How to Make a Summery DIY Maxi Dress With a Tiered Skirt

Jess Dang
by Jess Dang
8 Materials
2 Hours

In this sewing tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a DIY maxi dress with a tiered skirt. Every girl needs some lightweight dresses in her summer wardrobe, and this is a great one to make. This tiered maxi dress is super easy and a great beginner-friendly project.

Tools and materials:

  • 3 meters (3.3 yards) of soft cotton fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Long stick
Sketch of the DIY maxi dress

To make the dress, we’re going to divide it into two parts, so we’re essentially going to make a top, then a maxi skirt, and then join them together.

Measuring fabric for the bodice

1. Cut fabric for the main bodice

To make the main bodice, cut a piece of fabric that measures ½ of your bust size plus 4cm (1.6 inches) in width and the measurement from above to below your breast plus 2cm (0.8 inches) in length.

My measurements were 44cm (17 inches) in width and 22cm (8.7 inches) in length.

Marking the fabric with the measurements

2. Mark the fabric

On the top width line, make a mark in the middle. From this point, mark 12cm (4.8 inches) on either side. The 24cm is the with between the two shoulder straps plus a 2cm (0.8 inches) seam allowance.

Making the maxi dress pattern

From the top length line, mark out 8cm (3 inches), which is the length from the top to the middle of the breast minus 1cm (0.4 inches) seam allowance. Then connect this point to the one that you made before on the top width line and smoothen it out a bit. This is the armpit line.

Cutting out the maxi dress pattern

3. Cut

Fold the rectangle in half and cut along the curved line.

Pinning the pieces together

4. Join the pieces together.

Now you have the front and back pieces of the main bodice. Pin them together at the sides and proceed to sew, leaving some seam allowance. Once done, iron the hems open. 

Making the bodice for the dress

Then you want to replicate this piece so that you have two the same. Put one piece inside of the other one with the right sides facing each other. Pin them together from one armpit line and across the neckline to the other one, but don’t sew them together yet as we need to put the shoulder strap there before sewing. Be sure to pin the front two layers and the back two layers separately; you don’t want to pin all four layers together.

Sewing the shoulder straps

5. Make the shoulder straps

To make the shoulder strap, cut four long rectangles with an 8cm (3 inches) width, which is two times the width of the shoulder strap, plus 2cm (0.8 inches) seam allowance. The length is 70cm (28 inches). We will have two straps at the front and two at the back.

Fold the pieces lengthwise with the right sides touching and proceed to sew down the length as well as one of the sides. Once done, use a long stick to help you turn the straps right side out, and then iron the pieces flat.

Attaching the straps to the bodice

6. Attach to the bodice

Attach a strap to one side of the neck, as shown, keeping 1cm (0.4 inches) above the neckline for seam allowance. Repeat this with the other three straps. After that, sew where you have pinned to sew the bodice closed and connect the straps. Proceed to iron it flat.

Sewing the bodice

7. Sew the bodice

Pin the bottom of the bodice and sew with an overlocking stitch.

Pattern for the maxi dress' tiered skirt

8. Cut the skirt fabric

Now for the skirt part of the dress. Cut three tiers to the measurements shown above. The first tier should be 26cm (10 inches) in length, the second tier should be 32cm (12.6 inches), and the third 38cm (15 inches).

Sewing the tiers

9. Sew the tiers

Pin the short sides of the first tier and sew to make a circle. After that, make a loose seam along one of the long sides to make a gathered fabric effect there later.

The final width of the gathered fabric will be my bust size plus 4cm (1.6 inches). It is also the width of the bottom of the bodice so that you can connect them together later. Repeat this process with the other two tiers.

How to make a maxi dress with a tiered skirt

10. Finish the third tier

Finish one of the long sides of the third tier by folding the fabric inside two times, around 0.5cm each time, and sew it down.

Pinning the skirt tiers together

11. Join the tiers together

Pin the tiers together and proceed to sew.

Attaching the bodice to the tiered skirt

12. Attach the bodice

The final step is to attach the bodice to the skirt. Attach the two pieces inside out and then turn them the right way out.

DIY maxi dress

DIY maxi dress tutorial

Here we have the finished DIY tiered maxi dress. It’s flowy, lightweight, and perfect for summer; I know I will get a lot of wear out of mine. I hope you’ll give it a go for yourself.

DIY tiered maxi dress

Suggested materials:
  • 3 meters (3.3 yards) of soft cotton fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pen
See all materials

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

Join the conversation