 

Make a drawstring dress

Insert the ribbon 

Cut out all your velvet ribbons so that you have two ribbons that are 48 inches long and six that are 25 inches long. Insert the ribbon under the casing and sew the sides to secure them in. Be careful not to sew over the ribbon while doing this. Turn the back piece right side out and it’s complete! Repeat the same steps for the ribbons on the front piece. 

Attach the casing

Attach the final casing 

Place the front piece right sides together with the skirt and sew along the edge using a zigzag stitch. Repeat with the back piece. Now, turn the dress inside out and draw a line where the final casing will go. Sew the middle of the casing the same as before. 

Insert the ribbon

Mark the ribbon at 25 inches and place the marking by the seam line. Next, place the ribbon under the casings like we did before and topstitch the sides shut with the ribbon securely inside. Again, make sure not to see the ribbons down accidentally. 

Make the pockets

Make the pockets 

Using a pocket pattern, cut out four pieces of fabric. Next, place the pockets onto each side of the skirt at about three inches from the seam line and sew it. Repeat for the back skirt. Once that’s done, flip the pocket over and top-stitch the edge. 

Sew in the pockets

Attach the facing 

Even out the ribbon openings by cutting straight across. Do this for the inside channels as well as the main fabric and the facing. Next, cut out the bottom of the facing to reduce the bulkiness. Place the facing on the dress, right sides together, and sew the neckline. Make sure to leave a gap where the ribbons are. When done, flip the facing to the inside and pass the ribbons through the openings. To finish the facing, sew an understitch so the fabric will lay flat. 

Gather the material

Finish the dress 

Place the front and back sides of the dress right sides together and sew the side seams - including around the pockets! Flip the dress inside out and then start pulling on the ribbons to create the gathering. The front piece should be the same length as the slip dress you traced from. Next, topstitch the neckline and the openings of the ribbons closed. Finally, cut the ends of the ribbons to a diagonal line to prevent them from fraying and you are done! 

Finished drawstring dress

Back of the dress

Top of the drawstring dress

To be honest, I am a bit torn when it comes to this dress. As far as being a DIY drawstring dress, I think it looks great! But, the truth is the bodycon style of it is a little less up my alley. Regardless, if this is something you would usually wear, then this tutorial is definitely something you should give a try. 

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized dress
  • Slipdress
  • Velvet ribbons
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Kelly Kelly on Mar 30, 2021

    What a shame you aren't keeping it. I think it's really pretty!

  • Jane Jane on Apr 01, 2021

    You’re a very talented seamstress, I love how you made a totally different dress from a saggy one. It does look good on you, but taste is individual. If it’s not you I’m sure you’ll find someone who’ll love it!