How to Make a Silky DIY Slip Dress Using a Free Sewing Pattern

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
10 Materials
3 Hours

It’s been a while since I’ve made something from scratch, so I decided to take the plunge and do a lovely DIY slip dress! This fantastic DIY comes with a free vintage slip dress sewing pattern. Ready to follow along? Let’s start!

Tools and materials:

  • 1m (1.1 yards) thick silk fabric
  • Slip dress pattern
  • Paper
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Water-soluble marker
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Pencil
Vntage slip dress sewing pattern

1. Modify the pattern

I’ll be making some modifications to customize this slip dress sewing pattern. First up, I’ll be removing the center seam, as shown. 

Modifying the slip dress sewing pattern

To make it a full piece, draw a line straight down the middle and place that line on the fold of the fabric. 

Choosing the length of the slip dress

I want my DIY slip dress to be a mini length, so I’ll be cutting the pattern at the third notch, (You can opt for longer, if you want). 

Darts are too big and pointy

How to make a dart smaller

I did a trial run just to make sure everything fits me well and realized the darts on the bust are too big. They point out way too much.

How to make a dart smaller

To make the dart smaller, take your front pattern and place it onto a new sheet of paper. Mark your new dart. Mine was about 1” smaller on both sides. 

Aligning the top of the dart on an axis

Align the top of the dart and the top of the pattern onto an axis.

Rotating the pattern to the new dart

Place your finger on the top of the axis and rotate the bottom until the new dart marking hits the axis. Then, trace that side of the pattern.

Making a dart smaller

Repeat on the other side; rotating the pattern until the new dart hits the axis, and trace the other side. 

Drawing the new dart on the new front pattern

Draw out your new dart and cut out your new pattern.

Curving out the dart

I still wasn’t happy with the dart sections, so I decided to smooth out the dart into a curve. Like this, I’ll be able to make cute ruffles and gather the fabric, rather than have a pointy dart.

Pattern sizing

Be mindful of the pattern’s sizing. I cut mine in a medium, and it’s pretty big. So, the top part (for me) is small, while the skirt part stays medium, then I connected them at the waist.

Cutting out the pattern

2. Cut the pattern

Place all your slip dress sewing pattern pieces on your folded fabric, ensuring the front piece’s center is on the fold. Trace around the pattern with a water-soluble pen.

Pinning the fabric layers before cutting

Pin the two layers of fabric and cut! 

Cutting out facing

3. Cut the facing (optional)

If you want to add a facing to the top front and back, trace the top part of the respective patterns and add 1.5”. Then, cut it on fold.  

Cutting with shears

Cut the bottom with a pair of shears to prevent fraying (or zigzag stitch the edge). Then, repeat the same for the back. 

DIY slip dress sewing pattern

DIY facing for the slip dress

We are ready to start sewing the slip dress! 

Back pattern pieces

4. Sew the back

Place the back skirt and top back pieces right sides together and sew one side. The seam allowance on this dress is ½”. 

Trimming the seam allowance

Zigzag stitch all the raw edges and trim the excess seam allowance. 

Sewing the back of the slip dress

Place the back right sides together to the skirt and sew. 

Sewing basting stitches on the bust pieces

5. Gather the bust

For the two front top pieces, sew two parallel basting stitches on the bottom. 

Pulling on the thread to create gathers

Take the two stitches and gently pull on the to gather the fabric. Concentrate the ruffles where the dart used to be. 

Sewing the front of the dress

6. Sew the front

Mark the seam allowance of the skirt to make the center nice and clean. Do the same for the top. 

How to make a slip dress

Place them right sides together and align the two points on top of each other. 

How to sew a slip dress

Pin everything securely in place and sew. Sew between the two basting stitches and stop sewing until you reach the marking. 

Sewing a slip dress

Sew halfway through the center front.

Sewing a topstitch around the bust and skirt

Sew a topstitch around the bust and skirt to make everything lay flat. 

Sewing the front and back of the slip dress together

7. Sew the front to the back

Place the front and back right sides together, pin the side seams, and sew. 

Adding a zipper to the side of the slip dress

8. Add a zipper (optional)

I needed a zipper on the side, so I went ahead and added that. 

Cutting out fabric for the straps

9. Make the straps

Cut two 1” wide strips of fabric with around 20” length. 

Folding the straps and pressing

Fold them into fours and iron. 

Sewing the straps

Sew the open edge. 

Sewing the facing

10. Sew the facing

Place the facing right sides together and sew one end (if you have a zipper). 

Attaching the straps to the front

11. Attach the straps to the front

Pin the straps onto the top and place the facing on top, right sides together. Then, sew to secure. Leave the center front open. 

Understitching the facing

Understitch the facing. 

Finishing the zipper with bias tape

12. Finish the zipper

You can also add bias tape to the zipper (helps with fraying). 

Folding the sewing the raw edges

Finish the facing at the zipper, folding and sewing the raw edges accordingly. 

Finishing the slip dress

Fold the center front in half, fold the facing, pin, and sew down the middle. 

Attaching the straps at the back

13. Attach the straps at the back

Attach the back straps by seam ripping a tiny hole between the layers. Pass the strap through and sew the hole. 

Hemming the DIY slip dress

14. Hem

Hem the bottom of the DIY slip dress. 

DIY slip dress

DIY slip dress tutorial

This silky DIY slip dress is done! Thanks for joining me on this tutorial on how to sew a slip dress. Let me know what you think of this tutorial and the final result in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • 1m (1.1 yards) thick silk fabric
  • Slip dress pattern
  • Paper
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