How to Sew an Easy Drawstring Ruched Dress

Creations by Shey
by Creations by Shey
8 Materials
4 Hours

I wanted a modest but stylish look so I designed this drawstring ruched dress, which is very much on trend. The loose fit means you don't need a zipper or buttons.

I used a beautiful printed crepe but many other kinds of fabric would work.

I'm also going to show you how to sew a dress without a pattern and this is the perfect design to learn that technique.

Tools and materials:

  • 3.25 yards (3 meters) of 60" crepe material
  • Loose fitting dress as a pattern
  • Narrow elastic
  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
Cutting skirt

1. Cut skirt

Fold your fabric in half and half again.

Fold your pattern dress in half lengthways, fold it down at the waist and position the waist edge 1 inch (2.5 cm) down from the top edge of the fabric and on the fold.

Measure the waist of your dress and mark it on the top edge, adding a 0.5 or 1 inch (1 - 2 cm)seam allowance.

Cutting skirt

Cut around the skirt of your dress to the desired length, adding a 1 inch (2.5 cm) seam allowance.

Marking fabric

2. Cut top

Open the remaining fabric out and fold it in half widthways and then lengthways. Lay it out with the first fold nearest to you and the second fold to your right.

Measure your shoulder to waist measurement and add a 1 inch (2.5 cm) seam allowance. Mark this along the edge nearest to you.

Measure the waist edge of your skirt piece. Mark half of this measurement from the waist mark you just made down the length of the fabric.

Measure the circumference of your upper arm and mark half of this across the furthest edge of the fabric.

Join these last two points by drawing a batwing shaped curve from the waist to the sleeve edge.

Measure 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) for the neck width and 3.5 inches (9 cm) for the neck depth and mark these from the right corner nearest you. Join the two points with a curve.

Cutting top

Cut out the top part of the dress.


3. Drawstrings

Cut two 1 inch (2.5 cm) strips, each 55 inches (140 cm) long.

Cut another piece the same length and 2 inches (5 cm) wide.

Place the 2 inch (5 cm) strip in the center of one of the skirt pieces, on the right side.

Pin it down the length of the skirt, stopping 10 inches (25 cm) from the bottom of the dress. Trim off the end, leaving a half inch (1 cm) allowance.


4. Prepare drawstrings

Turn under the free end of the center strip and stitch it.

Top stitch down the middle of the strip from the top edge.

Fold the other strips in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew close to the edge. Use a safety pin to turn them right sides out.


5. Attach drawstrings

Place the draw strings under the center strip, either side of the stitched line. Top stitch them into position across the top edge.

Top stitch down the sides of the center strip, ensuring the drawstrings are inside and not caught in the stitching.

Sewing skirt

6. Sew skirt

Place the skirt pieces right sides together and sew the side seams.

Turn under a double hem and sew in place.

Sewing top

7. Sew top

Fold the top right sides together and hem the sleeves. 

Join the side seams from the sleeve edge to the waist.

Joining top to skirt

8. Join top to skirt

Place the top inside the skirt, right sides together. Matching the side seams, pin the top and skirt together and sew.

Joining top to skirt

Cut the elastic to half the size of your waist. Pin it inside the hem of the waistline, on the inside.

Joining top to skirt

Using a zigzag stitch, sew the elastic around the waist of the dress, folding the seam over it and stretching the elastic as you sew.

Finishing drawstring ruched dress

9. Finishing drawstring ruched dress

Turn in a narrow hem at the neck edge and stitch it in place.

Add a belt by cutting a strip 4 inches (10 cm) wide by 60 inches (152 cm) long.

Fold it in half lengthways and sew along one short end and the long edge. Turn the strip right side out and stitch the end closed.

DIY drawstring ruched dress

Drawstring ruched dress

You can adapt this ruched drawstring dress pattern to make it longer or shorter and change the sleeve length or neck width very easily. It's the perfect dress for almost any occasion. 

This design was the result of a request from a subscriber, so please leave a comment below if there's anything you'd like me to make. Let me know how you get on with this no-pattern dress.

Suggested materials:
  • 3.25 yards (3 meters) of 60" crepe material
  • Loose fitting dress as a pattern
  • Narrow elastic
See all materials

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

Join the conversation