Easy Bustier Dress Pattern Tutorial

15 Materials
4 Hours

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to draft a bustier dress pattern using my free printable PDF patterns.

This is a beginner-friendly project with a shirred back, puff sleeves and side pockets.

I made my dress by upcycling a bed sheet, but any non-stretch fabric would work.

Tools and materials:

Cutting out fabric pieces

1. Cut out the fabric pieces

Add the seam allowance before cutting out the paper pattern pieces. 

Cut out the main and lining pieces for the bustier as shown.

Cut two sleeves, two skirt panels and four pocket pieces.

Transfer all pattern markings to the fabric.

Making bodice front

2. Make bodice front

Add interfacing to the top and bottom parts of the cups.

Making bodice front

With the right sides together, pin and sew the front side pieces to the center front and side back panels. 

Draw a line 0.4 inches (1 cm) inside the edge of the cups and stitch along the line. Snip the curves.

Making bodice front

With right sides facing, join the center edges of the bust cups together in pairs.

Making bodice front

Snip the curve and sew the cups to the lower panel.

Making bodice front

Pin and sew the cups to the bodice front, matching the seams.

Sew the bodice lining in the same way.

Making sleeves

3. Sleeves

Finish the raw edges with a zigzag or overlock stitch.

With the right sides facing, join the sleeve seam.

Making sleeves

Turn in the edge of the sleeve head and the bottom of the sleeve by 0.6 inches (1.5 cm).

Pin and sew, leaving a small opening in the bottom edge.

Making sleeves

Cut one piece of elastic to fit from above your bust to the top edge of your bra at the back. Cut a second piece to fit around your bicep.

Making sleeves

Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through the two sleeve casings.

Join the two ends of the hem elastic and sew the opening closed. Pin the ends of the sleeve head elastic.

Repeat for the second sleeve.

Making sleeves

Pin the sleeves to the bodice with the right sides together, matching the sleeve and side seams.

Adding bodice lining

4. Bodice lining

With the right sides facing, pin the lining to the bodice, matching the seams.

Adding bodice lining

Sew through all three layers.

Adding bodice lining

Snip the curves and turn the bodice right side out. Stay stitch the seam to the lining.

Pin the bodice to the lining and top stitch around the lower curve of the cups.

Shirring the back

5. Shirring the back

Measure the width and length of the center back panel.

Cut a piece of paper 4 times the width of the panel by the length. Place one long edge to the fold of your fabric and cut one.

Leave the fabric folded with the wrong sides facing.

Mark and sew rows of stitches across the panel as shown in the diagram.

Shirring the back

Cut 5 pieces of elastic, each double the width of the center back pattern piece.

Shirring the back

Feed each piece through a pair of stitched rows, pinning the ends of the elastic in place.

Shirring the back

With the right sides facing, pin and sew the shirred back to the side edges of the bodice, between the main fabric and the lining.

Adding pockets

6. Pockets

Pin the pocket pieces to the side edges of the front skirt panel with the right sides facing, 2.75 inches (7 cm) from the top edge.

Sew around the marked rectangle.

Adding pockets

Cut out the rectangle.

Turn the pocket to the inside and press the seam flat.

Top stitch around the rectangle.

Adding pockets

Place the second pocket piece on top and sew together around the three sides.

Place the skirt back panel over the front panel with the right sides together and sew the side seams.

Adding skirt

7. Skirt

Pin the skirt and bodice together at the side seams, with the right sides facing.

Make finger pleats in the front of the skirt so that it matches the width of the bodice.

Pin the center back of the skirt and bodice together. Stretch the back to fit the skirt and pin in place.

Sew the skirt to the bodice.

Sew a narrow hem on the skirt.

DIY bustier dress

DIY bustier dress

DIY bustier dress

And there you have it! A stunning bustier dress with a shirred back that doesn’t need a zipper.

The puff sleeves are so pretty and the pockets are of course something that every woman wants in a dress!

Please let me know how you get on with this in the comments below. I’d love to see your creations!

Suggested materials:
  • Free bustier pattern
  • Free puff sleeve pattern
  • Free pocket pattern
See all materials

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