How to Make a Cute DIY Backless Dress That's Perfect for Summer

Made By Deola
by Made By Deola
8 Materials
3 Hours

Want to know how to make a breathtaking DIY backless dress? Well, I’m here to show you how the easy way! Follow me through this tutorial and get a step-by-step guide on how to sew a backless dress that’s perfect for those summer vibes!

Tools and materials:

  • 3m polycotton fabric (3.28 yards)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Marker or chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Elastic
Making the bodice pattern

1. Make the bodice pattern

You’ll need two rectangular pieces measuring your bust size x 10”. In this case, my bust is 36”. Lay the rectangles on top of each other, find the center point, and draw a line across. 

Measuring the quarter points

Next, find the quarter-point. This is the bust size divided by 4. Mine was 9”. Draw lines across again.

Transferring measurements onto the pattern

Transfer the measurement from the center-front to the nipple and mark this on either side. 

Connecting the marks to mark the armhole area

Mark 3 inches down the outer (quarter-bust) lines and connect it to the top center mark (the mark you did before). 

Connecting the underarm mark to the edge

Find the midpoint on both edges and connect this to the underarm mark you just made. 

Smoothing out the sharp lines

Smooth out any sharp corners. 

Folding and cutting the bodice pattern

Fold both layers in half, pin, and cut along the line. 

Marking a line inwards

Mark 1cm (0.39”) from the top edge and mark. Then, draw a line. 

Transferring all the markings to the second layer

Make the same markings on the second layer. 

Folding the side panel inwards and pinning

Fold the side panel inward and pin. 

Curving out the edge

Draw a slightly curved line along this fold. This is to shape out the bust area. Repeat on the other side, and on the other layer of fabric.

Folding the quarter bust lines to make darts

Fold the quarter bust line inwards and pin to make a dart. Repeat on the other side, and on the other layer of fabric.

Sewing along the pins

2. Sew along the pins

Now, sew all the pinned areas on both bodice pieces.

Cutting strips of fabric to make the straps

3. Make the straps

Cut two strips measuring 2 x 30”. 

Folding the strap, ready to sew

Fold the edges inward, and then fold the whole strap in half. Then, sew along the edges. Turn the straps right side out after,

Pinning the bodice pieces together

4. Assemble the bodice

Place both bodice pieces together, right sides facing. 

Sandwiching the straps between the layers

Sandwich the straps on either edge and sew along the top edge and short ends. Don’t sew the bottom edge yet. 

Pinning the bottom side sections, ready to sew

Pin the bottom section from the side darts and sew. Leave the center open.

Measuring fabric for the skirt tiers

5. Make the skirt

Measure a piece of fabric that’s 14 x 36”. This is for the front of the first skirt tier.

Gathering the top edge of the fabric

Sew a gathering stitch on one side, then gather the fabric to fit the open bottom of the bodice. 

Measuring the back of the first skirt tier

For the first tier back piece, measure 16x36”. You need the extra allowance for the elastic casing. Draw a line with extra allowance, as shown. 

Sewing elastic casing

Fold the top edge in by ½ an inch and fold again so that the edge touches the line. Pin all around and sew. This will be the tunnel for the elastic. 

Feeding the elastic through the casing

Next, feed in the elastic through the casing. 

Securing the elastic in place

Secure the elastic in place by sewing over it. 

Aligning the bottom of the bodice to the front skirt piece

Measure the unsewn gap at the bottom of the bodice and ensure the gathered front tier piece is the same size. 

Pinning and sewing the skirt pieces together

Now, place both skirt pieces, right sides facing. Pin and sew the side seams. 

Pinning the front skirt piece to the back of the bodice

6. Assemble the DIY backless dress

Pin the front tier piece (the gathered one) to the back layer of the bodice, not the front. Then, sew to secure. 

Sandwiching the skirt between the bodice layers

Next, cover the sewn area with the front layer of the bodice, so the skirt edge is sandwiched between the two bodice layers. When doing so, fold the raw edge of the bodice in by around ½ an inch. Pin and sew.

Making a second skirt tier

7. Make and attach the second skirt tier

Cut two fabric pieces measuring 10 x 59”. Hem both top and bottom edges and sew a gathering stitch on the top edge. Next, sew one of the side seams to create one long piece. 

Gathering the skirt

Gather the top edge to the size of the first tier. 

Sewing the sides together

Then, sew the second side seam together. 

Pinning the second tier to the first

Pin the second tier to the first, with the ruffle exposed. Sew to secure

DIY backless dress

I didn't show this in the video, but the final step is to fold the short ends of the bodice inwards by an inch or so and sew down to make casings for the straps to go through. You could also seam rip holes at the top and bottom.

To wear, cross the straps at the back, feed them through the casings you just made, then tie them together underneath, as seen above.

DIY backless dress

The DIY backless dress is all done! Here’s the final result. What do you think of it? Sewing a backless dress has never been so simple, and you don’t even have to purchase a backless dress sewing pattern. Good luck! 

Suggested materials:
  • 3m polycotton fabric (3.28 yards)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Janice Janice on Jul 09, 2022

    You are quite the seamstress! I'm not sure I could ever do this but it is really cute! Thanks for sharing!