Make a Smocked Tiered Maxi Dress From a Duvet Cover

Regine Morales
by Regine Morales
6 Materials
1 Hour

This is the perfect example of what it means to repurpose. Whether it’s an old duvet cover you found in your closet or just some super cool pattern that you had to wear, this tutorial will teach you how to sew a smocked maxi dress that I know you’ll love.

Tools and materials:

  • Blanket/duvet cover
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic thread
Body measurements

Take your measurements 

Before attempting to cut your fabric you must know how much fabric you need. Remember to take your measurements so that you can apply them! 

DIY smocked maxi dress

Measure your fabric 

Fold the fabric in half and mark off your measurements. The width should be half of your chest measurement plus five inches and the length should be the length from your upper chest to waist. Mark and cut. 

Easy smocked maxi dress

Sew the upper edge 

Unfold your fabric and double-fold the upper edge. Pin to secure and sew with a straight stitch. 

Sew a smocked maxi dress

Create a smocked effect 

Using some elastic thread, sew the fabric right side up with the first stitch about half an inch from the upper edge. Continue with this pattern by placing the second stitch half an inch from the first and so on until reaching the bottom. 

Easy maxi dress

Make the first tier 

Using your body measurements, make the width of the tier half of your hip measurements times one and a half. So, if your hip measurement is ten centimeters, the width of your fabric should be 5 x 1.5. Next, measure out your desired length. This is up to you and how long you want the dress to be. 

How to sew a smocked maxi dress

After cutting out your fabric, zig-zag stitch the upper edge to keep it from fraying. Then, add a straight loose stitch - do not backstitch. Next, grab a thread from the loose stitch and begin gathering the fabric. The goal is to have the width of the fabric eventually match the width of the smock top. Once the two match, pin them together and sew using a straight stitch. 

Make a smocked maxi dress

Add a zig-zag stitch

Add a zig-zag stitch to the bottom edge to keep the fabric from fraying. 

Cut fabric for the second tier

Make the second tier 

For the second tier, the width is half the length of the first tier times one point five. So, if your first tier was 20 centimeters long, your second tier needs to be 10 x 1.5. You can, however, add a few centimeters to get more gather on the bottom. (The length is still up to you). 

How to sew a maxi dress

Zig-zag stitch the upper raw edge to keep the fabric from fraying. Then, add a straight stitch (make sure not to backstitch!). Next, take a thread from the straight stitch and pull to gather the fabric until the width of the second-tier matches the width of the first. Once the widths match, sew the tiers together. 

Sew the sides together

Connect the sides 

Take your dress and fold it over to connect the sides. Pin down the dress to secure and sew using a straight stitch followed by a zigzag stitch. 

Measure the straps

Make the straps

For the straps, cut out four pieces of fabric that are 23 inches long and three inches wide. Fold the pieces of fabric right sides together and pin to secure. Then, sew together using a straight stitch. 

Attach the straps

Use a safety pin to turn the strap right side out. Next, pin the fabric to the body of the dress - about 7 centimeters (about 3 inches) from the side. Make sure to have two straps in the front and two in the back. Sew the straps in place.

Hem the dress

Hem to finish 

To finish the dress, double fold the bottom edge and sew with a straight stitch. 

Finished smocked maxi dress

I know it isn’t summer anymore, but I’m still going to be wearing this dress. It’s summer somewhere, right? This easy smocked maxi dress is the perfect outfit to imagine yourself on the beach in. 

Finished smocked maxi dress
Finished smocked maxi dress
Suggested materials:
  • Duvet cover
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments