Sew Your Own DIY Maxi Dress With This Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial

Creations by Shey
by Creations by Shey
6 Materials
3 Hours

Today, I’m going to show you how to sew your own maxi dress from scratch without using a pattern. This DIY maxi dress has long sleeves, puff detailing, and a bottom ruffle tier, but it really isn’t that difficult to make.

Follow along with this tutorial to learn how to easily sew a modest maxi dress, perfect for any occasion.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Loose top
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
DIY maxi dress pattern

1. Fold, measure, and cut the fabric

Fold your fabric in half one way, then the other way, to create a square or rectangle of fabric with four equal layers. Take a top that fits you loosely, fold it in half down the center of the bodice, and lay it on the fold, as shown. 

Measure from your shoulder to just below the knee. Then, measure the same along the fold and cut across your fabric at this mark.

Cutting the bodice of the DIY maxi dress

2. Cut the bodice

Carefully cut around your top, leaving a one-inch seam allowance.

Opening the armholes on the fabric

3. Cut open the armhole

Cut open the armhole along the fold. You may also have to trim a little where the bodice ends to connect it with the skirt.

Cutting the sharp edges of the sleeves

4. Remove the sharp angle of the sleeve

Cut out the sharp angle at the bottom of the sleeves, as shown.

Extending the neckline of the DIY maxi dress

5. Extend the neckline 

Extend the neckline by cutting around 3 inches from the fold.

Pinning the DIY maxi dress pattern pieces together

6. Pin the pattern pieces together

Place the front and back pieces right sides together, and pin along the shoulder seam.

Cutting out the ruffle for the bottom of the DIY maxi dress

7. Cut out the ruffle piece

Use the fabric leftover from before to cut out a second piece of the same size. This will give us two ruffle pieces: one for the front and one for the back.

How to make a maxi dress with long sleeves

8. Cut out the sleeve pieces

Our DIY maxi dress is going to have long puff sleeves. So, cut out 4 rectangles of fabric measuring 12 inches x 7 inches.

Measuring the cuff pieces

9. Measure the cuffs

For the cuffs, measure your wrist loosely and cut two pieces approximately 5 inches wide.

How to sew your own maxi dress

10. Sew the shoulder seams

All the pattern pieces are ready and it’s time to sew the maxi dress. Start by stitching the shoulders.

Easy maxi dress DIY

11. Sew the sleeves

Place two of the sleeve pieces on top of each other, pin them right sides together, then sew along one side seam only. Repeat for the other sleeve.

How to sew a maxi dress

12. Create the gathers on the sleeve

To get that ruffled look on the sleeves, sew a basting stitch along both ends of the two sleeve pieces.

Attaching the sleeves to the DIY maxi dress

13. Attach the sleeves to the maxi dress

Pin the sleeves to the bodice armholes, pulling at the basting stitch as you go to create gathers. Then, carefully sew along the seam.

Creating the ruffle for the bottom of the DIY maxi dress

14. Create the ruffle for the skirt

Run a basting stitch along the top edge of each ruffle piece, just like you just did with the sleeves. Pin the ruffles to the front and back of the DIY maxi dress and carefully sew along the seam.

Attaching the cuffs to the DIY maxi dress sleeves

15. Attach the cuffs to the sleeves

Pull at the basting stitch until the gathers fit your wrist. Then, fold the cuff piece in half lengthwise and pin it to the ruffled edge. Repeat for the other side and sew down

Trimming the cuffs for the DIY maxi dress long sleeves

16. Trim, pin, and sew the cuffs

Trim off any excess fabric, pin the ends of the cuffs together and sew down.

Pinning and sewing the DIY maxi dress side seams

17. Pin and sew the side seams

Pin and sew all the remaining side seams, then hem the bottom of the maxi dress.

Finishing the neckline for the DIY maxi dress

18. Finish the neckline

To hem the neckline, cut a piece of fabric one inch wide and the length of the neckline of the dress. Pin it to the neckline, right sides together, and sew down as close to the neckline as possible. Then, fold the strip in on itself and carefully stitch the top.

DIY long sleeve maxi dress

DIY maxi dress tutorial

Here’s the final look! I styled my DIY maxi dress with a belt made from the same fabric. Let me know what you think of this tutorial on how to sew your own maxi dress with long puffed sleeves and a bottom ruffle. 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Loose top
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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