This Cute DIY Milkmaid Dress Might Be the No.1 Dress of the Summer

by VeganVenus
10 Materials
3 Hours

Here is a tutorial for a cute puffy-sleeved DIY milkmaid dress. It’s perfect for hot summer days when you want to feel light and airy. I was excited to use my new serger for this milkmaid dress, but if you don’t have one, straight stitching will be fine.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing chalk
  • Pins
  • Sewing elastic
  • Brown paper
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape

Tip: My fabric came pre-washed. If your fabric isn’t pre-washed, you should do this before sewing. Otherwise, your dress could shrink during the first wash. 

Pinning the folded fabric to cut it

1. Make the milkmaid dress pattern

Take your bust, waist, and hip circumference measurements, as well as bodice and dress lengths. Multiply your bust circumference by 1.5.

Fold your fabric in half and mark the bodice length on the fabric along the fold. Then, mark the mid-point of your bust measurement along the top, starting the measurement from the fold. Cut the fabric to your bodice measurement, unfold it, and sew a hem along the top edge.

Marking every 1cm (0.4 inches) along the edges

2. Add elastic to the bodice

With the fabric unfolded and the wrong side facing up, mark every 1cm (0.4 inches) along both short edges and down the center of your bodice piece. 

Pinning the elastic to the dress bodice

Cut thin sewing elastic pieces to the actual circumference of your bust (not the measurement x1.5). Starting from the top of the body piece, pin the elastic to the center point, then stretch each end to the edges of the bodice and pin the ends down.

Sewing the elastic into the milkmaid dress bodice

Secure one end of elastic to the fabric by sewing back and forth a couple of times, being careful not to stretch the elastic.

Once secured at one end, stretch the elastic to fit the fabric and sew it in place going slowly to ensure the elastic is sufficiently stretched and the fabric is flat as you go. When you reach the end, secure it by sewing back and forth a couple of times again.

Tip: The elastic should fit you snugly; don’t make it too loose. Also, if your waist is significantly smaller than your bust, I’d recommend cutting elastics of two different lengths.

Sewing a milkmaid dress

Repeat, adding elastic at each 1cm (0.4 inches) mark. This will create a shirring effect on the bodice.

Cutting the skirt of the DIY milkmaid dress

3. Make the milkmaid dress skirt

Fold your fabric in half for the bottom of the milkmaid dress. Mark half of your waist measurement at the top, starting from the fold. Then, mark half your hip measurement in place on the fabric, adding a little extra so the milkmaid dress hangs nicely.

Cut that bottom piece and use it as a template for a second piece. These are the two pieces that will form the front and back of the milkmaid dress skirt.

Pinning the side seams of the milkmaid dress skirt

Put the front and back skirt pieces together, right sides facing, and sew the side seams. If you have a serger, you can serge the edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can use a regular zigzag stitch in the seam allowance.

Sewing the bodice together

4. Attach the bodice to the skirt

Trim the edges of your bodice piece. Fold the bodice in half with right sides facing and sew the two short edges together to make a tube. 

Pinning the bodice to the skirt to make the milkmaid dress

Pin the milkmaid dress bodice to the skirt with right sides facing and sew them together using the same technique you used when sewing the elastic to the bodice.

Adding a topstitch to the milkmaid dress waist seam

Turn the milkmaid dress right-side out and finish the waist seam with a topstitch.

Sewing a thin piece of fabric

5. Make a bow

Using a long narrow piece of fabric, fold it lengthwise three times and stitch it in place. We'll use this to make a bow at the front of the milkmaid dress.

Drawing the pattern for the puffy sleeves

6. Make puffy sleeves

To make the pattern for the puffy sleeves, check the measurement chart in the video from 8:12 to 8:52. Create your puffy sleeve pattern on brown paper and cut it out.

Cutting and pinning the sleeve pattern

Now, use the sleeve pattern you just created to cut two sleeves from the fabric. 

Pinning the puffy sleeves before hemming

Hem each sleeve along the curved top and the bottom, leaving both short sides unhemmed.

Sewing the sleeves of the milkmaid dress

Fold each sleeve in half, with right sides facing, and sew the short ends together.

Adding elastic to the dress sleeves

Fold in the bottom edge of each sleeve and sew it along the raw edge to create a casing for the elastic. Feed the elastic through the casing and sew the ends of the elastic together. 

Sewing elastic into the sleeves

Using the same technique as for the bodice elastic, sew elastic into the top edge of the sleeve (the end that will attach to the dress).

Attaching the sleeves to the milkmaid dress

Pin the sleeves to the dress with right sides facing and sew the sleeves to the dress with a straight stitch.

Hemming the milkmaid dress

7. Finish the hem and side slit

Adjust the length of your dress to your desired hem length. If you want your milkmaid dress to have a slit in the side, open the side seam to the desired slit side. Hem the slit and the bottom of the milkmaid dress.

Attaching the bow to the milkmaid dress bodice

8. Attach the bow

Hand-sew the bow on to your milkmaid dress at the center top of the bodice.

DIY milkmaid dress

DIY milkmaid dress with the sleeves down
DIY milkmaid dress with shirred bodice and bow

DIY milkmaid dress tutorial

I hope you love this DIY milkmaid dress as much as I do! Come back for more patterns and tutorials like this puffy-sleeved milkmaid dress.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Thread
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